California, United States of America
The following excerpt is from People v. Thompson, 205 Cal.App.3d 871, 252 Cal.Rptr. 698 (Cal. App. 1988):
Although the guarantees of equal protection embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 7 of the California Constitution prohibit the state from arbitrarily discriminating among persons subject to its jurisdictions, the state may make distinctions between different groups of individuals so long as the classifications created bear a rational relationship to a legitimate public purpose. (People v. Gregori (1983) 144 Cal.App.3d 353, 358, 192 Cal.Rptr. 555.)
The first prerequisite to a meritorious claim under the equal protection clause is a showing that the state has adopted a classification that affects two or more similarly situated groups in an unequal manner. (In re Eric J. (1979) 25 Cal.3d 522, 530, 159 Cal.Rptr. 317, 601 P.2d 549.) However, the equal protection guarantees of the Constitution do not require that persons convicted of different crimes be treated equally or that the law ignore the circumstances of a crime's commission in imposing punishment. (People v. Acevedo (1985) 166 Cal.App.3d 196, 205, 212 Cal.Rptr. 328.)
Appellant contends that subdivision (a)(3) would operate to deny probation to anyone who has "acted friendly" with a child even years before the molest, and even in an intrafamily molest case. He is mistaken. "Acting friendly" does not bring one within the parameters of subdivision (a)(3); it is the act of making friends for the purpose of committing the molestation. He contends that there is no increased moral culpability between the molester who is "friendly" to the child prior to the molest over a molester who was not "friendly." The denial of probation based on making friends, he continues, is inconsistent with the general California law "which denies [205 Cal.App.3d 882] probation primarily to those who commit violent crimes, serious drug offenses or recidivist offenses." (People v. Acevedo, supra, 166 Cal.App.3d 196, 204, 212 Cal.Rptr. 328.)
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