Sex Crime Suspect Wins, Loses, Wins


When he was 18 years old

Steven Lloyd Mosley

of Anaheim did something with a 12-year-old girl that may have involved kisses near a residential pool or forceful intercourse in a garage or both, according to court records.

After the June 2003 incident, an Orange County jury refused to find Mosley guilty of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14. Instead, they found him guilty only of misdemeanor assault.

Despite that verdict Superior Court Judge David A. Hoffer took the unusual step of punishing Mosley as if he'd been found guilty of a sex crime. Hoffer, a former assistant United States Attorney, made him register publicly as a sexual predator. Registration also prohibited him from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather. 

This week, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana overturned Hoffer's ground-breaking decision.

"The court's imposition of sex offender registration for misdemeanor assault effectively increased the penalty beyond the statutory maximum," wrote Justice Raymond Ikola on behalf of a panel that included Kathleen O'Leary and Eileen Moore. "Discretionary sex offender registration entailing the residency restriction cannot be imposed upon a defendant on the basis of facts not found beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury."

Hoffer's attempt at judicial activism fails.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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