Legal Question in Criminal Law in Texas

there is a bill being passed in texas called deregistering (sex offender) only certain people qualify my case is from 1993 a 5 year sentence no parole i have two kids and i get visitation boy 11 girl 8 even though i can go see them at school for lunch i dont because i dont want it to get back to my kids class mates. i am listed as a non threat can yall help

Asked on 10/05/11, 2:01 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

M. Elizabeth Foley The Law Office of M. Elizabeth Foley

I dont think there's going to be good news on this. First, there is no "bill being passed in Texas" right now. Our recent legislative session has been over for a while now, and we won't have another one until 2013. I think I know which bill you're talking about, though, and it didn't end up going anywhere (it basically just got talked about some, but not even put to a vote). Look at this link and see, but I'm pretty sure Senate Bill 1366 is what you mean:

The upshot of all that is that nothing's going to happen with it anytime soon. Sometimes a subject like that will get tossed around a bit in a legislative session, but then gets abandoned because it turns out that the proposed law may not have been a bad idea, but was badly thought out and just wasn't going to work the way it was written. I think that may have been the case here.

Honestly, one of the Legislature's main goals is always to say they're saving the taxpayers all sorts of money. At a glance, I'd say that may have been one of the main problems with this bill--it sure sounds like it would have required hiring a whole new bureaucracy to interview, research, review, evaluate, consider, and make recommendations on whether each person applying for early termination of required registration should get what they want, or whether they're too big a risk. There's just no easy way to set up a system to do that on an individual basis without it costing the State a LOT of money. So, I'm sorry that you got your hopes up for that, but it didn't happen this session.

In reality, though, I wouldn't hold my breath on it happening two years from now, either. Anything that sounds like it would favor sex offenders tends to enrage the public. Anyone who hasn't dealt with it directly typically does not understand just how random and largely useless the whole sex offender registration system really is. Combine that issue with the legitimate budgetary problems associated with implementing the proposed law, and it's just not likely to happen. About the only way I can see that ever working would be to phase the changes in very slowly, one step at a time, so that nothing changed quickly and very few extra personnel were needed to deal with it. Maybe one year, they could consider no deregistration petitions except those filed by offenders with only a single offense against an adult victim from at least twenty years ago with no weapon or force used, and next year, they could move on to the same group, but with offenses 15-20 years ago, and so on. I think it's pretty unlikely that in the absence of the registration system being declared unconstitutional they'd ever move in the direction of deregistering anyone with a child victim, unless it involved what they call a "Romeo and Juliet" type of case (maybe an 18 year old who got caught with a 14 year old girlfriend). I'm sorry it's causing you to be restricted in your activities with your kids, but I think you're going to be stuck with that for now. Good luck.

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Answered on 10/05/11, 8:31 pm

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