Saturday, December 20, 2008

DPS' legislative wish list

A little birdie forwarded me a list of bills the Texas Department of Public Safety is requesting from the 81st Texas Legislature, so I uploaded it into a Google document format which readers can view here.

Though I've not yet examined this bill list in any detail, that's quite a lengthy and ambitious agenda.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

From DPS Wishlist: "Sex offenders in shelters requirements to identify offenders" This seems like a perfectly legitimate request. I have a question though. For those offenders who are homeless, is there any procedure in place that would allow them to register as such? It is my understanding that there is not and those found without a permenant address are given one courtesy of TDCJ for about 2 years for failure to register.

I understand that procedures do exist for circumstances such as these in other states. Since DPS also wants to usurp Texas registry laws and make it necessary for those to register in Texas if required to in a proceding home states, it seems only fair that they could adopt some of the more enlightened ones as well.

sunray's wench said...

Three items that immediately look vindictive without reason:

1. "Sex Offender Registration Program: Require out of state offenders to register if required in home state; require changes, such as vehicle reg, be reported in 7 days; make burglary w/ intent to commit a sexual offense a reportable conviction; add murder, kidnapping and false imprisonment to reportable if w/ intent to commit sexual offense; more stringent req. for visitor reporting; require sexual contact against adults to be registered; change verification req. on continuous sexual abuse of young child from annually to quarterly; allow exemption of young out of state offenders to mirror in state; require out of state offenders on deferred adjudication to mirror in state; amend definitions of residence, going to school, work and all convictions; add offenders from tribes and US territories as extra-jurisdictional registrants; address illegal immigrants required to register but can’t get DL" ~ How is any of this going to make it less likely for a sexual offence to occur? I can see how it would punish more heavily once an offence HAS occured, or how it will make more work for the already struggling and inacurate registrations system, but it is not a preventative measure.

2. "Deported parolees: require that inmates released from prison to ICE for deportation not return to US; allow conditional warrants for deported felons that return; require the warrants be entered in TDCJ and TCIC/NCIC" ~ a friend of mine is currently dealing with this issue with her son. He has a UK passport because he was born in a UK Territory, yet he has lived almost all of his life legally in the US. Gov Perry will not sign the forms to allow them to take advantage of the International Inmate Transfer agreement, meaning he could be sent to the UK and finish his sentence here and thus avoid being deported. That would mean he would be allowed to return to his family once his sentence was completed as long as he fulfilled all the other criteria. With this proposed Bill, he would not be allowed to return to Texas at all, despite having no family left in the country that TX/Gov Perry wants to send him to as soon as he has completed all his TDCJ time. And for those to whom this kind of thing is important, he is serving a non-aggravated sentence for misuse of public information.

3. "Homeland Security:
Disallow acceptance of TDCJ ID card for DL" ~ and this really IS vindictive and unnecesarry. It is hard enough for inmates who are released and have no outside support to help them through the first week of having to set up ID, DL, report to parole offices if required, find housing, find employment, start AA / NA meetings etc, without making it even more difficult by saying that a TDCJ ID is not good enough for a DL. It has a photo, it is good enough for the entire time an inmate is in prison, it is an officially issued ID, so why isnt it good enough to obtain a DL? Many inmates leave TDCJ with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a bus ticket (if they have been indigent and owe TDCJ money, they wont get their full $100 check, and if they dont have a free-world bank account the check is worthless to them anyway), so just how are they supposed to track down and pay for a copy of their birth certificate?

Honestly, the divide between those who understand the criminal justice system in Texas and those who just make more rules for it seems to be getting wider by the minute.

Hilary said...

I once had the privilege of accompanying a man who had suffered 17 years of wrongful imprisonment to the DPS to get a DL. DNA cleared him of the rape charge on which he had been locked up. He was given no "gate money" because the system doesn't give gate money to those released by the courts, rather than at the end of a sentence. I had no problem paying for his DL application - I was glad to do anything for him - but the prospect that an innocent man could not have got a DL because of this crazy rule would probably have caused me to ... go wild and spray graffiti all over the DPS office ... or at least be saddened and infuriated. This is a crazy, crazy rule and should be run through the nearest shredder. And somebody should enact legislation to give an instant $10,000 ex gratia payment to exonerees - plus an assigned trained social worker to help those guys back into society, and help those who need it to manage their money.

Anonymous said...

DPS needs to get a life! They do not uphold laws now and for them to take this position is absurd. Let's abolish DPS and make them answer to someone who truly cares; evidently they think they are above everyone anyway.

These changes are more of the former government in Washington, take away more of our rights and liberties and don't give those who have paid for a mistake a chance. What in the world are you thinking? Are you capable of thinking? If the legislature passes some of these laws, they should immediately be run out of the State!!

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would DPS want to add more individuals to the Texas Sex Offender Registry? They cannot even keep up whith those who are currently listed? 54,000 already on the dreaded list and hundreds more added each month. This is not keeping anyone safe. Rather, the taxpayers are footing the bill for more "feel-good" laws. What a crock.....

Anonymous said...

I'll try to address the issue of requiring registration of offenders convicted of burlary with the intent to commit a sexual offense, kidnappping, murder, etc. As of this moment, the parole board can require an offender convicted of such a charge to register while on parole or mandatory supervision. Once the period of supervision is complete, they are no longer required to register. If you want to know whre such a case arose, Google "Coleman v. Dretke." DPS is asking the legislature to include these offenses to be added to the registry list for sexual offenders. In cases like these, the offender attempted to or actually committed a sexual offense, be it sexual assault, indecency with a child, etc. Would such a measure help to curb re-offending? Let me ask you this: Would you rather NOT have such offenders required to register? Vindictive? Let's talk about the Texas towns trying to ban sexual offenders from living in their city limits.

sunray's wench said...

The phrase "intent to commit a sexual assault" is extremely difficult to prove beyond doubt. It is easier to prove "intent to kill". If you link it with an act that is much easier to commit, a jury will almost certainly go for a guilty verdict on both, even if there was no intent to do anything else. There are so many grey areas with the "intent to" crimes. Of course, if an assault actually happens then prosecute properly, but the "with intent" is more of a tool to enhance a low sentence for something else.

Anonymous said...

Just another step toward a police state. When will DPS criminal investigators start wearing long leather coats? Troopers will get out of their car in a SS outfit. The troopers have AR15 assault rifles to keep the speeders in line. I want to see your papers or I will arrest you for failure to ID. We are getting closer to pre WW2 Germany every day. No doubt the upcoming Texas Legislature will pass a number of new laws to take more of our rights and turn them into a privilege for a price all in the name of keeping us safe.

Anonymous said...

I urge all of you to watch what is allowed to be voted on this year and you can do that by going to www.state.tx.us/81stLegislature and keep an eye on what your Legislature is doing and how.

A lot of good bills never get to the floor and if they do pass and are for the good of those who have been incarcerated whether guilty or not, the Governor vetoes them and this needs to be stopped.

Just because someone makes a mistake they should not have to carry that burden the rest of their lives. Is this not why Our Lord suffered and died for us?

Our prisons hold many good people who were lied about by dishonest District Attorneys and wannabe DAs, Judges and dumb jurors.

Also Deferred Adjudications are not convictions and something must be done to remove those from records once the probation has been successfully completed. There are so many things wrong with the Laws in Texas, now is the time to start trying to repair the damage to the lives and the abuse that continually is ongoing in TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the above poster:

"Our prisons hold many good people who were lied about by dishonest District Attorneys and wannabe DAs, Judges and dumb jurors.

Also Deferred Adjudications are not convictions and something must be done to remove those from records once the probation has been successfully completed. There are so many things wrong with the Laws in Texas, now is the time to start trying to repair the damage to the lives and the abuse that continually is ongoing in TDCJ.

12/22/2008 09:49:00 AM"

I myself plead guilty to something I didn't do in exchange for deferred adjudication. In my case the DA was a witness to the incident and knew I was innocent. His investigator committed perjury by filing a false affidavit. This DA was Matt Bingham in Smith County. Mr. Bingham is worse than most of the criminals his office is putting in prison. He belongs in prison himself. I plead guilty because I knew the deck was stacked against me. The judge in my case was the former DA, Jack Skeen. Two attorneys told me I would not get a fair trial in his court. The ridiculous bail he set made his bias obvious. Bingham and Skeen are both dishonest and there is no telling how many innocent people they have sent to prsion. They both belong in prison themselves.

Anonymous said...

In cases like these, the offender attempted to or actually committed a sexual offense, be it sexual assault, indecency with a child, etc. Would such a measure help to curb re-offending? Let me ask you this: Would you rather NOT have such offenders required to register? Vindictive? Let's talk about the Texas towns trying to ban sexual offenders from living in their city limits.

The entire thing is wrong. You say this is worse than that, but you cannot see that your ideal is based on a wrong and illegal premise? The continued punishment of those that have paid for the things they have done.. Ok, well to add to your thought process, let's continue to prosecute someone over and over for the same speeding ticket.. Or for startging a fire 25 years ago.. When is enough enough? When do you actually look at someone and say, you have finished your payment for the crime? If your answer is never, then maybe it's time for YOU to look at yourself and evaluate your abilites to function as a normal human being..

the Reegistry as a life-time punishment is wrong. If you want to track someone while in prison or on probation or parole, then fine, so be it. But once they are complete, then it should be as well.

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