Lawmakers have again approved a bill that would exempt certain offenders from having to register (often for life) on the state's fast-growing sex offender registry. Now the only question is: Will Gov. Rick Perry sign it?This bill is the least they can do - almost literally the very least - to address unintended consequences from Texas' over-broad sex-offender registry. Perhaps Gov. Perry will allow it to become law this go-round so the Legislature and the public can see that the sky won't fall if low-risk offenders are allowed to get off the list.
At issue is whether certain youthful offenders, or so-called "Romeo and Juliet" offenders – those involved in a consensual relationship with a person under 17 – should be given a chance to avoid registration and the collateral damage that follows. The bill, which is retroactive, would allow for youthful offenders involved with a person who is at least 15, and not more than four years their junior, a chance to avoid registration, if a court finds that the person poses no threat to public safety.
Friday, May 13, 2011
'De-Registering Romeo and Juliet'
The title of this post is the headline of a story byJordan Smith at the Austin Chronicle, which opens: