Did the legislature’s 2005 amendments to the sex offender registration statute require a defendant to begin registering even though he was initially convicted in 1990 and had never previously been required to register?
Yes. After being convicted in 1990 for sexual assault of a child, the defendant was not required to register as a sex offender when his sentence was complete in 1995. The registration statute was amended multiple times over the next decade, each time with a “savings clause” that clarified the statute was not retroactive as to convictions as old as his. In 2005, the legislature deleted all of the savings clause language. The plain language of the resulting statute requires everyone convicted of a registerable offense after 1970 to now register with DPS. Read the opinion.
Dissent (Price, J.):
The court ruled that a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute based on its retroactivity had not been preserved and did not consider it. The court should have considered the merits of the constitutional challenge and remanded the case to the court of appeals. Read the dissent.
The court does not reach the question of whether it is unconstitutional to retroactively impose a registration requirement upon a sex offender who was not previously required to register. But the prevailing view is that such a retroactive application does not constitute an ex post facto violation. It is also clear that the Legislature’s intent was to require such sex offenders to register.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Constitutional or not, court allows registration requirement for sex-offenses predating registry law
The Texas District and County Attorneys Association's weekly case summaries last week described a new Court of Criminal Appeals decision which required sex-offender registration for offenses committed before the creation of the registry. The decision, though, failed to address the question of whether the underlying statute is constitutional, an issue dissenters said they should have confronted. Here's TDCAA's case summary: