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:

Reynolds v. State

No. PD-1369-12                     2/12/14

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.


Anonymous said...

So how is the DPS going to enforce this legislation? Are they going to go through all the cases involving sex crimes then send those convicts letters demanding they register? I can't see them expending the resources this monumental task would involve. And wouldn't this also require something from the sentencing judge? A lot of judges who sentenced sex offenders who had their cases adjudicated prior to 1990 had the authority to decide who was required to register and who wasn't, so it seems the judges would have some say in this. But regardless, I can't see this as being enforceable.

Anonymous said...

Don't look for lawmakers to do any soul searching for constitutional soundness at this stage. They will put the ball into play and let the consequences play out later down the road with yet another predictable waste of sorely needed public funds.

Make no mistake about it, the goal is punishment and overreaching and extreme intrusion and removal of inherent liberties decades beyond the closure of registrants' individual cases.

The lawmakers will go to every extent possible to disguise it as non punitive by wrapping it up as a 'containment model'. They can't see the forest for the trees on this one for sure.

The public gets fooled again and at the same time it is a win win for legislators, public officials, prison industrialists and extremists that would never take on the challenge of delving into the subject of constitionality. That would cost them pride, money and votes quite simply stated.

It would be less expensive in the long run to put in a sound and manageable plan that adheres to constitutional guidelines. Is there even a Valid and Up to Date risk assessment tool that is being evaluated in this frenzy?

While there is robust inter-state collaboration on how to disenfranchise these American Citizens, is there inter-state sharing of actual statistic on recidivism such as the Cal- DOC document that clearly highlights the overblown proportion of these laws? My guess would be NO.

That is simply asking too much because the actual statistics and facts about danger posed, recidivism rates and actual effectiveness of these laws fly in the face of the distortions, omissions, rhetoric and fear mongering necessary to energize these efforts and gain popular support.

They rely on a misinformed public and are happy to omit anything counter to their effort - such as actual facts otherwise once known as truth.

Ex post facto protections are there for a myriad of reasons and they simply choose to ignore them. That, ladies and gentlemen, IS the truth.

rodsmith said...

it's long long past time for these individuals to band together for their own protection form the hate filled Nazi wannabee's who now control this country.

Maybe arrange a good old fashioned neck tie party for the buch of the little shits

Lee said...

I thought one was only accountable to the laws at were in place at the time of the incident.

rodsmith said...

not for sex crimes. the last 15 years or so they pass new laws every 6-8 months and they apply to 10- 20-30-40- 50 year old crimes.

guy might have committed a crime in 1970 that resulted in a conviction on the books and a fine. today he moves across the hull in an apartment bulding and get's 5 years because he didn't tell our Nazi gov about it.

and the kicker is. he moved because his landlord gave him a bigger apartment so he could move around in his wheelchair.

William said...

This country is going down the crapper. There are people out there that say "let the sex offenders burn" but do not realize by letting government violate rights by any measure will only lead to further "give an inch, take a foot" acts by our government. Retroactive laws are illegal, period, no matter who they are applying them to. The solution to the problem is in court during the initial hearing. What if a police department came to you 4 years after you payed for a ticket and said the price on those tickets went up and you have to pay another $40. It would be laughed out of the court.