Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Rick Perry vs. Sheila Jackson-Lee on expanding the sex-offender registry?

The Houston Chronicle has some breaking news that Grits readers learned two months ago: "The state - which has the second-largest sex offender database in the nation, with 63,000 men and women registered - is balking at the [new federal] requirements, citing unacceptably high costs of implementing the law's provisions."

The story, though, framed the issue somewhat peculiarly, comparing the decision to "two highly publicized showdowns with the federal government over Texas pollution-control efforts and education funding," declaring that "this low-key standoff is yet another issue in Gov. Rick Perry's ballyhooed war on Washington." Even stranger, the story sets Perry in opposition to Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee:
"What is more important and more precious than our children?" Jackson Lee asked.

If the impasse can't be broken, she says she'll push the Obama administration to delay penalties against Texas rather than forfeit federal victim assistance funds.

"I think it's more important to get states to comply than to meet arbitrary deadlines," said Jackson Lee, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

"The cost for Texas is considerable, but the impact on saving the lives of children warrants that kind of investment," Jackson Lee said.
Okay ... just so I get all my partisan labels straight, if I'm in favor of expanding a failed bloated sex-offender registry I'm a liberal Democrat siding with Sheila Jackson-Lee, while if I reject the Adam Walsh act requirements so the state can apply its own risk assessments, I'm siding with Rick Perry on behalf of fiscal responsibility and state's rights in a "showdown" with Washington. Is that about right?

In truth, for the most part, the sex-offender registry isn't an issue that breaks down along partisan lines because one of its primary purposes - even more so, IMO, than it promotes public safety - is to allow politicians of all stripes to grandstand and engage in demagoguery, at least until reality intervenes, either through stories of injustice or fiscal contraction. In times of normal budgets, at least for the last coupla decades, everybody on both sides of the aisle has said basically the same thing as the Congresswoman, just like everybody in Salem was against witches. In the current budget environment, though, she's writing checks up there in Washington that the state of Texas can't afford to cash. If these are the terms of debate these days, sign me up on the Governor's side and tell the feds nobody down here wants to pay for the Adam Walsh Act while we're closing schools and prisons and gutting core functions of state government.

H/T to Sentencing Law & Policy.

RELATED: From forensic psychologist Karen Franklin, see "Justice Perverted," in which she opens an eponymous book review asking "At a time when many U.S. states are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and essential public services are being slashed and burned, does it make sense to spend billions and billions of dollars on largely symbolic laws that do little or nothing to prevent or deter sex offending?"


Anonymous said...

There are still some who want to protect the children. That progam "To Catch a Predator" shows what these sexual predators look like and act like. You can deny it all you want, but there they are - on the screen big as life. No amount of liberal spin can disguise the reality.

Unlike in the TV program, some sexual predators don't target 15 or 14 year olds. Some go after five or seven year olds. I wonder what they would look like if we had a TV program that exposed those who prey on the very young.

Anonymous said...

Adam walsh act has nothing to do with protecting the children no matter what lee and the feds tell you. Educate yourself on the facts.
According to the DPS only about 6100 (say it again 6100) people on the registry are truly dangerous.
I want the registry to help keep up with those that are predatory habitual offenders.
I dont want to keep up with those that made a bad choice and had CONSENSUAL sex or copped a feel from a teenager.

Anonymous said...

If Jesus were born today GOd and Joseph would be a registered sex offender. Mary was about 15 when she gave birth to Jesus, Jospeh was about 30 when they were married.
Hell, my grandfather I guess is a sex offender too. He was 10 years older than my grandmother.
Uh oh, my husband is 7 years older then I am. I guess he is one too Ms Lee. My mom is older than my dad, wow my family is full of sex offenders. Sheila Lee should treat herself and learn about the laws she tries to push on her constituents back here in TX.
Adam Walsh was horribly murdered, but he was not murdered by a sex offender.

Anonymous said...

Check out

Anonymous said...

11:56 what do YOU call a predator?

Anonymous said...

It is our duty to protect children, but the AWA costs too much money and is just a grandstanding, feelgood, make the legislator lookgood, type of legislation. We are hypocrites if on the one hand we pay out millions of dollars to enact this ineffectual legislation, then cut back on foster care programs so we can leave kids in their abusive,neglectful environments, where most sexual abuse takes place anyway,(ask a foster parent how many of the kids they serve have been sexually abused by family), and cut back on education funding. Don't be fooled by this threat from the federal government. SAY NO TO WASTEFUL SPENDING!!!

Anonymous said...

Tx family code ch 33 section I says that a minor girl may be mature enough to make a decision to have an abortion WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT. Tx ccp ch 62 says a minor is not mature enough to make the decision to have sex. You cant have an abortion without sex and the state of Tx cant have it both ways, but they are at the expense of incarcerating thousands of young men for consensual sex.

Anonymous said...

I'm mad as hell that we consider spending this money on AWA and the state is practically eliminating the one safety net that children do have. Texas Foster Care progams will be seeing deep cuts and the fallout will be "increased child deaths again" and then next session we'll be scrambling to clean up the mess again. Who will provide a safe home for abused children if the state does not? We must fund childcare, education and social services to protect children.Say no to AWA.

Anonymous said...

Adam Walsh became famous after his son was horribly murdered. I empathize that he lost his precious son. What if? His son had lived to be 18 and had consensual sex with a minor, who would he be speaking out for? How many young boys, not yet men, 18,19 yr olds, have become "infamous" for having consensual sex with minor girlfriends? AWA has not shown to be an effective means of protecting children, in fact, it is harming young boys.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for protecting children, but most children are not molested by strangers. They are molested by people they know and trust who are NOT registered sex offenders.

Please, please let's differentiate between those who are really predators and those who are not. By all means lets keep the violent offenders on the registry, but please stop persecuting those whose crime was only that they made a dumb choice that had nothing to do with a child.

A person who is intoxicated and runs a red light does not get punished the same as a person who is intoxicated and kills someone in a traffic accident. Why then do we punish a 19 year old who has sex with a 16 year old or who looks at something on the internet the same as we punish a person who rapes and/or kills someone.

We have to do something about the "one size fits all" sex offender laws.

Angee said...

Ask children in the system how many have been sexually abused by a foster parent.
Adam Walsh died a horrible death....somewhere. One woman, the mother claims he was abducted at a mall. Police records indicate there is no proof that Adam was at the mall. This honest woman we are to believe was involved in a 4 year affair with family friend James Campbell, recently deceased. Reve Walsh had spent the morning with her lover and then Adam disappeared. John Walsh wasn't there so he is saying what he was supposedly told. Walsh himself finally admitted to having a "long-time" sex addiction in 2002 so he is the kind of man he warns us about. Hell, he warns us about all males except thyself. His escapades were all over the tabloids in his younger days and his new family of children have grown up having to deal with this. John Walsh is destructive and has been exploiting his dead child for more than a quarter of a century. His pedophile friend and neighbor Mark Foley helped while soliciting minors. A sex addict and a pedophile must have had some goods laughs putting together America's toughest legislation that would stop such activity in it's track. John Walsh is a greedy snake oil salesman that keeps selling a new, improved, up-sized package that we must have for the sake of our children. Bull! It is for the sake of an egomaniac trying to be a big man in a small man's body.

Anonymous said...

"To Catch a Predator" program was a bunch of crap. What they did not tell you was that some over-weight waana-be cop was sitting on the other side of the computer professionally LURING thes guys for months and months posing as a teen aged girl.
Furthermore- the Adam Walsh act is a wasteful, shameful piece of work. I am outraged that Texas lawmakers would even consider wasting our money on this feel-good, expensive, and unproductive piece of legislation!!

Marjorie Lawrence said...

Has America gone crazy!
We set the real sex offenders up with our young boys who had consentual sex with their girlfriends.

Freedom of speech and tv have taught this country that it's cool to have sex and look naughty and do it all!!!!!! BUT, let's put the young boys away who fell in love or had sex with a girlfriend?

I am sick of the stupidity of Americans. I bet your daddies all where worse than my son.

God knows all the adult men in my family have more sexual desires and have actied on them from pron, tv, adultry, and peeking in windows.

Marjorie Lawrence-Realtor of a Sex Offender for 24 years now!

I'm proud that my son is not dead yet thanks to the Texas laws and the hell we have been through.

This country and the system of law stopped him from growing and serving his country. Shame on the dumb educated individuals that don't get it! what happened to common sense??????????????????

Separate the real criminals from the other victoms.....our children.

Anonymous said...

The laws regarding registration need to be changed! And SOON! How on earth can anyone tell on a registry if a girl was actually raped or if it was consentual? According to our laws, my grandfather would be a RSO, he was 22 and my grandmother was 15. They were married for 55 years before he passed away. My ex-husband would have been an RSO. I was 15 and he was 20. And I KNOW he is not a sexual preditor! OUR LAWS ARE OUT OF CONTROL. No wonder the states are going broke. What a huge waste of my tax dollars! And I am a voter, and I WILL vote! GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why aren't there different classifications for sex offenders?

A. Young teen who has sex with girlfriend who is sexually premious. Dumb and immature.

B. Young man who intentionally goes for young girls. 10-22 Dumb!

C. Adult men who go for young girls. 22+ (Like the father of my son's so called victom.) Sex Offenders!

D. Men who molest/rape children.
Mosters-Execution immediately if proof!

E. Men who kill children/women.
Monsters-Execution immediately if proof!

There seems to be one size fits all for so-called sexual offenders!
Boy.........America is DUMB! So is the LAW! I guess it makes money for lawyers and the court system. A & B become victoms for life and ruin lives beyond the sex offender.


Anonymous said...

As the mother of a sex-offender living in Texas, I can see first hand a system that was ill-conceived and has gone awry.

Not only is it ineffective the way it is,but putting more people on will make it even more so.

The system needs to be reformed and slimmed down so that only the truly dangerous need be on it.Only that way will it work.

The AWA will have the opposite effect and should not be adopted.

Mike t said...

I spent almost three years in the Texas Youth Commision. I have been dealing with sex offender label sence I was 14. I'm 21 now. I have had many years of successful treatment. I know at least 20 guys I still talk to every now and then. Most of us will have the barrier of this label for the rest of our lives. My treatment providers tought me how to handle the abuses, including sexual, that I suffered as a child. The crazy thing is that out of the literally hundreds of boys , that are now adults, that I have been In treatment with only about 3 where pedophiles. Those guys are all still locked away and will be for most of their lives. The rest have no intrest in your children. In fact we are a little afraid of them. All it takes is someone to accuse, and I'm gone.
Nobody cares about who I am. They see sex offender and think baby raper. I only want live a normal healthy life.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I have already written and mailed my letter to Ms Lee. I suggest you do the same. Tell her AWA is not good for any Texan

rodsmith said...

LOL if you to talk about protecting the children. Let's talk about the biggest con artest of them all in that area. Adolf Hitler. He got germany to swallow almost EVERYTHING using that same statement.

as of how many of our parents and grandparents would be consider sex offending perverts under todays laws Let's not forget that so would MOST of our nations founders most of which owned slaves.

If we are honest about it a case could be made that this NATION was FOUNDED by Sex Offenders!

so kinda of two-faced to high on our high horse about it now!

never mind the whole system is a major joke and waste of billions.

20 years of studies from here and AROUND THE WORLD say the same thing over and over again. 80-95% of those charged with a sex crime NEVER comitt another one. Also that 80-95% of sex crimes are FIRST TIME OFFENSES that NO registry in the world would stop

Anonymous said...

Nothing is more important than our children, Ms. Jackson Lee. That is why this emphasis on registered sex offenders, no matter their offense, and where they are every second of every day, must stop. Those registered sex offenders commit no more than 1% of the sexual crime against children, and keeping the focus on them ignores the cause of well over 90% of child sexual abuse, the family members and close trusted acquaintances of the children being molested. If you want to launch a campaign that could actually decrease sex crime against children, there it is. Educational and awareness programs in our schools and communities will at least have a chance of having a positive impact. Pouring money into AWA compliance will not.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why politicians are exempt from the laws themselves from the laws they pass. How many times have we heard about federal, state and local judges, prosecutors, and cops who force themselves on women so they can get out of a fine or use their position of power to gain sexual favors? Yet these hypocrites say that others who do the same should be placed on a website for the world to see and lynch! This is why Texas will always have a bad reputation for being way too far to the right.

Perhaps we should dig up dead relatives of the politicians and criminalize them and make them known as predators since they do the same to the rest of the people.

txmom3 said...

Both Rick Perry and Sheila Jackson need to stop grandstanding, learn about what an injustice the existing sex offender registry is to most who are on it, and then vote to get it reduced by about 90% of people that are on it that are NOT a threat. Like my 14 year old son who played doctor with the neighbor child only 4 years younger than him. Now he is classified as a predator. The harm the registry is at it's current state, far surpasses any crimes that would be committed without it even existing. They are labeling offenders that do not deserve it, which allows the real predators much more room to operate in without being noticed. Get wise Mr. Perry and Sheila Jackson - this isn't about right wing or left wing - it is about justice and the registry is the furthest thing from justice and safety.

Anonymous said...

"Unlike in the TV program, some sexual predators don't target 15 or 14 year olds. Some go after five or seven year olds. I wonder what they would look like if we had a TV program that exposed those who prey on the very young."

you are absolutely right Anon. Problem is you will not catch 99% of the sexual predators that prey on small kids. Why you ask, because all they do is walk down the hall in their own home! Far more children are sexually assaulted by parents or friends than are grabbed off the streets. So as long as you are cool to have cameras put into every home in America, hey I am game for it, if you're not, then stop spouting your drivel and get some education on which you speak because at present you have no clue as to what the truth is.

vengrad419 said...

okay...if Ms.Jackson-Lee is so concerned about our children and feels a need to expand the Registry, why can't we also include the DWI offenders that have killed children..the thieves that have killed families while burglerizing homes...the drug dealers that have served prison time for selling drugs to our youth..Lets create a registry for all crimes...While RSO serves some good for alerting people to real also damages all the other registered very low-risk offenders...we need to concentrate on getting these low-risk offenders off the list and concentrate on the dangerous ones...Please say NO to AWA!!! It's insanity of the highest form...

Anonymous said...

First of all, we need to part ways with the federal government when it comes to these laws. Secondly, WE, AS TEXANS, need to start having programs to give self-confidence to the many children who are vulnerable. Lastly, REMOVE the registry from the publics eyes, remove the felony records of those who did nothing more than consensual sex, online solicitation (a joke law) and other such non-violent "crimes" that ALL of us in our 40's would definitely be in jail for! Everyone needs to remember their teen years!

If you think an online registry is helping anyone, think about it. If a horrible act happened inside the home of a child, would that family want to turn in dad or step dad or uncle Bob to the police KNOWING FULL WELL that the family will be devastated financially, emotionally and definitely humiliated by an online registry?? NOOOO, we are HURTING our children. The two posters are right about Foster care. Look at what is going on - it's in the FAMILY and families want counseling and HELP and HEALING, not the threat of humiliation and prison! What good is it all doing???

Say NO to the AWA and my gosh, Sheila Jackson-Lee needs to do some studying. I've done research on this subject for four years now and she knows absolutely NOTHING about who is on the registry with her spouting off. I'd be embarrassed if I were her.

Oh yah, and Mark Foley, the one who pushed SO HARD with Mr. Walsh to get the AWA passed, is a sex offender himself, they just didn't arrest him (ha...what a joke, he chatted/texted with teens and should be on the list but ohhh, that's right, he's a POLITICIAN!)

Mr. Walsh should also be on the registry, as should many other politicians and even my grandparents would be on it too!

What a waste of LIVES AND money. Pretty soon an entire generation of young men will be behind bars if we don't stop it now.

Anonymous said...

The Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee's 115 page Interim Report recommends against Texas' participation in the federal Adam Walsh Act related to additional restrictions on sex offenders. The feds punish noncompliant states by reducing their "Byrne" criminal justice block grants by 10%, however, "Retaining the ten percent of federal funding is not adequate incentive because the cost to implement the changes to registries would cost much more than states would lose. In Texas the loss would be $1,404,571, where as the cost is assessed at $38,771,924."

$38,771,924 for what? So the children of Texas will be kept safe? Where is the data showing how sex offender registries are protecting Texas' children? What? It doesn't exist? Laws already in place for repeat offenders are the deterrent, not the registry.

Anonymous said...

You, Anonymous at 11:56 a.m., are exactly the type of consumer that politicians pray for; you believe all the hype and the hysteria unquestioningly without bothering to do 5 minutes of research that would show you that the type of predator of whom you speak make up no more than 5% of the registry. You wonder what a program would look like that exposed those who prey on the very young. It would be a sit-com with a normal looking family with kids and neighbors and lots of friends and acquaintances, but when no one was looking, the family members and neighbors and acquaintances would be molesting the kids, and then it wouldn't be funny any more.

Anonymous said...

Show me or even prove one person, child or animal that has been saved due to this Registry???????????

Anonymous said...

Someone maydo do Sheila, the racist.

Anonymous said...

People who believe the sex offender registry actually protects childnen probably still put their pulled teeth under their pillow at night. No matter how you size this thing up, it doesn't work. It does not protect our children; it is a huge drain on all resources,financial and manpower; it hurts many of those we seek to protect. Texas sex offender treatment providers are working with parole and probation right now to create sensible rules on this mess. Let's leave this to the professionals and quit believing everything Dateline has to say.

Anonymous said...

For another viewpoint of Sheila Jackson Lee, see

Anonymous said...

i think rick perry and lee don't know any thing about the different types of sex offenders.they don't care,just try to make themselves look good to the public that don't know there's non violent offenders and there's violent offenders.when the puplic hears the word sex offender,they think the worst.perry and lee needs to talk to the registered sex offenders and their families to hear first hand and see the hell on earth they are going though.for what having consensual with their girlfriend,someone they met at a party that lied about her age,a homeless man for being homeless,a man that takes a leak behind a 7/11 late at night charged as a sex offender.what about the girl that met 11 military men on my space,telling them she was 18.causeing all 11 be sent to brig,undesirable discharge and placed on the sex offender registery for life.AFTER FINDING OUT SHE LIED,SHE WAS ONLY 13. it would seem the judge should have notice something was wrong with this girl and seek help for her.when the lawers ask the judge,why should these men be punished for her lies.the lawers was told there was no law against someone lieing.that was 11 lives plus their families will live in hell on earth because of her lies.but there's no punishment for her.some day i wish you law makers that make these laws,will have to live the same kind of hell these people have to live because of your one law fits all.we are ask to take all non violent offenders off the registery so they find work and live a normal life as posible.about the AWA, SOME TELL HOW CAN THE GOVERMENT PAY THE STATE TO ENFORCE THE AWA WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY,THEY ARE BROKE.I SUPPOSE THEY COULD GeT IT FROM CHINA.THAT'S MORE MONEY OUR CHILDREN WILL HAVE TO much is enought before perry and lee and the rest of our politicians start using common sence.PERTECT ALL OF OUR CHILDREN take all non violent offenders off the registery.

rodsmith said...

this is a real biggie right here!

"someone they met at a party that lied about her age"

Not sure about texas but here in florida.

You can meet a women in a bar with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. ask for id hell copy that id and if it later turns out that id is FAKE and she is in fact UNDERAGE guess what.

Not only WILL you be charged!

You are LEGALL prohibited from even mentioning or using the fact she had a FAKE id as a defense.

so your screwed and going to jail and the little felon who used an ILLEGAL FAKE id isn't even spanked let alone charged.

Karen Franklin, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for the plug of my review of Ewing's new book, Perverted Justice. Ewing would likely argue that this registry expansion conflict is not a Texas-specific issue at all. His book reports that only one state has complied with the federal regulations, likely because the financial cost of compliance vastly exceeds the pittance that the feds reward complying states.

Texas Maverick said...

Grits, politics makes strange bedfellows. What a dilemma you find yourself in - Perry or Jackson-Lee? We've found the key to getting Perry to change his public stance, running on the Tea Party platform, states' rights, fighting big govt. Hey if that's what it takes, we'll go for it. Maybe, just maybe the tide is turning on public opinion of AWA. Thanks for putting the issue in front so it can be looked at sanely.

Charlie O said...

"OH the poor children, we have to do it for the children." I swear, more bad legislation has been passed all over this country to "save the children" than any other stupid excuse.

Anonymous said...

The racial hatred from these African-American leaders like Lee, West, Johnson, Price, Watkins, The Owens Klan, and the list goes on and on and on and on infinite-nauseous, is so destructive for our state and our nation. The Anglos are so afraid to be labeled a racist for pointing out this destructive social behavior that these people continue to grow out of control. Until one of them is investigate properly, and charges get files. I think Anglos should remove this race CRUTCH and begin to expect our African Americans as a whole to behave themselves in a civilized manner. Its becoming ridiculous and just makes African Americans look ignorant, as a whole. Way to go Governor Perry for standing up to this known closed minded bitch of a racist.

Anonymous said...

According to the media hype There was supposed to be hundreds of thousands of under age child sex slaves kidnapped and forced to have sex with super bowl fans. At the Dallas Super Bowl 2011. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF THEM???????? Where are they???????????

Well, as I predicted it was all a big lie told by various anti-prostitution groups and government officials that tell lies in order to get grant money from the government and charities to pay their high salaries. As proved in the link below:

Top FBI agent in Dallas (Robert Casey Jr.) sees no evidence of expected spike in child sex trafficking:

“Among those preparations was an initiative to prevent an expected rise in sex trafficking and child prostitution surrounding the Super Bowl. But Robert Casey Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas office, said he saw no evidence that the increase would happen, nor that it did.
“In my opinion, the Super Bowl does not create a spike in those crimes,” he said. “The discussion gets very vague and general. People mixed up child prostitution with the term human trafficking, which are different things, and then there is just plain old prostitution.”

This myth of thousands or millions of underage sex slaves tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in.

Brian McCarthy isn't happy. He's a spokesman for the NFL. Every year he's forced to hear why his customers are adulterers and child molesters. Brian McCarthy says the sport/super bowl sex slave story is a urban legend, with no truth at all.

I do not like the idea of people getting the wrong information and believing lies, no matter what the topic is. The Sex trafficking, slavery issue is one of the biggest lies being told today. It is amazing to me how people will believe such lies so easily. The media is to blame for this. I wonder why they feel such a need to report wrong stats, numbers and information about this topic without doing proper research.

Here is some more information about this:

Eric Knight said...

Rick Perry has, sitting on his desk, an order that will relieve many teens from the sex offender registry for "Romeo and Juliet" convictions or judgments. He has until June 21 to sign or veto the law.

If he is planning to run for president, he will VETO the bill.

But he's also contemplating a run for president. So here are the possibilities. THERE ARE ONLY THREE STARTING OPTIONS:

Option 1: Perry Announces for the Presidency first:

SCENARIO ONE: He may subsequently veto the bill, giving a HUGE speech on "CLAMPING DOWN" on sex offenders.

Outcome:This will solidify his conservative "law and order" credentials.

SCENARIO TWO: He signs the bill

Outcome: His republican primary opponents (and all democrats JUMP on Perry for "coddling sex offenders" or "allowing pedophiles off the hook."

Option 2: Perry Vetoes the Bill first

SCENARIO THREE: He is setting himself up to announce for president, allowing him to make the decision to run at his leisure without worry about the "pro-pedophile" label, past the bill expiration date of June 21.

Option 3: Perry Signs the Bill first

SCENARIO FOUR: If Perry announces for presidency, he will be denounced per Scenario Two.

NOTE: If Perry does NOT sign or veto the bill, and also does not announce for the presidency BEFORE June 21, he will NOT run for president, because he would be portrayed as NOT STOPPING the "pro-pedophile" bill. So that is not an option.