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TX: Program to corral ballooning sex offender registry failing

… In 2011, Texas began a so-called deregistration process. The intent was to remove those who were unlikely to re-offend from the list and, in so doing, save taxpayers money. By focusing police attention on truly dangerous offenders, it would also improve public safety.

By that measure, however, the program has been a bust. In the 5 1/2 years it has been in existence, only 58 sex offenders have been permitted to deregister from the Texas list — less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the current registry. Full Article

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  1. American Detained in America

    Is anyone surprised? If you reduce the registry, you also reduce the political clout it wields by showing that those registered aren’t really that much of a threat.

  2. Chris F

    That’s where I live and the de-list legislation was a complete joke.

    To de-register, your offense (there can only be one charge) has to be one that has a longer registration under Texas law than under federal law, and you have to have been on it at least that long. Then, a “council” has to approve and recommend that you aren’t a threat. Then a judge has to agree to let you off…yes…an elected judge has to have it on his record when he goes up for re-election that he let a SO off the list. Yep…not very bloody likely.

    It’s legislation was just an excuse just to fend off any constitutional challenges because at least Texas can claim there is a “due process” way to get off the registry even if it isn’t practical or actually allowed very often.

    If only the government had to go through any red tape to put someone on a list that violates many of our constitutional rights to begin with we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    • Notgivingup

      The really big issue for anyone trying to deregister is the amount of money it cost to try and then as you said Chris most Judges will not do it because they are afraid to lose their jobs, so much for true justice. Even if they expand the requirements so more can try, the only ones that really benefit are the Attorneys and the 22 providers who are licensed by the state to administer the assessment, in the long run the RC will lose and everyone else will make money and a lot of it on the hopes and dreams of the RC who will try anything to get off. I myself have met all the criteria and been approved by the council to deregister AS LONG AS THE JUDGE AGREES, little chance of that but we will see. Most RCs should just keep the money in the bank if they have it. SAD how it is always about the MONEY.

    • Erwin

      You hit the nail on the head. The intent of the Texas deregister law is to pretend like they’re doing something when they’re really doing nothing. At the same time, the state hopes to stave off lawsuits.

      Prosecutor’s rarely just go for “one” charge. They usually trump up a bunch of charges and try and get a person to take a plea. And this guy had a single count of possession of CP? Come on! Normally 1 picture is 1 count. Usually defendants are caught with multiple pictures. If this guy did almost 2 years for one picture, Texas law is really messed up.

      And like you said, an elected judge does not want to go on the record as letting a sex offender off the hook unless the punishment is so ridiculous like this person with 1 count.

      I know there’s been a big debate about the tier system on this forum. But this is a perfect example where it could have benefited the person in this article. Instead of lifetime registration, he would have gotten 15 years for a low level offense for possession of CP. As long as the tier system didn’t incorporate static-99 or some other garbage that takes into account stranger danger

  3. Mike

    My situation in TX is very complicated. I took the Stat 99 and was classified low risk. My PO showed me the site and showed me what was visible. I looked maybe one other time on my own and a couple of friends checked it and said, “at least you are low risk.” Well my Mexican lawyer told me to get documentation on my low risk status as he prepares an appeal to enter Mexico. I look on the site and now it says on the risk level, “not reported.” I called DPS and was told that I need to check with the Probation office and ask them to resubmit. I called the PO and since my probation was completed over 6 years ago, I was told that my paperwork was shredded. So now even though I have to jump through all those hoops, they can lose my risk level and all they say is too bad. Actually the woman at DPS was courteous, but the end result is the same. To make matters worse, I was made promises by my lawyer as to how my case would be disposed if I cooperated and nearly everything that I was told was not accurate. So I complained and even hired attorneys and investigators because this registration is an every changing animal. I found significant errors but also found out that the witnesses were very reluctant. So now I will have the prosecutor working against me as I start the deregistration process. There is a lot more to the case, but in the end, I have invested some money with an attorney who is now currently researching my situation to determine if I am eligible to go through the process. I hope that I hear something soon.

  4. David

    “If only the government had to go through any red tape to put someone on a list that violates many of our constitutional rights to begin with…”
    So very true, Chris F. !!!

  5. Mike

    Is there anyone on this forum that has gotten off of the TX registry without being on the registry for 15 years? It seems like I have read in some of the posts that some have gotten off of the registry and I wondered how they did it.

    • WantsToHelp

      With the exception of those who are adjucated as juveniles (juvies have their own rules for how long they’re on the list) there are two ways to get off the Texas registry.

      The first is if the person was charged under a ten-year post-release offense. With a ten year registration requirement, the clock starts ticking after the offender is formally discharged. So if he’s given 4 years of prison time, it would effectively be 14 years of registration (although technically the registration aspect of it only starts once he gets into the free world.) If he’s given 10 years of community supervision, it would effectively be 20 years of registration, assuming there weren’t any revocations, etc.

      If those ten years post release pass uneventfully, the duty to register automatically expires. In other words, the offender doesn’t have to go through a judicial process to get removed from the list, he’s automatically removed by legal statute once the ten years expire. I’m not sure how the timing works if there are new convictions sex-related or otherwise before the 10 years expire.

      All other offenses that were not adjucated as juveniles and not ten-year post-release are lifetime in the State of Texas. For those who fall under lifetime registration requirements there is a deregistration process available. Because of the stringent rules that govern the process, not very many people qualify for deregistration. To qualify, the registrant can only have one charge–if he has more than one charge for the same event (very common) or has more than one sex conviction, he’s automatically disqualified. He also has to have a conviction that would require less registration time under the Adam Walsh Act. So if the person has a lifetime Texas conviction and the AWA calls for lifetime registration, he cannot qualify. If he has a conviction that is less than lifetime under AWA, the AWA amount of time 15 years or 25 years will have had to pass before applying for relief. It is also a very lengthy and expensive process due to the assessments that must be done and there are only 20-ish licensed professionals in the State who can do these assessment. Assuming the person qualifies, can afford the process, and the licensed professional does sign off on the rehabilitation aspect, the registrant then has to go back before the sentencing judge to get that judge to sign off on it. Prosecutors nearly always fight deregistration. Also, so few deregistrations done each year that for most judges, the first time they learn about the process is when they are being petitioned.

      Hope that helps answer the question. Google has a lot more information than I do.

    • WantsToHelp

      … also… it’s possible that some offenses that are lifetime in Texas would be 10- or 20-year offenses in other States. If a registrant moves out of Texas, as long as he’s gone through the proper procedure of notifying his registering office 7 days in advance of the move, Texas will remove the registrant from the Texas registry (unlike, say, Florida or New York, who will keep you on their list forever regardless of where you are.)

      • Mike

        I have read that in other areas. For tier one offenses, the registration term is 15 years but 10 if you have a clear record, whatever that is. I just thought that I had read in some postings that some in TX when through the process and got off of the registry before the 10 or 15 year time frame. I was hoping that they would read and respond. Thanks for your response.

        • WantsToHelp

          As I understand it, the rules of the AWA allow Tier 1 and Tier 2 to petition for early removal, but I’m not sure how this applies as the actual registration laws are governed by the individual states where registrants reside.

          There are a number of states that allow individuals to petition for registry removal after AWA-similar time frames (petition at 10 years on a 15 year offense, for example) but I’m not sure that the process in those States is any less window dressing than the Texas deregistration process.

          In every state statute that I’ve read on the subject (and I’ve read quite a few), if I remember correctly, a “clean record” included no additional felony convictions and no sex offense of any kind since the registerable conviction. There may have been some that included certain misdemeanor levels as well.

          In Texas–and I assume other states as well–some of the laws have been challenged on constitutional grounds. If a particular law is ruled unconstitutional then anyone who was convicted under that law has an avenue to challenge his conviction and attempt to get it set aside. If successful, the individual would be removed from the registry. It’s possible some of the stories you’ve heard have had something to do with that.

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