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TX: Sex offender residency restrictions questioned in small cities


AUSTIN — Registered sex offenders in small Texas cities were until last year challenging residence restrictions, arguing that “general-law” municipalities lacked authority to control where they lived.

A new state law that took effect in September codified small cities’ legal standing to enact such ordinances, but now the attorney who in 2015 sued Krum over its ordinance is back in court, saying that the Denton County city’s newly enacted residence restriction, along with those of several other Texas cities, violates the statute.

“If they’ve passed a new ordinance and it doesn’t comply, they are very likely to be sued,” said Denton attorney Richard Gladden, who challenged Krum’s residency rules on behalf of a then-local male resident who is a registered sex offender. “If they have not complied with House Bill 1111 they are going to lose.”

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  1. Chris F

    So you have to have “a hearing to show that they aren’t a threat” to live within these cities “child safety zones”?

    That’s ridiculous. How can you prove you aren’t a threat? Shouldn’t they have to prove I am?

    When there are no studies showing residency restrictions help public safety, and many that say it harms public safety by keeping registrants away from family and treatment, how does this even pass rational basis review anymore?

    It’s a shame Richard Gladden failed in his earlier court cases regarding residency restrictions, but since he used Procedural Due Process instead of Substantive as the challenge, it failed with them quoting Connecticut DPS V Doe 2003 about the procedure’s scheme only relying on conviction records and not needing a hearing as part of that scheme. With all of the quotes by politicians of wanting to push sex offenders out (banishment) it is also ripe for a Bill of Attainder challenge and violation of arbitrary government action.

    • AJ

      This “prove you’re not going to re-offend” idiocy was addressed in Millard, and contributed to that Opinion. From Millard:
      That burden is not consistent with the statute, imposed a vague and subjective standard, and further reversed the long-standing “usual and well known general rule … that the burden of proof lies upon him who substantially asserts the affirmative of an issue.” Gertner v. Limon Nat’l Bank. 257 P. 247, 253 (Colo. 1927).

      • Chris F (@AJ)

        Great point AJ.

        It’s great how Millard V Rankin contains so many good references.

        It’s also the best example I’ve seen of how to address a Substantive Due Process claim against the registry. Lots of good nuggets in there on that. Like this:

        “what the plaintiffs have shown is that the public has been given, commonly exercises, and has exercised against these plaintiffs the power to inflict punishments beyond those imposed through the courts, and to do so arbitrarily and with no notice, no procedural protections and no limitations or parameters on their actions other than the potential for prosecution if their actions would be a crime.”

        Not only the does the public punish sex offenders arbitrarily, but so do thousands of cities across the US.

        This argument is also easy to use against IML as being arbitrary and fostering arbitrary punishment by other nations.

  2. lovewillprevail

    Some people will benefit from the lawsuits and I think that is great. But when said and done and the cities lose, then the cities will rescind the existing ordinances and then adopt new ordinances complying with the statutes. So then we’ll all be back t the same place with us winning the battle but losing the war. Just my prediction…and we’ll still be banished.

    • New Person

      There’s push back. Cases are being won. A SCOTUS case was won, defending first amendment rights. There’s Snyder. There’s Muniz. Mike R filed his own case.

      “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Dustin

      True, there will be a lot of back-and-forth in the constant tug of war regarding an RSOs right to live. That’s really what we’re fighting for, quite literally in some cases. There’s no other option but to keep pulling.

  3. Jim Quinn

    To really change things public opinion, and thus the media, must recognize and publicize the truth of low recidivism rates, high treatment efficacy, etc
    Center for sex offender management has had this data for many uears…but i’s the weird case, with lots of tears, that gets the P.R.

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