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TX: For some sex offenders, their deal with the state wasn’t really a deal

When the Beaumont police detective called him in 2014, Curtis wondered what the officer might want. His only run-in with the law had been half a lifetime ago.

In 1985, he had been charged with indecency with a child, his stepdaughter. Curtis, then 34, struck a deal with prosecutors. He would plead guilty, but if after 10 years he kept out of trouble, the conviction would go away. He paid his fees, performed his community service and attended sex offender counseling. The charge was dismissed in 1996.

He kept a low, steady profile. Over the next three decades, he raised his three boys in the house in which he’s always lived. He worked at a nearby chemical plant until his retirement in 2009.

So the news from the detective was alarming. Despite the deal he’d cut with the state of Texas 30 years ago, Curtis was dismayed to learn that he now would have to register as a sex offender. His name, photo and details of his crime would appear on the state’s public website. He would need to check in with police regularly. The new rules, the detective informed Curtis, applied for the rest of his life. Full Article

Join the discussion

  1. David

    Not surprising, lawmakers will keep making unconstitutional laws until they are slapped down by a judge.😡
    (The news article linked to this one is quite ironic. Apparently, Texas is failing to curb its “ballooning sex offender registry”. Well, duh, ya’think? When the legislature keeps coming up with new laws to increase the number of people who are required to register, common sense would tell you that you will increase the size of the registry.

    • Trish

      FOR MOST SEX OFFENDERS ! A DEAL IS NOT A DEAL ! Why because America needs to wake up! Men are not treated well in Society and BS Politics have taken over, many esteamed people play games with justice and all people need there day in court ! ASK YOURSELVES THIS ! HOW THE HELL DOES THE DOJ ALLOW MENS LIVES TO BE FLUSHED IN THE TOILETS BY PUSHING PLEA DEALS WITHOUT REALLY GOOD REPRESENTATION? AND RUN AMUCK LAWS PASSED WITHOUT SAFEGAURDS TO INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS WITHOUT ANYONE WITH A BALANCED BRAIN TO REVIEW WITH THE SAME TENACITY AS DEFENSE FOR VICTIMS ! HELLO IS THIS A STUPID AND CORRUPT WAY TO ENGAGE IN AND PEPETUATE THE GOVERNING LAWS IN THESE MATTERS ! WHO THE HELL IS RUNNING THIS SICK ONESIDED BS GOVERNMENT ?

    • Trish

      WE MUST HAVE MORE ALLIANCES, INSTITUTIONS, AFILLIATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS, AGENCIES, LAW FIRMS ETC. ETC. TITLED “OFFICE OF JUSTICE FOR THE “ACCUSED/OFFENDER/EX-OFFENDER” ! IT IS RIDICULOUS TO HAVE SUCH OFFICES FOR EVERYTHING IN CIVIL MATTERS/SECTOR OF SOCIETY BECAUSE IDIOTS DO NOT KNOW HOW TO HANDLE CASE BY CASE LAW….INSTEAD THEY DESTROY, DEBILITATE AND MAKE AN ABSOLUTE MESS CAUSING A SEVERE DISFUNCIONAL SOCIETY ! INFUSED BY MISHANDLING OF LAW/CONSTITUTION !

  2. Hostage in Texas

    Florence Shapiro is one of the worst. Her husband Howard Shapiro is a sex offender attorney!! She made the laws and he defends against them!! what a cozy deal! I hate these people.

    • Anonymous

      Corrupt & dirty politicians deceive us all, and I don’t mean only those on “the registry.” I mean every U.S. citizen gets used & abused.. I should know. I worked for the government before my conviction & i was a user & a taker too.

  3. AnotherAnon

    This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read about the registry. We should all keep reading it! Maybe the hits will keep on the front page.

  4. Timmmy

    I am sorry, but the police officer is quite incorrect:

    Texas Constitution:
    ARTICLE I.
    SEC. 16. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be made.

  5. CR

    My situation is like that of some of the men in the article. I did a plea deal for 10 years deferred adjudication in 1992. Registration wasn’t even mentioned because it wasn’t applicable to me at the time. I was supposed to be free and clear when my 10 years were up, provided I successfully completed my probation, which I did. However, in 1997 I was made to register for life.

    I hope this new lawsuit is successful, as it seems that relief would be due me as well.

    • Timmmy

      You should be suing for damages:

      Texas Constitution:
      ARTICLE I.
      SEC. 16. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, >>> retroactive law <<<, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be made.

      • CR

        That has been done already, and it failed. State courts have repeatedly found that such claims are without merit.

      • CR

        @Timmmy, here is an example where a Texas court explains why the prohibition on ex post facto laws does not apply to the sex offender registration statute. See pages 9 and 10.

        https://cases.justia.com/texas/tenth-court-of-appeals/10-10-00306-cr.pdf?ts=1345823759

        Quoted from this case:

        Article I, section 16 of the Texas Constitution states, “No bill of attainder, ex post
        facto law, retroactive law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made.”4
        TEX. CONST. art. I, § 16. Mere retroactivity, however, is not sufficient to
        invalidate a statute. The retroactive-laws provision operates to prohibit the application
        of statutes that disturb vested, substantive rights. Ibarra v. State, 11 S.W.3d 189, 192
        (Tex. Crim. App. 1999). The prohibition against retroactive application of laws does not
        apply to procedural or remedial statutes, because such statutes typically do not affect a
        vested right. Id.; see Univ. of Tex. Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Estate of Arancibia, 324 S.W.3d 544, 548
        (Tex. 2010). Furthermore, “[a] valid exercise of the police power by the Legislature to
        safeguard the public safety and welfare can prevail over a finding that a law is
        unconstitutionally retroactive.” Barshop v. Medina County Underground Water
        Conservation Dist., 925 S.W.2d 618, 633-34 (Tex. 1996).

        • AJ

          @CR:
          Any idea why this was never appealed to TX SC? Seems odd to let it die at the Appellate level. Did TX SC deny review?

        • CR

          @AJ, I don’t know why this one wasn’t appealed. I think it should have been. I couldn’t find a case that went to the Texas SC when I posted this one.

        • Timmmy

          Not a good case because it does affect impact rights. 1) Due process, 2) right to travel, and 3) 13th Amendment as they are forcing you to perform actions without compensation.

        • Timmmy

          In addition numerous states have declared retroactive application of registry laws after their conviction not legal. PA was the most recent one.

        • CR

          @Timmy said “Not a good case because it does affect impact rights. 1) Due process, 2) right to travel, and 3) 13th Amendment as they are forcing you to perform actions without compensation.”

          ——————

          I’m not sure what you mean by “Not a good case”, but if you are implying that it should not have been allowed to stand without appeal, I agree.

          In any event, that was just one example. There are others, but I don’t have time to dig them up right now.

          ——————

          @Timmmy said “In addition numerous states have declared retroactive application of registry laws after their conviction not legal. PA was the most recent one.”

          ——————

          It is a growing number of states. I’m not sure if it counts as “numerous” yet, in my mind, but it’s a good and welcome trend. The ones I know about:

          Alaska, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Missouri (some exceptions), Ohio.

          Are there other states besides these?

        • Timmmy

          Oklahoma is also a recent one.

  6. steve

    At the Rome of sentencing a lot of us never were told we’d be all over the internet, placed with and identifier on our passports, banned from attending our kids school functions, socially banned from society with little to no hope of having a job or career. I’m sure I missed a few things.

  7. chris

    Hi,

    I am actually in one of the lawsuits filed in federal court in Dallas. I was arrested in 91 pled in 93 got off in 2003. I also took deferred adjudication and moved to the Midwest were they said i do not have to register. I have since changed my name and live free of any harassment.

    • Trish

      It is against federal law under Megan’s law for sex offenders to change name ! Right ?

      • namechanges

        No.. I changed my name, moved from Texas and live a free life too..only stain is that for whatever reason, Texas put my old name back up on the internet just recently.

        Got deferred in 96, had no idea I would be retroactively applied for life just one year after agreeing the a plea deal, where I had a good chance to clear my name in trial.

        Only reason I did is though even though DNA evidence should have cleared me a grand jury still indited me. I though after 5 years, nightmare would be over once probation was over.. WRONG, still tied to me for life it looks like

        • Timmmy

          Does not some places require one doing a name change to provide a criminal history?

          Looking at Texas Code:

          5) whether the petitioner is subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure.

          (5) a legible and complete set of the petitioner’s fingerprints on a fingerprint card format acceptable to the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

          (b) The petition must include each of the following or a reasonable explanation why the required information is not included:

          (1) the petitioner’s:

          (A) full name;

          (B) sex;

          (C) race;

          (D) date of birth;

          (E) driver’s license number for any driver’s license issued in the 10 years preceding the date of the petition;

          (F) social security number; and

          (G) assigned FBI number, state identification number, if known, or any other reference number in a criminal history record system that identifies the petitioner;

          (2) any offense above the grade of Class C misdemeanor for which the petitioner has been charged; and

          (3) the case number and the court if a warrant was issued or a charging instrument was filed or presented for an offense listed in Subsection (b)(2).

      • AJ

        @Trish:
        Nope. That’s one more special “feature” of AL’s wonderful laws. I would love to hear the rational-basis argument for it.

        The only mention of name change I find in SORNA is in §20913(c):
        “A sex offender shall, not later than 3 business days after each change of name, residence, employment, or student status, appear in person in at least 1 jurisdiction involved pursuant to subsection (a) and inform that jurisdiction of all changes in the information required for that offender in the sex offender registry. That jurisdiction shall immediately provide that information to all other jurisdictions in which the offender is required to register.”

        • NY won't let go

          So…. If I were to change my name outside of the US I would not legally have to inform them of the change as I’m not in any Sorna jurisdiction?(this is a bit in n reference to the guy that moved to the Philippines and they said he was outside of sorna jurisdiction)

        • Timmmy

          I wonder if anyone has gone into an office and plead the Fifth and keep their right to remain silent?

        • AnotherAnon

          @NY won’t let go, I believe the law was changed to close that “loophole.” During oral argument, if it pertains to the same case, the justices mentioned the law was already changed, but as applied to that individual (before the change) he won.

          @Timmmy, that is a good question that might apply to registration itself (the forms). I wonder what lawyers would think.

        • NY won't let go

          His issue was he moved out of the country without telling them.
          My issue is I moved out of the country and told them. Now my address in my foreign country is listed on the NY registry. Which is really weird to see on home facts because it shows it as being in NY still with the address of a foreign country. 😂😂 the other websites actually put their happy dot on my address overseas.

        • Timmmy

          @AnotherAnon

          What I am referring to is to appear on site with no identification, declare you are there to register, then proclaim your right to remain silent, and demand an attorney (at cost to the State).

        • AnotherAnon

          @Timmmy, I think in California, at least, and maybe nationwide, producing ID is required. Also I suspect it would only work to refuse to answer questions on the form that could be used against you. This question would make for some interesting research. Would refusing to answer on the grounds it may incriminate be an admission? Could it be? Our right to remain silent should not be used against us. Could it be? Do we have to think we committed a registration violation before we can refuse to answer? Suppose someone registered in So. Cal. gets pulled over in S.F. Does the person have to tell the officer how long he has been away from So. Cal.? Would refusing to answer that question be probable cause to search the car for receipts or to obtain credit card or ATM data? Is someone visiting S.F. presumed to be non-compliant until proven otherwise? Very interesting questions.

        • Timmmy

          Here is the Texas law on not producing an ID

          (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has ***lawfully arrested*** the person and requested the information.

          (b) A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:

          (1) lawfully arrested the person;

          (2) lawfully detained the person;  or

          (3) requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense.

          (c) Except as provided by Subsections (d) and (e), an offense under this section is:

          (1) a Class C misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a);  or

          (2) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b).

          (d) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that the defendant was a fugitive from justice at the time of the offense, the offense is:

          (1) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a);  or

          (2) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b).

        • AJ

          @AnotherAnon:
          “…and maybe nationwide, producing ID is required.”
          —–
          Absolutely false. In some states one must provide (i.e. “tell”) a thin-blue-liar ID info (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_and_identify_statutes) if s/he has reasonable suspicion, but not all of them. And to my knowledge, no state requires production of identification, as there’s no requirement to even own a physical ID (though good luck functioning in society).

          From the above URL: If there is no reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed, an individual is not required to provide identification, even in “Stop and ID” states.

          Ok, maybe AL,where RCs must have their shame-card on them at all times, requires production.

        • AJ

          @NY won’t let go:
          “If I were to change my name outside of the US I would not legally have to inform them of the change as I’m not in any Sorna jurisdiction?”
          —–
          Ummm, except you will need to get your passport updated to your new name. And, since NY requires you to keep registration current (and correct?), I expect you’ll need to tell them…and they will tell the Feds.

        • NY won't let go

          The weird thing about that. They never asked for my passport number, even when I notified about going overseas for trip and then eventually moving overseas they never wanted it.

          Each time I asked them if I should give it to them they said they didn’t need it or want it. So I’m a bit torn on this part as there was never anything saying I had to report my passport information to them, unlike Michigan when I lived there.

        • AJ

          @NY won’t let go:
          ” They never asked for my passport number, even when I notified about going overseas for trip and then eventually moving overseas they never wanted it.”
          —–
          I should have been clearer about whom you would need to what. A name change would require your getting your passport itself updated with the State Department, who would most likely add an endorsement (right above/below the Scarlet Letter) advising of the change. Failure to let State know is a federal offense.

          The other element is that since NY forces you to keep registering despite being extrajurisdictional, I am sure somewhere in their laws is a requirement to keep them informed of all names, aliases, etc.

          While you could probably dodge both these entities over both items, at least for some time, if/when they find out, you’d probably end up in the pokey. Given your concerns about having to renew your passport as an expat, changing your name without telling State could get quite ugly at renewal time.

        • NY won't let go

          Yeah, that’s probably true. I wonder how that will work whenever I renew my passport. Since here from the time you apply to when you get your new one averages about 8 days.

          I wish I was an expat. They guys get paid way too much for what it costs to live here. On top of their companies spying for their housing and cars their income is roughly around 10k USD per month.

          I work at local rates because I’m not an “expert” in my field😂😂

      • TS

        @Trish

        What I have found WRT the ability to name change is it is up to the state’s to allow it to be processed or not. I say this based on the state’s name changing requirements in my research where the petitioner has to include in their petition a FBI background check. If the check is clean, then it will continue to be processed, but if it is not clean, then discussions need to happen before the judge who has petition.

        • Timmmy

          There is a “loophole” for name changes. It is permitted automatically for married people. It does not say which spouse can do the name change, only that you only need to present a marriage certificate, and normally the law does not state what names you can change. Just go to your local ID office and they change it right there.

          In addition your SSN card. On getting a new card there is a section which states “Name as you want it to appear on card.” I have seen plenty of places to accept that a name change.

        • TS

          @Timmmy

          I wouldn’t say marriage is a loophole to a name change, but whole other way to do it (so is the witness protection program but I don’t think that’s any more of a loophole either). Also, you need to check the state laws regarding whether the man can take the wife’s last name as his. There are states where that is not applicable from a marriage certificate but has to physically be done as a name change in court. Society may get to the point to where it simply can be done via a marriage certificate for the man to take his wife’s last name everywhere but always double-check so there are no negative surprises.

          In this context of the thread, we were discussing name changes in relation to federal law for registrants. A registrant who gets married has the option of changing their last name but still have to update the registry by federal law.

        • TS

          I am going to amend my answer a touch by removing “a man taking his wife’s name” to a spouse to taking their spouse’s name to be inclusive of both humanly possible ways to be married as decreed by SCOTUS. Even at that, there are many things to consider when thinking of last names for the new couple, e.g. how to do it, implications, etc. I will let the reader here research it further on their own.

        • CR

          Thank you for your sensitivity. 🙂

          If I ever get to the point where I am no longer required to register, I will probably take my spouse’s last name.

      • Trish

        The military/Us marshal/ police and everyone made my husband keep his name back in 97 or face federal charges ! What kind of fuckarooooo is going on in this country ?

    • CR

      chris, since you are now living outside of Texas, under a new name, and are no longer on the registry, might I ask why you decided to be party to the lawsuit?

      Also, can you tell us the name of the case so we can follow it? Thanks.

  8. jean

    Hi,

    Same thing happened to me. I was arrested at 18 1991. Pled guilty in 1993 did 10 yrs deferred and dismissed in 2003. I moved to the Midwest where since than i changed my name and live free….

  9. chris

    Hi Trish,

    No, the state where I live said it does not violate anything. CR, I would like to move back to Texas due to parents getting older and visit more frequently.

    IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
    DALLAS DIVISION
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    § Case No. : 3:18-cv-629
    JOHN DOES #1-153 individually and on §
    behalf of all others similarly situated §
    Plaintiffs, §
    §
    §
    § CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT
    v. §
    §
    GREG ABBOTT, Governor of the §
    State of Texas, and COLONEL §
    STEVEN MCCRAW, Director of the §
    Texas Department of Public Safety, §
    §
    Defendants. §
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    • CR

      Thank you chris. John Does #1-153, that’s a lot!

      At what stage is this case currently? Has it already been certified as a class action?

      Is there a copy of the documents online somewhere?

      Thanks again!

      • AJ

        @CR:
        Here are links to the Complaints. I downloaded the docs myself from PACER and then uploaded them to ufile. IOW, they’re clean unless the courts are spreading things!

        Original Complaint: https://ufile.io/q66ti
        Amended Complaint: https://ufile.io/m1i7c

        I have not read the Complaints, having only popped into them to ensure they were what I was seeking. The case is still in back-and-forth-of-motions phase. I didn’t see anything else extra or worthwhile posting. What I *did* notice is good old Wayne Logan as part of an Exhibit in the Amended Complaint. I’ll definitely read his stuff and that of the Ph.D who’s also listed.

        • CR

          @AJ, thank you!

          I’ve downloaded them. The original complaint is 27 pages, the amended complaint is 182 pages, and contains specifics on the Does and statements by them. It’s going to take me a while to read it, but I’m very much looking forward to it.

  10. http404

    We have a problem here in California that state authorities and legislators can constantly move the goal posts on you if you take a plea deal. This is the reality that was forged in Doe v. Harris. Common sense would tell you if you are coming to an agreement, both sides agree to the terms and it is assumed you know what you are agreeing to in accepting the requirements of being a registrant. But since they can change those requirements at any time there’s no way to know what you are really agreeing to. So thanks to Doe v. Harris, the court gave the state permission to negotiate in bad faith.

  11. 290 air

    This happened to me in CA. In 1997 I was only 19 years old and was going to fight the charges they had against me. The DA pointed out that I would only have to register for 10 years. (that was the law back then after you got a COR). I even have it in writing, but they were able to switch it to lifetime and not allow a COR for my offense after the laws changed. I think this crap happens all the time. We basically have no rights even though they’ve supposedly been restored.

  12. chris

    HI Timmy & Trish

    Yes, you are correct pursuant to my state’s procedure the state I currently live in is not a SORNA state and I am not convicted under Deferred Adjudication from Texas (correct). This is not considered a conviction in this state I live in. I have not reported this and either has my state reported this to Texas. This was there process and after speaking to an Attorney in my state (quote “As long as you are not requiring registering in the state you reside in you are okay” Now here is the big question. Please chime in on this one After Texas transferred me to this state a year later the state sent me a letter saying you are not required to register. Ok 8 yrs. later Texas placed me back on… Now am I in violation? The attorney I hired did not know everything about the SORNA act, but at least I think he researched enough to know… but like all attorney’s he may have thumbed through it. But the fact is my state did grant me change without hesitation and the AG’s office did not contest and contact the Feds and the state of Texas….. That is the big question Two states are not under SORNA but. I am away from TEXAS…..

    Chris

    • texas

      Called DPS to clear all of this up. Lady confirmed, once you move out of state, you are not required to inform TEXAS of anything. You are have no registration requirements for Texas any longer. HOWEVER, she confirmed, your name will appear on a public registry forever (even when you are deceased) she stated as long as you a lifetime required registrant in Texas.

      • chris

        Hey Texas,

        Thank you for the info.. looks like I am ok…. sucks they are keeping me on there….. But hopefully the lawsuit will prevail.

      • Timmmy

        You have to watch out for them. If you take a peek at the Texas Top Most wanted. they have two lists. One is for fugitives, and the other is for SO. Some of them are on the list solely for failing to register. The fact they are on the list means they have no idea of their location. This begs the question of how to do they know they person has not left the state, or not? There is also a old list of people been on there for so long they fall off the top 10, but still wanted. I think by that point one can assume they are probably not in the state, but yet still remain with warrants for simply leaving the state. .

        • Chris

          Hi Timmmy,

          I left the state 15 years ago and transferred to the new state where I moved to. They removed me from the registry and recently started adding people who left the state back on. The purpose of that was they updated there software wanted to make sure people know who you are. I also just called the DPS and they said they have no control over me. They did say however that from time to time they conduct audits from A-Z . So for example on the public registry they say the state I reside in.. But funny when they get to my old last name and look up your DL number and find out my DL has not been renewed they will not update the registry with whereabouts unknown Why.. .is they transferred your case to that other state and they have no clue in about me. There comment was at that point we cannot do anything. I have changed the name. And applied for a new DL which has no affiliations with old last name….

          That will leave them stumped …. but as far as issuing a warrant they cannot do that because I followed everything when I moved out of state.

      • AJ

        “your name will appear on a public registry forever (even when you are deceased) she stated as long as you a lifetime required registrant in Texas.”
        —–
        Sounds like they’re trying to have it both ways. Once I’m dead, haven’t I completed my “lifetime” registration?

        Maybe my estate would need to sue? Maybe I should form a LLC with a trusted partner or two and sell all rights to my image and likeness to the new company. Then maybe the company could sue once I’m deceased? Just thinking outside the box, folks.

        • texas

          I am still a bit stumped on how this relates to IML. Since I am not a registered citizen in any state ( got removed from my current one 6 years ago) and I am not technically registered in Texas, do I need to notify authorities if I travel abroad? And who?

          I will call DPS on Monday and let you know what they say. I know my current state told me I would not notify them since I have no registration obligations here.

          I dont want to play a guessing game here and have the US Marshalls escort me off the plane in handcuffs

        • CR

          @texas, The main question, I think, is whether someone in your position is “… currently required to register under the sex offender registration program of any jurisdiction”. I think not.

          Texas, for example, no longer requires you to register. I would argue that being listed on Texas’ registry does not mean that you are required to register under the Texas sex offender registry program.

          If you moved back to Texas, you would be required to register, and then IML would apply to you. At least, that is how it seems to me. IANAL.

          The original State Department notice about the new marked passport is here:

          https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/passports/passports-and-international-megans-law.html

          It has a DHS email address you can contact to find out if you are a “covered sex offender”.

          If I were in your position (i.e., no longer registered, with only stale registration information remaining on the Texas list), I’d consider consulting with a lawyer just to get another opinion and some proper legal guidance, and for contingency reasons. I wouldn’t want to be arrested by US Marshals either, but if it happened because of a mix up or misapplication of the law, I’d want to be prepared in advance.

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