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TX: Texas Supreme Court to hear sex offender law challenge

The Texas Supreme Court will consider a challenge to the state’s retroactive sex offender laws that some say unfairly stack new punishments on those convicted in plea deals. Full Article


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

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  1. Chris f

    Texas has always been a lost cause. Our elected judges dont care about the US or Texas constitutioms if it gets in the way of re election or offends their church friends.

    Texas is one of the few states where the constitution forbids BOTH punitive and civil retro laws but they still say its ok for sex offenders.

    Texas has a majority of scotus cases because its state courts rule against the constitution all the time. They also won’t change due to a scotus ruling. Brown v board of education was ignored for 10 years until congress made a law. Horrible state I live in but at least it isn’t Florida.

    • Hostage in Texas

      Yes. Texas. Land of freedom and independence. Maybe in the early 1800’s. Not now. Dont want to step on any toes, but……….this state is run by the Bible thumping right. No forgiveness. Just punishment.

    • Timmmy

      The title has been updated. “Texas Supreme Court asked to hear sex offender law challenge.” I once had an attorney which said always take cases to the Federal court because those elected judges will never decide in your favor if it means making an unpopular decision which will jeopardize their elected position. This means that court will not be hearing this case.

  2. cool CA RC

    Didn’t they try this in California and RC lost?

    I think the court ruled “State of California” can do whatever they want.

    I think I read something like “If this was a murder not a sex case we would have won”

  3. Jack

    Well I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes down but, I think we all know how this one’s going to turn out.

  4. Steveo

    So I live in Texas. I took a plea deal for 10 years differed adjudication in January of 1994. I’m guessing that this will affect me. I hope it goes well.

  5. kari

    Hey Steve,

    Yes, you are correct if this is a win you will no longer have to register.
    Also there is two other federal lawsuits in the works.

    • CR


      I know about 3:18-cv-629 John Does #1-7 vs Abbott. It has been mentioned here recently. It was John Does #1-153 in the original complaint, I believe. That case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.

      What is the other Federal court case you referred to?

      • kari

        DONNIE LEE MILLER; and,
        V. CAUSE NO. 1:18-cv-00504
        VINCENT CASTILLEJA, in his Official
        Capacity as Manager of the Texas
        Department of Public Safety-Sex Offender
        Registration Bureau; and,
        STEVEN McCRAW, in his Official
        Capacity as Director of the Texas
        Department of Public Safety; and,

      • kari

        Hey CR,

        Here is a snap shot of the lawsuit.
        Court Cases to Watch:

        Hearn v. Castilleja

        (Filed by Attorney Richard Gladden)

        U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Hearn v. Castilleja, No. 1:18-cv-00504-LY (filed June 18, 2018). Unlike prior constitutional challenges which have alleged violations of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution (and which have all proved unsuccessful in court), this new lawsuit takes a different legal approach. It contends Texas’ breach of “negotiated plea bargains” entered into prior to 1997, insofar as the plea bargains did not require registration at the time (or limited a person’s duty to register to the length of their community supervision), violates the Substantive Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257 (1971).

        • CR

          kari, thank you for that. That’s another case that wasn’t on my radar. I appreciate the heads up.


    Here’s a new SO case (expos facto claim / in person requirements) to keep an eyes on. It’s currently pending cert before US Supreme Court. Hope the Court grant cert on that one

    • AJ

      Thanks for posting about this case. I recall reading the Decision a while back and hoping it would be petitioned to SCOTUS, but then forgot all about it. Here’s a link to the Petition, which is worth reading:

      IMO, this case will be a canary in the coal mine for us. It’s a very specific, powerful question to get answered. In-person was one of three prongs in Snyder that made it punitive (school-zone exclusions and offense-based tiers being the other two). I feel if SCOTUS denies cert, it will strengthen the States’ cases around the country and will put a big dent in the leverage of Snyder and Muniz. I fear their denying cert, and dread the outcome of a denial. I won’t be surprised if they kick the can with a CVSG since AWA also requires in-person reporting. If so, it’ll be interesting to see how the USSG addresses it, given his avoidance and dancing in the Snyder amicus (

      • TXSO4life

        I agree with your point AJ about the better chance of it being deny of cert. However, given what kavanaugh has been through with his confirmation hearing, I am of optimist that he will be one of votes (crossing fingers) help to grant cert. How he will rule on the matter is another question which i am less optimist. On a side note, here’s another case pending cert grant before scotus …
        for some reasons, this case has been on multiple reschedule conference by scotus since 2017.

        • AJ

          I wasn’t so much saying I’m of the opinion they will deny cert., I was instead saying I fear the outcome IF they deny cert. I’m hopeful they will take it but really have no opinion.

          That other case (Eaton) being carried over from the previous Term isn’t odd or extraordinary. SCOTUS would have had to have accepted it pretty much right away for it to have been decided by the end of June. I suspect they kept kicking it along in conference because they knew (at least among the Justices) that Kennedy was retiring. Since it wouldn’t be heard until this Term anyway, saving it for the new Justice to vote on would fall in line with how SCOTUS tends to operate. With the U.S. having now responded, it will probably now get voted up or down fair soon.

          I find it interesting and heartening that RC cases are finally percolating all the way back up to SCOTUS. One of them will be our Goldilocks, I’m sure of it.

  7. mike r

    This is cruel and unusual punishment, not just punishment and I wish he would of included that already.
    “During the week of December 24, 2014, for
    example, the sheriff’s “Transient Tracking” sheet
    shows that Mr. Boyd slept in the following locations:
    “Hwy 9” on Monday; “Concrete apt. #3 behind
    bakery”2 on Tuesday; “McLaughlin M.V.” on
    Wednesday; “Lafayette mom’s” on Thursday; “Bro
    Casey Hwy 9” on Friday; and “Concrete fishing” on
    Saturday and Sunday. App. 5 n.1.”

    45 Frigging months, absolutely cruel and unusual to subject a anyone, let alone a homeless individual, to these impossible to comply with, arduous and onerous reporting requirements. Nothing in our recent or even in the history of this country has this type of in-person reporting requirements where you face prison for not providing info to LE on a fixed schedule while not on supervised release. Absolutely unusual and it raises to the bar of cruel as well…People are out of their frigging minds I tell ya…
    “After he failed to check in between January
    27, 2015 and February 10, 2015, the State charged
    Petitioner with failure to register as a sex offender.
    App. 5. Mr. Boyd was convicted as charged and
    sentenced to 45 months in prison. Id.”

  8. mike r

    @TSSO4LIFE. Yeah, that is a serious case for me. I did not know that was out there. Man I thought they had to at least go thru the 9th before applying for the writ. Learn something new every day. This is incredibly relevant AJ. So I cannot believe the Washington SC denied, I thought they shot down the old version of the registry which in turn the 9th shot it down and then SCOTUS overruled. It seems they would really be down on this. This is ruthless in-person reporting. I am not liking that it does not go into the entire registry with all the effects or the recidivism challenge along with the fact SCOTUS was duped in McKune. Be interested to read everything on this case.@>>AJ ????????
    Really important to my case. Here is the significance: if they accept it and uphold the law then I may still stand a chance with everything else in my complaint, but it would make it extremely harder that is for sure. If they take it and shoot down the law and name it punishment my case is a done deal. If they reject, IDK, I know it makes it harder for me but it would not necessarily be the end of it with all the other elements that I am bringing and the record that I am creating. I still believe the recidivism gov reports as judicial notice and laying out how the court was duped is going to carry a heavy weight regardless of anything else. This is serious any way it goes……

    • AJ

      @mike r:
      “I thought they had to at least go thru the 9th before applying for the writ.”
      This is a lawsuit in WA State Courts, not Federal Courts. Therefore, the 9th isn’t even involved.
      As to your question about how long SCOTUS takes to decide to accept or reject, I can only say it takes them as long as it takes them. Heck, they could even kick it to the next Term if need be or so inclined (doubtful).

  9. mike r

    AJ once again, how long does it usually take to decide to accept or reject the writ? I see the state still has to respond, and petitioner gets to respond back I believe, but this is going to happen pretty fast I would think. Wow, I wonder if this is already having some kind of effect on my cases time line, like if they are waiting to see what happens here.

  10. mike r

    Wait a minute, why is this on the SCOTUS blog?
    Then it states “In the Supreme Court of the United States”
    Are we talking about the same case? Am I missing something?

    • AJ

      @mike r:
      Boyd sued in WA State Court challenging violation of his Federal Constitutional rights. He appealed his case through the WA State Court system, reaching a dead-end in the State Court system when WA SC denied hearing. He is now appealing to the Court of Last Resort for all Federal Claims: SCOTUS. Had Boyd challenged WA under its State Constitution, his appeal process would have ended when WA SC denied.

  11. David

    Here’s more media covetage:

    I found this last paragraph especially annoying because the entire point of the lawsuit is that these individuals might NOT have ANY duty to register.
    Therefore, they are not being “relieved” of any Duty to register because no Duty existed to begin with!! TPSD attorneys make it sound as if the plaintiff are being given something or receiving some special benefit they’re not entitled to. That is not the case!:
    “Texas Department of Public Safety attorneys warn the lawsuit could relieve many “other sex offenders of their duty to register.””

    • Will Allen

      Completely agree.

      I do continue to find it funny on an ongoing basis that most people who support the Registries and their criminal regimes really have no clue just what a bunch of stupid douche bags that they are. What they say and do is offensive. Their existence is offensive. I feel sorry for people who know them.

      One great thing that the Registries actually do is allow people to see who zealously supports them and thus is a douche bag that should be avoided like a plague.

  12. Anthony

    The very fact that every plea bargain entered before the 2003 U S Supreme Court ruling allowing retroactive sex offender registration on parole or completed sentences was breached because the premise was that is was to be civil and protect society in which is not the case at all. The statutes on the books in all states and federal jurisdiction is punitive and no evidence clear and convincingly show that the registry protects children at all. The Texas Supreme Court will hear the facts laid out to prove that the retroactive application did breach all prior plea bargains not just probationers and give all relief to those be off the registry or overturn all the old sex offender convictions that predates any statutes.

  13. mike r

    That is a big “if” the Washington SC denied his Washington constitutional claims. So your telling me he did not include the Washington state constitutional violations as well? WTFFFF? Why would you just challenge the federal violations in state court. That is idiotic to me. Why do all that state court instead of just taking the federal claims straight to the federal courts. I do not presume the state court considers state constitutional violations unless specifically included in the complaint, right? Complete waste of time when you know it is just going to go straight to federal court. Even if the state court granted relief he would still have to go thru federal court because of the federal violations I believe. If that happens then that state SC court decision would be useless, right? It is only SCOTUS who can decide federal violations and any state court (including state SC) has to follow SCOTUS in that case, right? IDK it just seems strange to me to file federal constitutional violations in state court. State constitution in state court, federal constitution in federal court. That is what I always thought. I understand either court can consider either constitution, but you have to specifically ask them which ones and under what violations. Why would you not go state constitution in state court because if they decide to shoot the law down on state constitutional grounds then it does not matter what SCOTUS states, its stands in that state. You pretty much get two shots at state constitution, one in state courts and then in federal courts. Going to make it a little harder to go back and refile on state issues in state court again, buy whatever… Believe me if I lose in the federal courts on the federal constitutional grounds I can go ahead and refile in state courts on state grounds. I guess he can as well, but should of just file on state grounds as well to begin with. Just like if I would have known that a case goes directly to SCOTUS after state then I would definitely have filed in state court to begin with but I would have included both state and federal violations. I wish I had anyways. Just do them both at once and cut through the BS. Am I right on this?

  14. mike r

    This Texas case is pretty interesting though… Is this Texas case just on the narrow contract clause issue or is it claiming the retroactive punishment issue as well? I have not read the case but from the following statement it appears it may just be on a contract clause, or whatever clause keeps them from changing a plea deal. They state specifically in the article that
    “Every qualifying sex offender was ordered onto the registry in 2005 after Texas expanded its sex offense laws. >>But that included some defendants who were promised in deals with prosecutors that they wouldn’t have to be on the list after a certain amount of time.”<<
    It seems as though they will prevail on the plea agreements deal. That is a contract with the state and every provision is just that, a provision that was agreed to. Blatant violation of a contractual agreement. This is what I was saying about us being forced into a contract with the state against our will, under color of law, and under threat of extreme punishment, coercion, and duress. I think this is an issue worth exploring and with merit. I already know I will file if I lose on every thing else.

    • CR

      @mike r: — “It seems as though they will prevail on the plea agreements deal. That is a contract with the state and every provision is just that, a provision that was agreed to. Blatant violation of a contractual agreement.”

      We hope they prevail, but I think it is by no means certain. Apparently a similar claim did not prevail in California. Did you not read where Janice posted earlier today that the California Supreme Court “… ruled that a plea bargain is a contract that can be unilaterally changed by the government, but not the registrant.”

      I don’t know the basis for the CA Supreme Court’s ruling, or if similar reasoning would apply in Texas, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Texas Supreme Court concluded the same.

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