From TexasVoices: As many of you are aware our constitutional claim rested on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Santobello v. New York. In Santobello the Supreme Court ruled a state violates substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment when it breaches a plea bargain agreement with a criminal defendant. In our case the State of Texas did just that: it changed state law to require Jack, Donnie and Jimmy to register for life, long after they accepted a plea bargain agreement in their criminal cases. The negotiated terms of their plea agreements, at the time of they were induced to waive their constitutional rights to a fair trial, either provided they would not be required to register at all, or that they would only be required to register until they completed their probation.
Today the U.S. District Court in our case ruled against us on two, and only two, issues. First, the Court correctly ruled contract principles generally apply to our constitutional breach of plea claim. However, to our surprise, the Court further ruled that a valid breach of contract claim, as well as our constitutional claim based on Santobello, requires an aggrieved person to prove the consequences of the breach resulted in a criminal “punishment” being imposed against him. Most of us are familiar that rule applies to Ex Post Facto claims. However, I am unaware of any case that recognizes such a principle in contract law, or any case that has interpreted Santobello in this way in the plea bargain context. Full Analysis and Decision