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46 Texas cities put on notice of illegal residency restrictions

By Mary Sue Molnar, Texas Voices E.D.

Every legislative session, we find ourselves on the defensive –trying to kill bills that were filed with the intent to increase and allow more and more residency restrictions to be imposed on people who are required to register. Next session will be no different, and we have already been informed that certain legislators will once again file and/or support these types of bills. 

After careful consideration by our Texas Voices Board members and advisers, we have decided to address this issue, start the discussion, and make it known that we, as an organization, are serious in our opposition to residency restrictions.

Here in Texas, cities with a population of under 5000 are classified as General Law cities.  These cities have no authority under Texas law to impose residency restriction ordinances. 46 General Law cities who have indeed enacted these restrictions have been identified.

Challenging these General Law cities will likely cause a stir at the Capitol and prompt certain legislators and small town officials to work harder next session to insure that residency restriction bills gain more traction. However, it is our opinion that these same people will work harder for these type of bills regardless.

By the way, the Lewisville Lawsuit is still making its way through the Federal Court system and we are hoping for a favorable decision in the end.  Additionally, courts throughout the United States are increasingly finding residency restrictions to be unconstitutional. 

There is hope……….but we must continue the fight.

This press release was issued November 9, 2015:

Caught Red Handed: 46 Texas Cities Breaking the Law!

Texas Voices for Reason and Justice (“TVRJ”) has initiated action to compel, through litigation if necessary, the repeal of local ordinances enacted by certain small Texas cities which purport to regulate where “registered sex offenders” may reside. TVRJ has determined that the challenged ordinances have been enacted in
at least 46 Texas cities having populations of less than 5,000 residents. As determined in a 2007 legal opinion authored by then-Texas attorney General Greg Abbott, Article 11, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution prohibits “general law” cities in Texas (which have a population of less than 5,000 residents) from
enacting local ordinances that regulate where people who are required to register may live. An attorney for Texas Voices, Richard Gladden of Denton, Texas, has notified each of the identified 46 “general law” cities that Texas Voices, on behalf
of its members, will file suit within 40 days to have the local ordinances declared unconstitutional under Texas law unless the ordinances are immediately repealed by the cities involved.

Read the rest of the press release here. T V PRESS RELEASE

This topic contains 19 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Brenda Sontag 2 months ago.

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  • #10858 Reply

    Tim

    Here is an inquiry I have sent to an Attorney who advocates for being deregistered in Texas. He has not replied to the potential stated in my comments. The most significant point is regarding the potential for class action suit based on a very simple but far-reaching requirement in Texas:

    My immediate concern is to buy a home. How much to send a cease and desist to all Fort Bend County, Tx cities and municipalities who are enacting and enforcing City Ordinances of 2000 and 2500 ft which are illegal according to State restriction of 1000 ft? Also, I need to know if they calculate the distance in a straight line over fences, canals, gullies, etc. or as it is actually possible to travel which is down the street.

    Additionally, please refer me to any ACLU attorney or similar who would review the potential for class action suit against the state for the requirement to renew driver licenses every year for life and pay a $20 fee for each required renewal.The state has separated registered sex offenders into a discriminated class by requiring such annual renewal. No other group of licensed driver is required to do this.

  • #10857 Reply

    David Gossett

    My time on the registry has been nothing short of a nightmare that you never wake. My crime was initially aggravated sexual assault of a child which was reduced to sexual assault, sounds and reads horrible, however, they use to call it statutory rape or Romeo and Juliet case. I was 19 and she was 13, the sister of a friend that her mother was ok with the relationship. The father came home from desert storm and said no to the relationship and we respected that and broke it off. She explained how she felt and what our relationship was, and then I was asked to come down to the police department for questioning, not thinking that I was actually doing anything wrong cause it was consensual, I went down and was honest about everything. I was released with the information that they could have an arrest warrant for me and asked if I would turn myself in or would they have to come and get me, I agreed to the former. Sure enough two weeks later I received a call that stated that they had an arrest warrant for me, so I went down and had to wait 3 hours for the warrant to be issued, they told me that I would be arrested then released to wait for court. 90 days later I was still in jail waiting to be indicted, and sure enough, on that 90th day I was in fact indicted and went to court. I was given a court appointed lawyer (don’t ever do that if you can avoid it, it’s all a numbers game to them and they will trade you for another deal, they use sex offenders as tokens for deals with the AG) that told me that if I didn’t take the deal that they would give me 35 years in prison, and that she was in the courtroom ready to testify. All of which was a lie! I took the deal, 10 years’ probation and 180 day boot camp/work release program. What they didn’t tell me was what I would have to subject myself to while on probation. I had go to weekly meetings at a sex offender treatment program, call myself a rapist and tell my story over and over again sitting in a room with truly sick individuals, I would become physically sick at some of the stories I would be forced to listen to them every week, plus had to pay for the classes and probationary fees monthly all without a job, and if I didn’t pay I would be locked back up for non-payment. So I called my grandparents that was holding my inheritance from my father’s passing, they offered to pay for the probation and classes all up front, and they told him no. because if he did that and they had to revoke my probation for any reason that they would have to refund the money. So, I never paid them a dime, had no way to pay, couldn’t get employment. So I played this for almost 5 years on probation, got kicked out of therapy cause I wouldn’t call myself a rapist or pay the fees, in fact I said in group that they were in fact the rapist, for if you break down the word therapist is says “the rapist”. So, after 4 applications to revoke my probation (ATRP’s) for non-payment, I finally asked the judge to just sentence me to 5 Years of prison and leave me alone. As the law set at that time I would’ve been able to do my time and get out and move on with my life after paying my debt to society. I turned down parole twice stating that I didn’t want to be on paper of any sort, I wanted my life back. However, by the time I got out on November 23, 1998, the laws had been passed for the registry and they made it retroactive as far back a 1970. So, the nightmare continued even after 5 years in prison. I had to register with the city or county and the department of public safety for life, renewing my license every year, having my information available for all to see, my address, phone number, place of employment (not that there has been many other than self-employment), eye color, shoe size, email, any and all on line identifiers. With the registry it makes the 7 and 10 year background check for employment impossible to pass because it keeps it in the system like it just happened. In 2001 I met a fell in love with a wonderful woman of which had two sons that I came to love as if they were my own, their own father was a drug addicted idiot that was not in the picture, so they called me dad. We married in 2002 and everything was awesome, until the schools came out with the gator system that checked for people on the registry. At that time I was working for a retired Major and Mason that did security systems for the government and the local school system, everything was great until they installed that system and ran my id at one of the schools. That got me fired, even after this guy had sent me to get certified for the systems that he installed. I have gone to college for information technology and have two years toward a bachelor’s degree that I stopped because I will never be able to work in that field. I have been forced to create my own businesses and hide in the shadows placing my wife as owner of the companies, while I hide and do all the work from the shadows. Even built a satellite installation business and had 17 people installing for me with dish network, then one day they find out about my conviction cause of the registry and cancelled my contract and that affected 17 families and my own. Then I had to resort back to work that I did as a kid to earn extra money, I started mowing grass, built it up to a property preservation company and was doing awesome had people working for me doing property inspections, mowing empty properties. Had everything going again then bam, the registry cost me that contract as well, so I started working by myself mowing and lifting and has come to a point I am now disabled with a bad acl reconstructive surgery and 3 deteriorated disk in my lower lumbar with two other bulging disk in my back, almost to the point of being stuck at home in a wheelchair, because of the registry I cannot get hired at a less physical job that I was actually going to school for, I have to depend on my wife to work while I wait on Social Security Disability. I can’t even be considered for jobs that are for the disabled.
    Over the years, being 19 at the time and 45 now, I have had to lie, manipulate, and cheat to get the basics needed to live. I was never able to volunteer for my own kids’ school for father/son projects, never been able to attend any of their school functions, they had been ridiculed for my past by their friends as to why their father never came to support them. They were never allowed to have friends spend the night for sleepovers, never able to hand out candy on Halloween or even take them trick or treating. It has been a very sad journey for something that was supposed to be a 5 year sentence. The registry is a life sentence with lifelong punishment for not only the offender, but his or her family and friends as well. Especially for single offenders, what ever happen to a second chance? Now I whole hearted believe that if an offender commits another crime they deserve all of these restrictions, and even some of the offenders that their crime was extremely heinous, but not for just dating a friends sister with the permission of the mother.

  • #10856 Reply

    Craig

    Dan they do have a deregistration program in Texas, it is limited as of now but you could check it out.

  • #10855 Reply

    Mike

    There is at least a chance of being removed from the registry in Georgia.

    TITLE 42. PENAL INSTITUTIONS
    CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
    ARTICLE 2. SEXUAL OFFENDER REGISTRATION REVIEW BOARD
    O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19 (2012)
    § 42-1-19. Petition for release from registration requirements

    (a) An individual required to register pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12 may petition a superior court for release from registration requirements and from any residency or employment restrictions of this article if the individual:

    (1) Has completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12; and

    (A) Is confined to a hospice facility, skilled nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or nursing home;

    (B) Is totally and permanently disabled as such term is defined in Code Section 49-4-80; or

    (C) Is otherwise seriously physically incapacitated due to illness or injury;

    (2) Was sentenced for a crime that became punishable as a misdemeanor on or after July 1, 2006, and meets the criteria set forth in subparagraphs (c)(1)(A) through (c)(1)(F) of Code Section 17-10-6.2;

    (3) Is required to register solely because he or she was convicted of kidnapping or false imprisonment involving a minor and such offense did not involve a sexual offense against such minor or an attempt to commit a sexual offense against such minor. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “sexual offense” means any offense listed in division (a)(10)(B)(i) or (a)(10)(B)(iv) through (a)(10)(B)(xix) of Code Section 42-1-12; or

    (4) Has completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12 and meets the criteria set forth in subparagraphs (c)(1)(A) through (c)(1)(F) of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

    (b) (1) A petition for release pursuant to this Code section shall be filed in the superior court of the jurisdiction in which the individual was convicted; provided, however, that if the individual was not convicted in this state, such petition shall be filed in the superior court of the county where the individual resides.

    (2) Such petition shall be served on the district attorney of the jurisdiction where the petition is filed, the sheriff of the county where the petition is filed, and the sheriff of the county where the individual resides. Service on the district attorney and sheriff may be had by mailing a copy of the petition with a proper certificate of service.

    (3) If a petition for release is denied, another petition for release shall not be filed within a period of two years from the date of the final order on a previous petition.

    (c) (1) An individual who meets the requirements of paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be considered for release from registration requirements and from residency or employment restrictions.

    (2) An individual who meets the requirements of paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section may be considered for release from registration requirements and from residency or employment restrictions only if:

    (A) Ten years have elapsed since the individual completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12; or

    (B) The individual has been classified by the board as a Level I risk assessment classification, provided that if the board has not done a risk assessment classification for such individual, the court shall order such classification to be completed prior to considering the petition for release.

    (d) In considering a petition pursuant to this Code section, the court may consider:

    (1) Any evidence introduced by the petitioner;

    (2) Any evidence introduced by the district attorney or sheriff; and

    (3) Any other relevant evidence.

    (e) The court shall hold a hearing on the petition if requested by the petitioner.

    (f) The court may issue an order releasing the individual from registration requirements or residency or employment restrictions, in whole or part, if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the individual does not pose a substantial risk of perpetrating any future dangerous sexual offense. The court may release an individual from such requirements or restrictions for a specific period of time. The court shall send a copy of any order releasing an individual from any requirements or restrictions to the sheriff and the district attorney of the jurisdiction where the petition is filed, to the sheriff of the county where the individual resides, to the Department of Corrections, and to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation

  • #10854 Reply

    Mike

    A Federal Appeals Court Judge ruled 3 – 5 years ago that the State of Georgia housing restrictions did not apply to persons owning their home prior to the restrictions being passed. The same applies to renters with a lease put in place before the restrictions were passed.

  • #10853 Reply

    Dan West

    After serving a 6 year probation term and completing 10 additional years of registration the state of Texas now says even though I signed a deal with them I must register for life and I have no conviction. What now besides vote can be done to possibly help fix this. Jobs are hard to find while on registration

  • #10852 Reply

    Sa

    Illinois is pretty strict in there laws also they do try to pass more and more restrictions .Like the one where a registered offender can’t go to a fast food restaurant with a play area for kids . Yes let’s spread more fear and panic ,lets always hide behind we must keep our kids safe . My question is how were parents keeping there kids safe before they found out a Sex offender is moving in or lives by them ? Yet noone can answer that question , how about educating kids about the dangers of sexting and useing social media ? It doesn’t take much to get put on the registry does it ? Restricting where someone lives doesn’t stop anything or help it , what about all the other criminals are they forgotten about ? I propose a registry for all crime not just sex offenders viewable by the public or is that asking to much from law makers ? Cause we have to keep the kids safe right . So parents can see all the criminals liveing near there kids not just sex offenders . Now the scary thing is that won’t be done ever cause for every one sex offender on that list there will be at least 15 to 20 other criminals listed ,then public will wake up and see there are more then just one criminal living by them . I just have a question how am I a child molester if I never touched a child ? My supposed victem was a cop on a keyboard playing minor . Just some questions

  • #10851 Reply

    Randell Owens

    I have a pending 13 th Amendment challege against the Illinois SORA filed in the Madison County Court case of Owens v. Hertz, et al., 13-CH-958. Please review and send any type of help you can. Need leg financed and Attorneys ASAP. Thank u fo all you are doing.

  • #10850 Reply

    Steve

    When Texas enacted the registry laws they made them retroactive to start many years before the date the law was actually passed. Unfortunately, I was told to register even though my offense took place years before they were passed. This continues to cause problems for me whenever I travel. I still wonder how any state can pass a law and make it retroactive to include individuals that committed an offence and were sentenced many years before.

  • #10849 Reply

    clifton marlow

    I just posted, but I want to add, there need to be a Federal judge rule on these single states laws so we have a case law to use against all states, to relive the living conditions of the s o’s. After all, they still have family to take care of,still need to work, still need peace of mind without constant fear of stupid state laws, and are still U S citizens. Cliff Marlow, disabled veteran.

  • #10848 Reply

    clifton marlow

    I have been following the RSOL accomplishments for years, and now looks as though some very positive things are beginning to happen. I have (2) family members in the SO system here in Alabama, and they have been so badly abused constantly by alabama sex offender laws, it has been a nightmare for them. They are in constant fear of having no place to live, and because of law inforcement, working to
    survive is pure hell. Thank you RSOL leaders for all you do. cliff Marlow, disabled veternal .

  • #10847 Reply

    Brian Stickler

    I appreciate all the work that many free people are doing on behalf of registered SOs. But it will be a long road with only small victories along the way, and I am too old to reap those benefits. I fear the victories will be in stopping 1 or 2 out of every 10 new laws aimed at creating a lifelong prison for us. Many younger men and women may yet benefit by the time they reach my age, if they can endure their lives for that long.

  • #10846 Reply

    Paul

    Bush should get a lot of the credit. So should all of congress, Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy.

  • #10845 Reply

    patricia w

    Well,let’s give credit where credit’s (sic) due…. George Bush should get the bulk of it….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Walsh_Child_Protection_and_Safety_Act

  • #10844 Reply

    Alan Hyde

    I live in Texas…

    CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, TITLE 1. CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, CHAPTER 62. SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION PROGRAM….

    Art. 62.002. APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. (a) This chapter applies only to a reportable conviction or adjudication occurring on or after September 1, 1970.
    (b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the duties imposed on a person required to register under this chapter on the basis of a reportable conviction or adjudication, and the corresponding duties and powers of other entities in relation to the person required to register on the basis of that conviction or adjudication, are not affected by:
    (1) an appeal of the conviction or adjudication; or
    (2) a pardon of the conviction or adjudication.
    (c) If a conviction or adjudication that is the basis of a duty to register under this chapter is set aside on appeal by a court or if the person required to register under this chapter on the basis of a conviction or adjudication receives a pardon on the basis of subsequent proof of innocence, the duties imposed on the person by this chapter and the corresponding duties and powers of other entities in relation to the person are terminated.
    Reenacted and amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1008 (H.B. 867), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2005.

    O K

    APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. Means Applicability is the usefulness of this chapter for the code and task. Hammers have great applicability for driving in nails. When something is applicable, it is suited to something or useful for a task. The applicability of a thing refers to how useful it is in a given situation.

    please note:

    If a conviction or adjudication that is the basis of a duty to register under this chapter is set aside on appeal by a court ….the duties imposed on the person by this chapter and the corresponding duties and powers of other entities in relation to the person are terminated.

    Correct?

    Well I can tell you that your wrong… for even if you had a a case “Set Aside” [ To cancel, annul, or revoke a judgment or order…. to annul or negate a court order or judgment by another court order. Example: a court dismisses a complaint believing the case had been settled. Upon being informed by a lawyer’s motion that the lawsuit was not settled, the judge will issue an order to “set aside” the original dismissal.
    (Annul), verb abandon, abjure, abnegate, abrogate, accumulate, amass, cast off, discard, dispense with, dispose of, disuse, drop, omit, reject, relegate, relinquish, renounce, repudiate, shunt, spurn

    The state will still demand you to be listed for life when the Judge had annul or negate a court order or judgment. Chapter 62 reads ” the duties imposed on the person by this chapter and the corresponding duties and powers of other entities in relation to the person are terminated.” …..

    I will not be surprised that they are digging up the dead because they had die..
    were dieing is now a felony and they can collect a bond of 10,000$ for 2 years until they can declare that their is no Clear and present danger of the dead. .

    well are the dead reporting to the police to have their annul done?

    I must remember that the sky is falling…We must live in fear and our powerful government is here to save the day. RIGHT?

  • #10843 Reply

    Tom

    Here’s the deal folks, all so’s have been enslaved through state sanctioned slavery, and denied all 1st amendment rights of freedom if speech, expression, of the press, of association, of religion, denied the 5th amendment right not to be compelled to be a witness against themselves or self incriminate themselves in a criminal case. The so called judges of this nation are in cahoots to insure this state sanctioned slavery even when clearly established law indicates the sora’s are unlawful. Moreover any lawful contract must be beneficial to both parties whereas in this case it only benefits the public. The 13th amendment says no slavery or indentured servitude shall exist except as a punishment, but in the case of sora’s they claim it is not a punishment. This means it is illegal as a matter of law since the u.s. government cannot regulate free persons except through the use of a privilege, and believe me the sora’s are not a privilege. Seriously folks I don’t know what can be done when a nation violates all if its laws, denies a person any presumption of innocence by establishing a person ad always dangerous, always violent, and always prone to reoffend and deny you the right to use it as a defense and all of the warrantless and suyspicionless searches and seizures without any due process of law. These acts fall under the laws of the inquisition. All the while no one except a few brave souls will raise your rights of the 2st amendment to defend you. This country has lost its mind inciting fear where none exists and laughs about their ability to abuse the law ven when they have all of your information at their fingertips. What a farce of law.

  • #10842 Reply

    Paul

    It seems like Texas, Florida and California are consistently cited as the worst states for SO laws. But because the laws are always changing, it’s always a difficult task to say which states are better than others. My understanding is California puts everyone on for life (correct this if I’m not accurate). In Florida, every public place is pretty much off limits to sex offenders. The residency restrictions there are insane and so are the presence restrictions. I always say a prayer at night and thank Bill Clinton for signing Megan’s Law, as that’s what effectively got the ball rolling. Some states that are not Adam Walsh compliant are worse than some states that are, as far as duration of time one has to serve for Tier 1 and 2. Though AWA added a lot of awful provisions like putting juveniles on the registry, expanding civil commitment (effectively making it a non-judicial matter), GPS for certain Tiers, etc.

    But the bottom line is these residency restrictions put us back on Jim Crow terms as a country.

  • #10841 Reply

    Frank J. Calif

    Congratulations! As you are aware in California, CA RSOL has successfully removed ALL residency restrictions within one year. This is a powerful display of being pro-active in our fight to stop these unconstitutional ordinances. Our elected leaders saw that we have a collective voice and we will not allow registrants to be continuously punished for their past. This has got to stop and TEXAS, you are going to make that happen.

  • #10840 Reply

    Brenda Sontag

    Way to go. I want to help. Please email me!!!! This is awesome!!!! Texas is to harsh on a lot of things but SO laws are horrendous! Who locks up children as SOs? Texas!!!

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