What Happens Next

 Posted on October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

So now that the dirty-talk portion of Texas's online-solicitation-of-a-minor statute, Section 33.021(b) of the Texas Penal Code, has been held unconstitutional, what happens to those people who have been convicted or put on deferred-adjudication probation for violating the statute in the last eight years?

Alan Curry, Chief of the Harris County District Attorney's Office's Appellate Division, "said pending cases would likely be dismissed and the office will have to review what to do about anyone convicted under the voided law." (Chron.)

I don't know what the DA's Office will wind up doing, but it doesn't seem like a difficult call: the right thing to do (once the decision is final) is to give everyone convicted or placed on deferred-adjudication probation for violating Section 33.021(b) the option of reopening their cases.

Why give them the option, instead of just reopening the cases? Because some of them may have pled more serious charges (with longer maximum sentences or lifetime sex-offender registration requirements) down to 33.021(b) violations, and they should have the benefit of their bargain if they still want it.

But most would likely not choose to remain in prison or on probation, and register as sex offenders for ten years after they have done their time, for something that is not a crime.

Is there some reason they should have to?

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