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New law re sealing records on juvenile sex offenders

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January 12, 2005, 07:50
New law re sealing records on juvenile sex offenders
A 15 year old boy, just recently, was charged with four counts of sexual abuse on 3 small boys. He will be on probation for 18 months - until he turns 18. When he is 18, his parents are going to request that his records be sealed. The District Attorney in our case told us that a bill will be coming up in the Texas State Legislature that might change the law regarding sealed records. From what I understand, they hope to make it impossible to seal records on sex offenders of any age so the public can know where perpetrators like this live and can then more effectively protect children. We want this pedophile to be on the public sex offender data base because he is dangerous. People need to know about him.

I called my state representative about this. He was unaware of any specific upcoming bill. He offered me many websites to research including yours. I am pretty sure that there is a state legislator or two out there that want to address this in the coming session. Do you know any State Representatives working on this? Do you know where I could find out more information?

January 12, 2005, 21:15
Shannon Edmonds
"Janna," this forum is not really the appropriate place for requests such as yours. However, you may call me at 512/474-2436 on Friday and I will try to answer your legislative questions as best I can. (Please don't call Thursday 1/13 -- I'll be at the Capitol most of the day.)

Shannon Edmonds
Staff Attorney
January 13, 2005, 13:52
Kris Moore
As you set out your facts, they would not be able to seal the records when they turn 18. If he is on probation, then he must have been ADJUDICATED, and if he was adjudicated for a felony offense, he cannot seal his juvenile records until,at the minimum,age 21. The law is in Section 58.003(c) in the Family Code and the person must be (1) 21 year of age or older; (2) not transferred to adult court for prosecution; (3) his juvenile records haven't been used in an adult proceeding against him; and (4) not convicted of a felony after becoming 17. In other words, he has to be at least 21 and have a clean record.

In addition to the above requirements, if the offense is a sexual offense for which sexual offender registration is required, he cannot seal his records until 10 years after he "exits the system" (gets off probation). See the law in Section 58.003(n) of the Family Code and Chapter 62 in the Code of Criminal Procedure.