6.06.2011

The Law. The News. Tired Head.


As soon as I do a post like this, I normally have to revise it when someone points out something I missed. And since I've already screwed up "shoots and killed" and "stabbed" in today's Random Thoughts, I'm already on dangerous ground. But here goes.

The Star-Telegram ran an article about a new law which is expected to be signed by Gov. Perry that  will revamp Texas sexual registration laws. Specifically, it will exempt a teenager from registering  in consensual sex cases when the "victim" is 15 years of age or older and the defendant is within four years of age of the victim. (Bill text.) The story said, "The bill by Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, and Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, is designed to spare teenagers and young adults who engaged in consensual sex from being branded as sex offenders. The measure was dubbed the 'Romeo and Juliet' bill when it was introduced in the 2009 Legislature."

The first crazy thing is that the law actually amended the law which already allowed teenagers to be exempt from registration if the defendant was under 19 and the victim was at least 13. (See text again. Underlined means new text while stricken language indicates deletion.) So this amendment offers less protection, right? Am I missing something?

Now you want to really have a headache? The Romeo and Juliet law only refers to whether someone has to register if they have been convicted or placed on probation for a sexually related crime. So get this: It currently is not a crime at all if the consensual sex was between a victim of 14 years of age or older and the defendant is within three years of age of the victim. (See Penal Code 22.11(b) and 22.011(e).)  This has not changed. So the number of people who will be impacted by the new Romeo and Juliet registration law are few and far between. Think about it: You'd have to have a victim who is 15 or 16 (the law doesn't apply for someone under 15 and 17 is the age of consent in Texas), and the defendant would have to be between three and four years older than the victim. (If the defendant were within three years it wouldn't be a crime to start with).

Now look at the first paragraph of this Channel 11 story which completely confuses the difference between not being required to register and not being a crime at all:



10 comments:

Horn Dog said...

Possible explosion on Devon location next to Lowes???? Get on it Barry Boy

Double fake Ann Curry said...

I'm glad that the Legislature is dealing with important like this and letting school finance completely twist in the wind.

Anonymous said...

the whole thing needs to be overhauled. kids are just having sex at earlier ages these days. leave 'em alone.

Anonymous said...

9:57 really? "kids are just having sex at earlier ages these days"

saying "these days" is an incorrect statement. How about for centuries?

People have to be stupid not to know this. People also have to be dumber than a box of rocks not to know that it doesn't matter if something is legal or not humans will do as they so desire.


I hope they change the law.

Anonymous said...

The wording on the news passage is incorrect. Isn't it already "legal" for someone at least 15 to have relations with on older person? They aren't the ones breaking the law, right? Oh well, journalism at its finest.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a good idea to change the age to 15 for stat. rape, since most young girls are having consenual sex by 14, or at least by 15. The boys should not have to take all the blame when they have sex with a girl 15 - 18 yrs. of age. There is many times a baby involved anyway, they both have a larger problem then. That's another story.

Anonymous said...

1:12 No, it is not legal for a teenager under 18 to have sex, unless they have obtained permission from a parent to marry.

Anonymous said...

Under the old law, the registration exception only took place for "offenders" under 19; that is, 18 or younger. And they would only have to register anyway if the person they had sex with was more than 3 years younger than that (otherwise, the affirmative defense applies). So the old law was helpful for 18-year-olds having sex with 14 or 15-year-olds. This was a pretty narrow exception.

The new law applies to 18, 19, 20, or 21-year-olds who get caught having sex with people at least three years but not more than four years older than themselves. This broadens the category a bit because now (although it will still be illegal) a 19-year-old won't have to register for having sex with a 15-year-old, a 20-year-old won't have to register for having sex with a 16-year-old, etc. See?

Now then, this could be interesting, because it could inject the issue of consent into sex assault cases, when normally they say that no child under 18 is legally capable of consenting to sex. Now, if the ages are less than 4 years apart, you might be able to get consent admitted (or at least raise the issue) so that, even if convicted, you wouldn't have to register. Interesting implications....

Anonymous said...

Anybody know the statute of limitations on this "crime"? It seems I may have violated it 1 or 2 hundred times when I was younger.

Double Fake Romeo Montague

Anonymous said...

How many do you think will decide they did'nt consent after they have been screwed.Better get it in writing boys.