Crawford v. Texas

Pleading guilty to the offense of sexual assault in 1984, Appellant Milton Crawford was convicted and later required to register as a sex offender. Twice after that, in 2007 and then again in 2009, he was convicted of the felony offense of failing to comply with sex-offender-registration requirements. In 2013, he was once again indicted for failing to comply with sex-offender- registration requirements, a third degree felony. Moreover, the 2013 indictment alleged the two previous felony sex-offender-registration offenses in enhancement paragraphs, to bring Appellant within the ambit of Section 12.42(d) of the Penal Code and thereby raise his exposure to a term of life, or not more than 99 years or less than 25 years, in the penitentiary. Appellant objected to the application of Section 12.42(d) to enhance his punishment, but nevertheless pled true to the enhancement paragraphs. A jury found them to be true and assessed his punishment at a term of 85 years in the penitentiary. On appeal, Appellant again challenged the legality of his enhanced sentence. He argued that the State could not use prior felony offenses for failure to comply with sex offender-registration requirements to punish him as a habitual felony offender for a subsequent sex-offender-registration offense under Section 12.42(d) of the Penal Code. The Court of Criminal Appeals granted Appellant’s petition for discretionary review in order to review his contention that the court of appeals erred to hold that the State could invoke Section 12.42(d) to punish him as a habitual offender. After review, the Court disagreed with Appellant’s contentions and affirmed the court of appeals. View "Crawford v. Texas" on Justia Law