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Dallas Sex Offender Ordinance

Dallas Sex Offender Ordinance

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Published by: DallasObserver on Nov 24, 2010
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KEY FOCUS AREA

:

AGENDA ITEM # 52 Public Safety Improvements and Crime Reduction

AGENDA DATE:

December 8,2010

COUNCIL DISTRICT(S):

All

DEPARTMENT:

Mayor and City Council

CMO:

N/A

MAPSCO:

N/A

SUBJECT

An ordinance amending Chapter 31 of the Dallas City Code to: (1) define terms; (2) prohibit multiple registered sex offenders from residing in the same dwelling unit, with certain defenses; (3) update references to state law in current city restrictions on specified sex offenders; (4) clarify crimes that cause a person to be designated as a specified sex offender; (5) provide a grandfather clause; and (6) provide a penalty not to exceed $500 - Financing: No cost consideration to the City

BACKGROUND

The proposed ordinance would add Section 31-17.1 to CHAPTER 31, "OFFENSES - MISCELLANEOUS," of the Dallas City Code to regulate the residency of registered sex offenders. Under the proposed ordinance, a registered sex offender would be prohibited from either temporarily or permanently residing in the same dwelling unit with other registered sex offenders, regardless of whether the dwelling unit is located on a single-family, duplex, townhome, or multi-family property. A registered sex offender would include any person required to register as a sex offender under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. A citation for a violation could be issued to either the sex offender or the owner, operator, or person in control of the dwelling unit that allowed multiple registered sex offenders to reside in the dwelling unit. An offense would be punishable by a fine of up to $500. It would be a defense to prosecution if: (1) the multiple sex offenders were related by blood, marriage, adoption, or foster care; (2) the victim was below the age of 17, was a willing participant in the sexual activity, and was not more than four years younger than the registered sex offender (a/k/a "Romeo & Juliet" defense); or (3) the dwelling unit was a lawfully operating halfway house, overnight general purpose shelter, homeless assistance center, or institute for special education operating a state approved program for criminal offenders. Multiple registered sex offenders residing in the same dwelling unit on the passage date of the proposed ordinance would have one year to comply with the ordinance.

BACKGROUND (continued)

The proposed ordinance would also amend Section 31-17 of the Dallas City Code to update the city's current regulations on specified sex offenders to be consistent with state law.

PRIOR ACTION/REVIEW (Council, Boards, Commissions)

Council was briefed in Closed Session on November 17, 2010.

FISCAL INFORMATION

No cost consideration to the City.

Agenda Date 12/08/2010 - page 2

11118/2010

ORDINANCE NO. _

An ordinance amending Section 31-17 of and adding Section 31-17.1 to CHAPTER 31, "OFFENSES - MISCELLANEOUS," of the Dallas City Code, as amended; defining terms; prohibiting multiple registered sex offenders from residing in the same dwelling unit, with certain defenses; updating references to state law in current city restrictions on specified sex offenders; clarifying crimes that cause a person to be designated as a specified sex offender; providing a grandfather clause; providing a penalty not to exceed $500; providing a saving clause; providing a severability clause; and providing an effective date.

WHEREAS, Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure requires persons with convictions or adjudications of certain sexually-related crimes to register as sex offenders; and WHEREAS, the city council finds that, when convicted sex offenders reenter society, they are more likely than any other type of offender to be rearrested for new sexually-related offenses; and

WHEREAS, the likelihood of a convicted sex offender committing a new sexuallyrelated offense increases if he or she resides with another convicted sex offender in an unsupervised setting; and

WHEREAS, this high rate of recidivism not only poses a real danger to the residents and visitors of the neighborhoods in which these registered sex offenders live, but also makes people afraid to live in or visit those neighborhoods, thereby lowering property values; and

WHEREAS, the city council has determined that the negative effect on neighborhood property values and the danger to neighborhood residents and visitors significantly increases when multiple registered sex offenders reside in the same dwelling unit; and

WHEREAS, the city council has determined that restricting the number of registered sex

offenders that may reside in one dwelling unit, with certain defenses, is in the interest of the

public health, safety, and welfare; Now, Therefore,

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF DALLAS:

SECTION 1. That Section 31-17, "Specified Sex Offenders Near Schools and Child-

care Facilities," of CHAPTER 31, "OFFENSES - MISCELLANEOUS," of the Dallas City

Code, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 31-17. SPECIFIED SEX OFFENDERS NEAR SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE FACILITIES.

(a) In this section:

(1) CHILD-CARE FACILITY has the meaning given that term in Section

51A-4.204(3)(A) of the Dallas Development Code, as amended.

(2) CONTINUAL PATTERN OF UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY means that, on

at least two occasions within the preceding 12-month period, the specified sex offender came onto the premises of any school or child-care facility or onto a street, sidewalk, or other public way adjacent to the premises of any school or child-care facility and was asked to leave by a person in authority.

(3) PERSON IN AUTHORITY means the chief administrative officer of the

school or child-care facility, the chief administrative officer's authorized agent, or a peace officer.

(4) SCHOOL means any public or private school that has a curriculum for

kindergarten, elementary, or secondary education and that exists apart from a child's home.

(5) SPECIFIED SEX OFFENDER means any person required to register as a

sexjeal] offender under Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure [Section 6252 13c.1 of Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes], as amended, for a reportable conviction or adjudication of any of the following violations:

(A) Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children, as described

in Section 2l.02 of the Texas Penal Code, as amended .

.an Indecency [indecency] with a child, as described in Section 2l.11

of the Texas Penal Code, as amended, [t]

2

(g [fB:)] Sexual [~] assault of a child, as described in Section

22.011 of the Texas Penal Code, as amended, [~]

(ill [tG)] Aggravated [aggravated] sexual assault of a child, as

described in Section 22.021 of the Texas Penal Code, as amended, [~]

(E) Online solicitation of a minor. as described in Section 33.021 of

the Texas Penal Code. as amended.

{f} [fQj] Sexual [~] performance by a child, as described in

Section 43.25 of the Texas Penal Code, as amended, [;-er]

£ill [f£1] Possession [possession] or promotion of child pornography,

as described in Section 43.26 of the Texas Penal Code, as amended.

(H) Any other violation listed in Article 62.001(5) of the Texas Code

of Criminal Procedure. as amended. involving a victim younger than 17 years of age.

(1) A violation of the laws of another state. federal law. laws of a

foreign country. or the Uniform Code of Military Justice if the violation contained elements substantially similar to the elements of the violations described in Subparagraphs (A) through (H) of this paragraph.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person [he] is a specified sex offender and:

(1) remains on any part of the premises of a school or child-care facility or on

any street, sidewalk, or other public way adjacent to any part of the premises of a school or childcare facility after being asked to leave by a person in authority;

(2) reenters onto any part of the premises of a school or child-care facility or

onto any street, sidewalk, or other public way adjacent to any part of the premises of a school or child-care facility within seven days of being asked to leave by a person in authority; or

(3) has established a continual pattern of unauthorized entry onto the premises

of any school or child-care facility or onto a street, sidewalk, or other public way adjacent to the premises of any school or child-care facility.

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b) that the person:

(1) was the parent or guardian of a child attending the school or child-care

facility, unless a court of competent jurisdiction has issued an order restricting the person's access to or presence near the child;

(2) was at the time of the offense enrolled in and attending the school as a

student;

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(3) had prior written permission from the chief administrative officer of the

school or child-care facility to be present, at the time of the offense, on the premises or on the street, sidewalk, or other public way adjacent to the premises; or

(4) was in active transit in a motor vehicle on a public street that was a direct

route between two locations at which the person had legitimate business.

(d) A person who violates a provision of this section is guilty of a separate offense for

each day or part of a day during which the violation is committed. continued. or permitted. Each offense. upon conviction. is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500."

SECTION 2. That CHAPTER 31, "OFFENSES - MISCELLANEOUS," of the Dallas

City Code, as amended, is amended by adding new Section 31-17.1, "Restrictions on Sex

Offenders Residing in the Same Dwelling Unit," to read as follows:

"SEC. 31-17.1 RESTRICTIONS ON SEX OFFENDERS RESIDING IN THE SAME DWELLING UNIT.

(a) In this section:

(1) DWELLING means a structure or building occupied as a residence.

(2) DWELLING UNIT means one or more rooms in a single-family, duplex,

townhouse. or multifamily dwelling that:

family; and

(A) are designed to be a single housekeeping unit to accommodate one

(B) contain one or more kitchens, one or more bathrooms, and one or

more bedrooms.

(3) MULTIFAMILY DWELLING means a multifamily use as defined In

Section 51A-4.209(b)(5) of the Dallas Development Code, as amended.

(4) REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER means any person registered or required

to register as a sex offender under Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, as amended.

(b) A person who is a registered sex offender commits an offense if the person

resides, either temporarily or permanently. in the same dwelling unit with another registered sex offender.

(c) The owner, operator. or person in control of a dwelling unit commits an offense if

he or she, either personally or through an employee or agent, allows a registered sex offender to reside, either temporarily or permanently, in the dwelling unit with another registered sex offender.

4

Cd) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b) or (c) that:

(1) all registered sex offenders residing: in the dwelling unit were related to

each other by one or any combination of the following:

(A) blood;

(B) marriage;

C C) adoption; or

(D) foster care under a placement program authorized by the Texas

Department of Family and Protective Services pursuant to Chapter 264, Subchapter B of the Texas Family Code, as amended;

(2) the violation for which the sex offender was required to register was the

only sex crime on the sex offender's record and, at the time of that violation, the victim in the case was:

(A) between 14 and 17 years of age;

(B) a willing participant in the sexual activity; and

(C) not more than four years younger than the registered sex offender;

or

(3) the dwelling unit was a lawfully established and lawfully operating:

CA) halfway house, as defined in Section 51-4.204(5) or 51A-4.204Cl3)

of the Dallas Development Code, as amended;

CB) overnight general purpose shelter, as defined In Section 51A-

4.205(2.1) of the Dallas Development Code, as amended;

CC) homeless assistance center, as defined and authorized in Section

51P-357.108 of the Dallas Development Code, as amended; or

CD) institute for special education that holds a valid certificate of

occupancy specifically for that use and that operates a program approved by the State of Texas for the housing, rehabilitation, and training of criminal offenders.

(e) A person who violates a provision of this section is guilty of a separate offense for

each day or part of a dav during which the violation is committed, continued, or permitted. Each offense, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500."

5

SECTION 3. That any registered sex offenders residing in the same dwelling unit on the passage date of this ordinance, and any owner, operator, or person in control of a dwelling unit in which multiple registered sex offenders were residing on the passage date of this ordinance, will have until December 13,2011 to comply with this ordinance.

SECTION 4. That CHAPTER 31 of the Dallas City Code, as amended, will remain in full force and effect, save and except as amended by this ordinance.

SECTION 5. That the terms and provisions of this ordinance are severable and are governed by Section 1-4 of CHAPTER 1 of the Dallas City Code, as amended.

SECTION 6. That this ordinance will take effect on December 13, 2010, and it IS accordingly so ordained.

APPROVED AS TO FORM:

THOMAS P. PERKINS, JR., City Attorney

By _

Assistant City Attorney

Passed _

LCIDCC/00476A

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