My son was arrested in Harris County,Texas in 1999 for indecency with a child. He was 20 and she was 16. The alleged incident happened when he was confronted by a group of young men (about 15 or 20 of them), and she was with them. The young men around my sons age, were wanting to fight my son(and this wasn't the first time that they had tried this). In the mean time an officer came and told my son to go ahead and go home, and as he was leaving another officer showed up, and the girl claimed my son told her he was going to put his you know what in her mouth. For one thing I believe my son when he said he didn't do this, because he is not the type of guy to do such a thing not because I'm his mother and I'm trying to take up for him, but because I'm his mother and I know him and that he isn't one that shows his body even when he goes swimming let alone in front of a bunch of guys wanting to whoop his butt. However, he was arrested, we went to court, and his court appointed attorney told us that with the amount of witnesses whether he did it or not that if we took it to trial he would lose because the guys were out to get him, and he would lose, so the court gave him public lewdness. I believe they, the court knew he didn't do it, but since we were afraid to go to trial we took it. My son got into trouble with the law in June of 2000 in Florida, and when he was release in 2006 he went back to Florida, got a job, everything was going good for him, and then he was visited by someone with the sex offenders office telling him that he had to register as a sex offender!?? Texas didn't make him do this, so how can Florida? A lot of people including Federal Marshall's, a Judge, and even the the officer with the sex offenders office that my son has to check in with all the time, and other's think this is awful that hes has to register, but yet it has happened. What can we do about this? My son is not a sex offender! He dispices them. He didn't even do what this girl said! My son really wants to turn his life around, but since Florida put this on him he finds it impossible. Please someone help us. I hurt for my son. My husband, his step father won't let him come live with us, and I can hardly sleep. I just know if that if that stupid sex offender stuff was off he could get a job, and a place to live a lot easier. It's just not fair. Please help someone help us.
I just wanted to add that my husband will not let my son live with us isn't because of the sex offender stuff, because he agree's it is a bunch of crap that he is having to register, but because of other reasons that I don't want to explain right now. I appreciate any info that you can tell me so that we can get this off of his record.
In Texas you do not have to register as a sexual offender for the crime of public lewdness. In fact, it is a misdemeanor. You should ask this question in the Florida criminal defense forum because there may be something that triggers the registration there because of the definition of the crime in Texas.
This is the definition for public lewdness in the Texas Penal Code 21.07 is as follows: (a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his:
(1) act of sexual intercourse;
(2) act of deviate sexual intercourse;
(3) act of sexual contact; or
(4) act involving contact between the person's mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl.
Good luck to you and your son.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The only way to the case off of your son's record is to have a writ of habeas corpus granted in the case. It is best to hire a lawyer to do this as it is rather complicated and you will find that the entities involved usually work more cooperatively with a lawyer (because the lawyer knows how to make them cooperate if s/he is competent.) Most likely a lawyer could get some of the records relating to the case to determine if your son has an issue to raise. The issue(s) must be of constitutional magnitude, such as ineffective assistance of counsel. In order to have gotten to the point of receiving "something" (community supervision, deferred adjudication, or jail time), you son would have been required to have pled no contest or guilty. The judge's involvement in the original case would have been most likely simply following the plea bargain that your son agreed to with the District Attorney's office. (It is slightly possible your son pled not guilty to the judge and the judge found him guilty of public lewdness.)
Herman is right that in Texas one does not have to register as a sex offender for public lewdness IF he only has one conviction. But every state interprets who needs to register by their own laws. Perhaps because your son's case was FILED in a district (felony) court, it appears to Florida that he has a felony. (This has been a problem in the past when cases have been reduced to misdemeanors rather than refiled in misdemeanor court.) If your main concern is registration (not getting it off his record - by writ), then I would consult a Florida lawyer and determine what the registration rules are. If I am correct about the misinterpretation of Texas laws, then you could get a copy of the judgment and sentence from Texas, and perhaps a letter of explanation from a Texas lawyer, and then provide that to your Florida lawyer to try to avoid registration.
You are right about "sex offender" stuff affecting all aspects of his life but the fact that he received punishment for lewd conduct could also cause him the same problems. When you think about both those sets of terms, they sound scary. Sadly, in Texas, the sex offender registration purpose of protecting the community has been so watered down by abuse of naming some "sex offenders" that it is of little value. (For example, if a couple has sexual relations and he or she is more than 3 years old than the other, THAT is a sex offense upon which one could be required to register as a sex offender in Texas. Ridiculous.)
I would seek a consultation knowing what I have shared with someone in Florida first to determine why your son is being required to register in that state when he would not in Texas.