Please install the following Software to view this site.

Disclaimer:
Statements made on these pages are presented to help inform the public about the issues of deferred adjudication.

Any legal information on this page is not intended to be used without the interpretation or the guidance of a qualified lawyer. Legal information on this page is not provided to you by a lawyer. If you need legal advice then go pay for it, we do not want your money! We do want you to spread the word about the issue of deferred adjudication in Texas.

Sponsored by: Valente G.
All speech on this page is protected by the First Amendment to the US constitution. We make no warranty of serviceability. We are not lawyers and are not licensed to give legal advice. Statements made on this page are opinions from concerned citizens.

Web master E-mail: Valente G.

Welcome to www.deferredadjudication.org

This site has been built to help fight the injustice of deferred adjudication law in Texas. After getting a deferred adjudication in Texas, it is currently not possible to expunge records even though a DA is not a conviction. During the 78th legislative session SB 1477 was passed, this bill promises to allow people in Texas to go on about their lives without the worry of discrimination for an offence that has been sealed. The goal of this web site it to spear head efforts to promote social justice and by helping to improve the privacy of those individuals who have been affected by DA.
We are not lawyers but we have been affected by DA and the experiences we have, we share with our readers freely because we want to better our lives by changing the injustice we face.


Rob Sandifier's Yahoo Group

By Valente Gonzalez
July 26, 2005

Rob Sandifer the Dallas leader has started a yahoo group that will allow him to directly control the content of his messages. The purpose of the Yahoo Group is to add content to the effort to reform Deferred Adjudication Laws in the State of Texas. Because we have had great success in working with Senator Royce West’s office and the Chairs of the Jurisprudence and Law enforcement Committees in the House and Senate and of course our Governor Rick Perry, we hope to continue to improve the lives of Texas citizens who have successfully avoided a conviction but who are being prevented from participating as a fully functioning Texas citizen. The Goal of this website is to promote the efforts to bring opportunity and to restore hope to those Texas citizens who were mislead into taking Deferred Adjudication in the state of Texas. The lies put forth to snare people into accepting Deferred Adjudication are being exposed and this new addition to our website will expose the silly way Texas prosecutors and lawyers deal with Deferred Adjudication issues even more.

 

 


****June 19th concludes the 79th legislative session for the State of Texas.

During this legislative session HB3093 passed along with HB1831.
These bills help further our goal to regain our freedom that has been chipped away and which has caused us not to be able to get jobs, housing, insurance, or loans.

HB3093 will reduce the waiting time for filing an order of nondisclosure to 5 years for felonies and 2 years for misdemeanors after the terms of a person’s probation has been met and the person is released. The lowering of time will mean that people can get back to work and put the past behind so that their forward movements will not be stifled.

HB1831 changes the wording of a bill so that concealed carry permits can be issued to who have not been convicted of a crime within certain guidelines. The law will allow certain deferred adjudication recipients to apply for a concealed carry permit after 10 years, and it excludes individuals on DA that are suspected of partaking in violent offences.

I would like to thank everyone involved for correcting the law so that I can take part of this change in the law.

Special Thanks to Royce West, Kevin Bass, Marty White, Larry Hail, X Bounty Hunter, Leon Hardy, Ray R, and Ann Delano. Also thanks to the committee members of the law enforcement committee in the House lead by Joe Driver, and also thanks to Jeff Wentworth of the senate Jurisprudence committee who sided with our viewpoint and supported our stance that we are not convicted. Also thanks to the other Reps who tried to help our cause but who met with opposition to their proposed legislation. Thank you so very much all of you and god bless you. I look forward to working with all of you next time as I did this time.


Find your representative click here.

HB3093 is SB 1071

The hopes of many people on deferred adjudication are now before the governor’s desk. The Bill that took form during the session was SB 1071, that bill was not able to make into the calendars committee after it passed both committees in charge of law enforcement in the house and senate. Because the bill did not make it to the calendars committee we thought our bill was dead and our hopes dashed; however, because the language of the bill was similar to another bill presented this session and because that bill was able to make it to the calendars committee, Sen. Royce West was able to add SB 1071's language into HB3093. Thank you Lord, and thank you Sen. West.

So what happens now?

If the governor does not veto the bill it becomes law. If the governor signs it the bill it becomes law. The last day for the governor to review laws and sign them into law is June 19.

So what will that mean to a great many on Deferred Adjudication.
The State of Texas will now treat Deferred Adjudication more justly and allow people who have not been convinced of a crime to seal their record from public view, but not from law enforcement agencies. The wait for sealing a record for those with Felony DA will be reduced to 5 years after release from probation, and 2 years for misdemeanors after release from probation. Also, the data records division is now obligated to send notice to anyone they sold your record to within 10 days that they believe you should not have your record on their database. And if you are ever a juror, you need just answer to the question of criminal past with” all records have been sealed.”

This session is not over, so everyone contact the governor’s office and ask that he help give us the tool we need to get jobs, housing, insurance, and our basic civil rights back. We are not criminals, and we never were convicted so passing HB3093 should not be an issue.

God bless you, and remember to send a letter to the governor or a call to the governor asking him to pass this bill.


 

Deferred Adjudication Coming To An End During This Session?

SENATE
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Hearing for SB 1071 in Austin Capitol Building, Extension Auditorium, April 13, 2005 1:30PM

April 10, 2005
Valente G.

Story based on the Austin Statesman Story by Mike Ward

 

There is a story that describes John Whitmire as wanting to bring about the end of Deferred Adjudication in Texas. Making a change to the system of Deferred Adjudication can spell an ExPost Facto Conviction for those who have had Deferred Adjudication in the past. It may also mean that the orders of Non Disclosure will be revoked for people who successfully completed it and that people will have to deal with a conviction on their record. I do not know how much more I can do to tell legislators that many of us just want to get on with our lives and be left alone, I do not know what John wants to do but if it means that he wants to make your and my life harder than I have to urge all of you to be there just in case. If Deferred Adjudication is no longer offered to people then what will happen to those of us who the State of Texas has lied to? Currently the law reads that a deferred adjudication is not to be considered a conviction, but the Texas Legislature has ignored this law and instead imposed restrictions on people who have successfully completed Deferred Adjudication by way of occupational licenses, and preventing them from working in any job capacity. The Texas workforce commission even makes an implied mandate to employers to not hire people who have Criminal Records even if it is a Deferred Adjudication (Thanks a lot for nothing TWC!!!).

The question is also raised what will we do with all of these people that commit first time offences, will we treat them to a conviction so that they can wear the record for the rest of their lives or will there be a limitation as to how long a record can be used for. Will these questions be answered we do not know. I do know that we must be there if we are to be heard on this issue.

The Legislators have tried to appear though on crime by taking away our rights to live as citizens of Texas after we have complied with our probationary terms. They want us to find ourselves strangers in our own lands. Our rights are being taken away so much so that we cannot accept this form of punishment as being justified any more. This is cruel and unusually harsh punishment that we are undergoing right now. The restoration of rights is an important factor to someone who wants to correct their life’s wrongs. If our State offers us no hope then what is to become of us, we cannot find housing, jobs, insurance, medical benefits, loans and other worthwhile life pursuits. Instead we face a possibility of losing every self-respecting job opportunity that we are offered, and then being denied every self-respecting occupational state license for a crime or a mistake that happened sometimes decades ago.

The law of Deferred Adjudication was supposed to be a second chance, a way to guide people back onto the correct lawful path. This law has worked for hundreds of thousands of Texans. For over 70 percent of the people on the program deferred adjudication has worked.

We urge everyone who can to make it to Austin to Testify in a hearing to be held there on April 13, 2005.

SENATE
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING


COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice

TIME & DATE: 1:30PM Or upon adjournment
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

PLACE: Extension Auditorium

CHAIR: Senator John Whitmire

___________________________________________________________________________
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will hold a hearing to discuss
community supervision reforms.


Senator West’s bill, SB 1071 offers to protect privacy rights for successful orders of Non-Disclosure if passed.

By Ron from a forum board post
March 13, 2005

If you have received an Order of Non-Disclosure, there is still State and State supported entities that have statutory access to your record. In order to change this, there needs to be an amendment to the current law (SB 1477), and Senator West’s bill, SB 1071, does this. I recommend you mail and email the following letter to State Representatives and State Senators to give us the added protection we need to help us get and keep a job by keeping our record out of view of employers. For those who do not qualify under SB 1471, there are other bills that better address your needs, addressed in this website.

Below is the proposed letter to mail and email.
___________________________________________________

Dear Senator/Representative ,

I am writing you to request that you support Senator Royce West’s bill, SB 1071, which rectifies some of the weaknesses of SB 1477 past last year. Thank you for getting passed SB 1477 last year, authored by Senator Royce West, allowing one time offenders to have their record hidden from “non-governmental” entities. The law has given a lot of people with one offense a second chance to have a normal life. SB 1477 does however allow a record with a Non-Disclosure Order to be viewed by all “government” entities and “government supported” entities for purposes of pre-employment checks and occupational licensing. I am requesting that you support SB 1071, which would amend SB 1477 to d allow those having a Non-Disclosure Order under SB 1477, to have their record “removed from public viewing” including viewing by any person, entity or government agency for purposes of pre-employment checks and occupational licensing. Upon obtaining an Order of Non-Disclosure under SB 1477, a record of the offense would be retained by the Court and by the Texas Department of Public Safety solely for the purposes of Court Hearings, aiding the Courts in determining whether a person qualifies for a Non-Disclosure Order and for viewing by law-enforcement officers in the lawful performance of their duties in investigating criminal activity. In addition, a select group of government entities would be allowed to continue to have access to the record. So, SB 1071 would give one time offenders “who in addition meet the stringent qualifications under SB 1477”, the ability to obtain government employment and obtain an occupational license.

There are thousands of people that have made an isolated mistake in their life, paid the consequences, learned from it and have not repeated their mistake. These are the people that SB 1477 addresses. However, these same people with a one time offense record with a Non-Disclosure Order still have no chance of obtaining employment with a government entity or obtaining an occupational license. Your support of Senator West’s bill, SB 1071, would give thousands of people, many of whom are our adult children, the chance to obtain employment with this large sector of the economy that is now blocked from them. With the requirement of being a one time offense, excluding certain offenses, (those offenses that have Non-Disclosure Order under SB 1477), it would allow the public interest adequate protection. The record would still be available for viewing by the courts for any subsequent proceedings and criminal investigations. So, the purpose of the amendment would be to help a lot of good people, those with Non-Disclosure Orders under SB 1477, find work by keeping their records from being viewed for pre-employment and occupational licensing purposes by either “government” or “non-governmental entities”. Thank you again for getting us SB 1477 and I hope you will support SB 1071. It will give these people a lot better chance to take care of their families and have a normal life. Please help these good citizens of Texas with your support of SB 1071.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Your phone number
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The following is the link to the email address, physical address and phone numbers of Texas State Senators:

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm

The following is the link to the email address, physical address and phone numbers of Texas State Representatives:

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/welcome.htm

Or

Find your representative click here.


 

Contact the Jurisprudence committee chairs about HB697

by Valente G.
February 28, 2005

Every other year on odd number years the representatives from the various parts of our vast State meet in Austin in time for the Texas Session. The "session" as it is called is entering its 79th running. Each time the legislature meets our opportunity to have relief become possible. For 140 days the elected representatives of Texas districts will meet and consider legislation that has the possibility of becoming law.

This session our chances of getting legislation passed again fall to you our readers. Our readers must be willing to ask, for changes to Texas law, this opportunity will not present its self for another 2 years.

Currently HB 697 has been referred to the Jurisprudence committee, yet if this committee does not put the bill before an open committee for review there will be no hearing for HB 697 and therefore it will die in committee.

The committee must be convinced to allow us to have this bill be presented in order to allow us to make our case. I ask that our great many readers contact the few who are our elected representatives.

Please do your part today by contacting the Chairs of the Jurisprudence committee about allowing HB 697 to be allowed to have a meeting scheduled.

Please contact the two committee chairs.

Rep. Terry Keel (Chair)
Room EXT E2.212
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0652
(512) 477-7121 Fax

and

Rep. Debbie Riddle (Vice Chair)
District 150
Capitol Office: EXT E2.208
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78711
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0572


 

A Great Hope specifically for people on deferred adjudication.

By Valente G.
February 22, 2005

While other bills seek to include people who have been convicted it is important to support the bills that are aimed specifically at people with our problems. Today I cover HB 697 by Rep. Dutton

Longtime readers of this website should know by now that in order to fix the deferred adjudication problem, the laws of the State must be changed. Some in the past have requested me to tell them how to put this burden behind them, or suggested that I was holding out some information to prevent them from getting a sealing or an expungement. I have constantly said that I cannot provide information to that which is not possible. This is why it is so important to participate in the Current Texas Session that will go on until May 30th. Without meaningful Deferred Adjudication relief bills getting passed this session, we will see no change in our lives.

One of the best bills that will help many people who have deferred adjudications is

HB 697 by Rep. Dutton

Some of the points of the bill that we are in favor with are:

We are in favor of allowing people to go back to court to allow people to seal their records for $28, and going back to court makes sure that a person can take advantage of the bill.

The Bill promises to improve current law, which allows for the sealing of records by lowering the time requirements to, immediate for misdemeanors, and 5 years for felonies.

Please do your part by calling the following representatives to express support for this bill, we need to get good legislation passed this session so that we can move on with our lives. Having to wait 10 years before someone can be allowed into the workforce is too long for someone whose character has been challenged by a singular instance of deferred adjudication.

Representative Suzanna Hupp
District Office
P. O. Box 751
Lampasas, TX 76550
(512) 556-8954

Representative Terry Keel
District Office
P. O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0652

Representative Joe Driver
(Law enforcement committee chair)
joe.driver@house.state.tx.us
201 South Glenbrook
Garland, Texas 75040
(214) 276-1556

Write your own representatives and tell them to offer support for this bill contact the Governors office and tell everyone that his will cut down the wait period for sealing your record and it will help you get on with your life.


Bills Exclude Those Who Were Accused of

"Injury To A Child"And/Or "Family Violence"

On January 31, 2005, Austin Representative Eddie Rodriguez introduced H.B 88 in a bid to allow both convictions and deferred adjudicated criminal records to apply for an order of non-disclosure. This bill does not yet help Texas families whose parents may have received deferred adjudication for family violence. It is sobering knowledge to most people that when the police are called to a family quarrel of heated words or a physical attraction occurs that they must arrest someone regardless of the severity of the situation or the wishes of the accuser. How can a heated argument’s words lead to an arrest? It is possible because the police are now legislatively mandated to remove someone from the house when they are called out to investigate a domestic dispute call. The result is that a family discussion where strong feelings may be displayed is cause enough to charge the person with family domestic violence. Groups seeking to make self-righteous strides to improve safety for the family units are instead causing families to be torn apart because of their push to disallow first time family domestic violence offenders with deferred adjudication from being allowed to some day seal their deferred adjudications.


We seek the support of our readers to help urge our legislators to include family violence offences in a bill that would help these families.

Our best shot is to have Eddie Rodriguez’s bill changed to reflect our wishes. However we know that we may have to ask at another piece of legislation be offered since the current bill is already written and has been submitted.

Please review the bill text below.

HB88 Text

We strongly agree that Representative Rodriguez’s bill will help a great many people, and we are extremely grateful for his offering this piece of legislation. We would also want him to use this bill to address first time "Family Violence" and "Injury To A Child" or “Injury to a Senior” offences for first time offenders who merited deferred adjudication. Doing this would help keep the family units stay strong by not destroying the abilities for young fathers and mothers sons and daughters to provide for their families by preventing them from getting good jobs and housing. Young parents who received deferred adjudication for family violence should be given the same opportunity to apply for an order of non-disclosure on the basis that they have a family to support. Also a parent who cannot keep his family intact because he or she cannot provide for thier family because of a DA on his will not lower divorce rates, which are destroying the moral fabric of society and leading to more crime. Divorced families exacerbate the problem of children living in poverty since the parents are less able to properly care for children when with a deferred adjudication on their record. HB 88 contains an "exclusion clause" which prohibits certain people who were charged under certain offense classifications from ever being able to apply for an order of non-disclosure. Under HB 88, that list currently includes:

· registration as a sex offender;
· kidnapping or false imprisonment charges against a sex offender;
· murder or capital murder;
· injury to a child or an elderly or disabled person;
· abandoning or endangering a child;
· violation of a protective order;
· stalking; or
· family violence.

Yet for every true first time offender that is there are also thousands of people in Texas who have been falsely accused of "Injury To A Child" or falsely accused of "Family Violence". Many young men are caught up in the legal system by our over legislated government. Once they are in the legal system being denied employment opportunities becomes a common problem. Men and women with families are denied housing opportunities because of a first time offence, also denied is the opportunity to participate in their children's lives because they are bared from extracurricular after-school activities. How can a parent live a calm a peaceful life in order to provide for his family when the government has taken away all his piece of mind and his ability to provide for his family when the government has removed all protections for him and has allowed others to take away all that he has? What options are we leaving that person with is the real question. Our government is not rehabilitating people to rejoin society it is instead preventing people from ever having piece of mind. We are human beings and we deserve the same civil rights and privacy rights as everyone else after our debt has been paid.

We strongly support Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and wish him to introduce another bill aimed at family violence offences for people who have family to take care of. We feel that his bill would make it past committee and on to the floor and we offer past legislation as proof that he will be successful in introducing new legislation. During the 2001 legislative session, the 77th congress adopted H.B 1415, authored and sponsored by state representative Jessica Farrar. This bill was passed unanimously through the Texas congress. It was sent to Governor Perry who then vetoed the bill. This bill would have allowed for automatic non-disclosure (a court hearing and Judge's ruling would not have been necessary to obtain non-disclosure) for every offense classification except sex offenses.

The reason that the bill was not signed by Governor Perry is because some very powerful lobby groups, most notably the "Texas Radio Broadcaster's Association" urged Governor Perry to veto the bill on the grounds that it would hinder the rights of the "Freedom of Information and Open Records" advocates.

We strongly feel that the proposed compromise mentioned above should be implemented in this bill. To continue to keep even the misdemeanor first time offenders on the "exclusion list" is indicative of the fact that the various "Family Violence" groups and "Children's Advocacy" groups are having a strong negative influence on Representative Rodriguez's decision to not allow even those with misdemeanor offenses to be able to apply for non-disclosure.

In 2003, during the 78th legislative session, Senator Royce West authored and got passed into law S.B. 1477 It was the very first law ever passed that was designed to ease the suffering and loss of civil rights and privacy rights for those who have criminal records. That bill too, has the same exclusion list of offense classifications as the newly proposed HB 88. We called Senator West's office and tried to get him to make the same compromise that we asked of Representative Rodgriguez's office - To allow those with misdemeanor offenses to be able to apply for non-disclosure. And like Representative Rodgriguez's office just a few days ago, Senator West would not compromise at all on this issue.

To all those who are on the "exclusion list", please stand together with this message and help do something about his horrible injustice that we cannot live under. . Unless we all act now, by contacting our elected state representatives and urge them to modify the bill to include us, then we will continue to live through the suffering and discrimination that only those with a criminal record will ever truly understand and appreciate.

Those who should be contacted:

Representative Eddie Rodriguez: Ask to speak with Gerardo Castillo
Capitol Office
RoomEXT E2.412
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0674
(512) 499-0694 Fax

H.B. 88 is headed for Joe Driver's Committee on Law Enforcement, which Joe Driver is the Chairman of. Therefore, its vital to contact Joe Driver’s office to ask that the bill be changed in such a way that it will include minor misdemeanor family violence offenses before it can leave his committee.

Representative Joe Driver:
Capitol Office
Room CAP 4S.06
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0574
(512) 463-1481 Fax

The following two senators will also have some major input into what goes into this bill. Please give them a call as well and ask them for support on this issue:

Senator Bob Deuell:
The Honorable Bob Deuell

P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0102
(512) 463-7202 fax

Senator Royce West: Ask to speak with Kelvin Bass
The Honorable Royce West

P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0123


One last thing for all of you to to think about. Most recently, on January 31, state representative Debbie Riddle (Republican-Houston) introduced H.B. 84 What H.B. 84 does is require all organized children's sports activities organizations to do background checks on all individuals seeking to do volunteer work for them. While the intentions behind this law are good (protecting the safety and best interests of our children), this new bill, if it becomes law (and it probably will) will further erode the opportunity for parents and family members
of children to participate in the lives of their children. All of you should by now see the trend of all this and where its going. If we do not act now, and often in the future, the very meaning of our lives and dignity and self-worth as human beings will be a thing of the past.


 

*** VERY IMPORTANT ***
The 79th Legislative Session Starting Soon!

For those of you whose lives have been negatively impacted by Deferred Adjudication, this is an extremely important article for all of you to read!


In January 2005, the Texas legislative session will convene in Austin and will be in session until mid June. When the session is dismissed in June, it will not convene again for 2 more years! If we are not successful in getting the Texas criminal records expunction laws changed in 2005, then another opportunity to do will not be available until 2007.

Everyone, regardless of where you live or who your local representative is, Please contact these key state representatives and ask them to support legislation to help seal deferred adjudication records of Texas citizens, at this time they have not publicly supported our efforts; however, with a letter and phone campaign we should help raise their awareness of our desperate situation. The goal is to show them how much support there is for fixing the injustice we face. When legislation is presented to the all important Law Enforcement Committee, it will be these people who decide if the bill gets to be heard by the state legislature and then sent to the Governor.

Representative Suzanna Hupp
District Office
P. O. Box 751
Lampasas, TX 76550
(512) 556-8954

Representative Terry Keel
District Office
P. O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0652


The most important effort is to try and win the support of the Law Enforcement Committee Chair. He was apposed to some of our efforts and effectively killed far-reaching deferred adjudication relief for our state. Without him willing to support and pass bills through his committee it will be very hard to correct the miscarriage of justice that we face. It is unlikely that he will support our effort but we must try to convince him anyway. We can only do this if we explain to him how important deferred adjudication relief legislation is.

Representative Joe Driver
(Law enforcement committee chair)
joe.driver@house.state.tx.us
201 South Glenbrook
Garland, Texas 75040
(214) 276-1556

Please participate in your State’s government. True Justice the way it was originally intended for deferred adjudications is only a phone call or letter away. Speak out and be heard.

Thank you,
Valente Gonzalez.


 

Using public assistance programs when on deferred adjudication.

by Valente G.
September 26, 2004

The State’s bungling of deferred adjudication may have left you and your family with nowhere to turn. It is apparent that current legislative practices intend for people who successfully complete deferred adjudication to suffer an additional 5 to 10 years of fiscal hardship; since your record still contains the information about your arrest, no employer who conducts background checks will knowingly want to hire your because they are directed not to do so by the Texas Work Force Commission. You may be tired, alone, depressed, and disillusioned. Your material belongings may have been depleted. I blame many private sector interests for our troubles, especially private prisons which foster community hardships for first time offenders with deferred adjudication in an effort to encourage criminal behavior by preventing them from being able to provide themselves with food, shelter, clothing and jobs. They do this in an effort to try and get individuals into their prisons. At a time that Texas is financially burdened the private prison system is flourishing. If you find yourself in a desperate situation remember there are public assistance programs, which may be available to you.

For example, I found out that a requirement to get food stamps is that you must be working at least 20 hours per week; but with few employers knowingly hiring people with any negative background information it will be difficult to attain food stamps. If adults without dependent children do not meet work requirements, they are limited to three months of benefits in any 36-month period.
For more information on getting living assistance from the state you can use the following links.

  1. http://www.txstars.net/servlet/HSGServlet?page=Home
    State of Texas Assistance and Referral System (STARS)
  2. http://www.dhs.state.tx.us/regions/index.html
    Click here to find the Local Texas Department of Human Services office in your area
  3. http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/Programs/Programs.html
    Lists the Health and Human Services Programs that are offered.

Expungement VS Sealing your record which one is better.

By Valente G.
September 26, 2004

Sealing a record is often confused with expungement. The term sealing, when relating to deferred adjudication in Texas, applies to one instance of a deferred adjudicated charge that did not result in a conviction and for which the case was dismissed. Sealing a record means that you can have the record sealed from public inspection. In Texas you have to wait 10 years after your case was dismissed for Felonies and 5 years for Misdemeanors so that you can seal your record.

After you seal your record there will still a record that is available for private inspection by a state agency or an exempt entity. It does not mean that your record will remain sealed because your record is still available the Texas legislature. The danger is that during the course of a subsequent Texas session a bill can be authored to unseal everyone’s record.

Expungement is more than a sealing, an expungement means that your record is completely destroyed. Having no record would solve many of the problems that people have in finding employment and housing. Currently it is not possible to get an expungement for charges resulting in deferred adjudication.

I have established a personal goal to ask legislators that deferred adjudications be eligible for sealing immediately upon the date of completion of community supervision period, and that expungement be allowed 5 and 10 years after the date of dismissal for misdemeanors and felonies respectfully. Hopefully with enough involvement from affected individuals the law will change to allow for eventual expungement of a record that did not result in a conviction such as in the case of a deferred adjudication.


Will the Texas Legislature do anything about Deferred Adjudication during the next legislative session in 2005?

Not if you do not contact them to let them know deferred adjudication is still broken!!!


September 22, 2004
by Rob Sandifer

The Texas state legislative session starts in January 2005. For those of you who do not know it, the Texas legislature meets only ONCE every two years. What this means is that unless we are successful in getting better, more comprehensive and meaningful criminal records expunction laws passed in 2005, then it will be 2007 before we get another chance to do so! We absolutely MUST avail ourselves of this precious opportunity to pass better laws in 2005. To have to wait again until 2007 is absolutely
unacceptable to us!!!

At the present time, to my knowledge, absolutely none of the elected representatives in the state of Texas has contacted our web site/organization to try to reach out to us and work with us in drafting better laws in 2005 This is NOT a good sign for our chances in 2005. I truly think that many, if not all, of the elected reps have the idea in their heads that the DA problem was *fixed* when the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill 1477 into law in 2003. For those of you who do not know, Senate Bill 1477 was a very diluted and watered down version of the bill that we wanted to see get passed, which was House Bill 181, which was authored by state representative Jessica Farrar (Houston Democrat). It is our expressed, and collective opinion that SB 1477 is too restrictive in who it helps and how it helps them. We have got to immediately start contacting our state reps and let them know that we want better and more comprehensive expunction laws passed in 2005, better than SB 1477 in terms of expunction benefits and better in terms of who is actually eligible to obtain expunction. We must let them know that WE are placing expectations upon THEM to take action so that we will no longer be unfairly discriminated against in the workplace and elsewhere.

It is a now a highly known fact that the Republicans now control all the important offices, at every level (municipal, county, and state) in the state of Texas. During the previous legislative session in 2005, every piece of deferred adjudication related legislation was drafted by the Democrats; and all of their proposed legislation was defeated by the Republicans ...except the diluted and watered down bill, SB 1477.
More than likely, even if we could find a Democrat to once again draft and carry an expunction bill for us again, more than likely the Republicans would defeat that bill once again. This is truly sad ...because this is most assuredly NOT a partisan issue; both Democrats and Republicans have been horribly affected by the debilitating effects of DA. Therefore, what we need to do is for *** EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US *** to individually contact the following Republican state representatives and let them know that the Deferred Adjudication problem did ***NOT*** get fixed by the passage into law of SB 1477 and that WE do expect THEM to pass REAL expunction relief law in 2005. These are the following Republicans which you need to contact....and why they in particular should be contacted.

(1) Representative Suzanna Hupp

District Office
P. O. Box 751
Lampasas, TX 76550
(512) 556-8954

She should be contacted because I feel that our best chances of getting good laws passed lie with her. She actually supports the notion of individual privacy rights and even co-sponsored HB 181 with Democrat
Jessical Farrar in 2003.

(2) Representative Joe Driver

District Office
201 South Glenbrook Dr.
Garland, TX 75040
(972) 276-1556

He should be contacted because he was the Chairman of the House Law Enforcement Committee in the last legislative session in 2003. It was in Joe Driver's committee where our bill that we wanted to get passed, House Bill 181, died. We have sources who told us that Mr. Driver refused to let our bill come out of his committee so that it could be voted on by the entire Texas House of Representatives and then sent to the Governor for his signature to be passed into law. We must let Mr. Driver
know that we expect him and his fellow lawmakers to allow passage of bills into law which were very similar in style and content to the bill we wanted to see get passed, HB 181. He is very key to our chances!

(3) Representative William Hartnett

District Office
9713 N. Central Expwy.
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 891-1776
(214) 891-1693 Fax

Mr. Hartnett is the Chairman of Jurisprudence in the house and will therefore be very crucial to our chances of winning better laws.

Some Guidelines to go by when contacting these people.

Be nice to these people. Remember, above all, these are people who can actually "make or break" us as far as winning better laws for our cause.
However, you must be firm in the expectations that we wish to set upon these folks. When contacting them, it is vitally important to put the idea in their minds that SB 1477, passed during the last session, did not go far enough in helping the majority of people with DA on their records. Tell them that SB 1477 is too restrictive in who it helps and how it helps them.
Let them know that SB 1477 calls for having to go in front of a judge to get a final ruling before you are allowed an "order of non-disclosure" from the judge. Had HB 181 passed into law, then your records would have been automatically expunged after a reasonable amount of time had passed. Tell them that (HB 181) is what we want to see get passed into law. When contacting these elected reps, it is worth bearing something else in mind:

Most of you will not actually be living in the districts that these elected representatives are representing. You will need to do two very important things. (1) Write a very detailed letter describing who you are and what your expectations are as far as getting new and better laws passed. Send this letter to them through the US Postal System. Do NOT count on e-mail.
Most of the time, these people receive tons of e-mail and do not have the time or staff to answer it all. However, they DO tend to read letters that have been sent to them via the US Postal system. I advise you to get their attention even more by sending your letter as a "registered" letter. It will cost a little bit more...but it will definitely get their attention. Finally, in about 2 weeks after mailing this letter to them, follow up with a telephone call. Be courteous, but insist on being able to talk with the elected rep in person. This will get the message to them that we are NOT going to go away until this problem gets fixed....and gets fixed RIGHT! When you are talking with them, just remind them that you sent them a letter and that you are counting on them to draft legislation similar in style and content of our earlier bill, House Bill 181. Finally, thank them for their time and remind them that you will be monitoring the progress of their work on this issue and that we plan to contact ALL of our elected reps on this matter. One last thing....all of these efforts will be for nothing if they are not sustained and followed up on. What this means is that we have to stay right on top of the situation. What this means is that WE should be calling their office once every two weeks just to check back in with them and let them know we are watching. If enough people are doing this ....don't you think that they will soon get the message and realize that this problem is NOT going to go away until it is dealt with once and for all? Okay folks ....there it all is. The rest is up to you!

To better help give us all a good idea as to who is participating in this and also to improve the motivations and morale of all of us who are engaged in this struggle, we are asking that you all post your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and concerns in our Discussion Forums so that we can all see what everybody else is doing. This will serve to keep morale up and it will also serve to remind all of our web site visitors that we ARE SERIOUS about winning *** REAL *** expunction relief law in 2005.

Let's all work together and do this. Together, lets end all of this deferred adjudication madness in 2005!


 

Jobs can be ours!

by Samuel
August 23, 2004

I know this article starts out contradicting our cause, but if we (referring to people such as you and I) had never been the victim of DA and had never had any infractions with the law, then we may possibly have some of the same opinions as our opponents. But this should provide enough detail as to how to approach a prospective employer and how to possibly offset an assumed conviction. Thanks.

Martin Holsome - Political Advisor, TRDA

Employers have become increasingly concerned about knowing if an applicant has a criminal record. More employers are conducting pre-employment background checks for criminal records. Employers have been the subject of large jury verdicts for negligent hiring in cases where they hire a person with a criminal record that harms others, and it could have been avoided by a criminal record check That is because employers have a legal duty to exercise due diligence in the hiring process, and that duty can be violated if an employer hires someone that they either knew or should have known in the exercise of reasonable care was dangerous or unit for a job. The concern from the employer's point of view is that a person with a criminal past may have a propensity to re-offend in the future.

On the other hand, society also has a vested interest in helping people with a past criminal record obtain and maintain employment. It is difficult for an ex-offender to become a law abiding, tax-paying citizen without a job. Unless society wants to continue to spend its tax dollars on building more and more jails and prisons, ex-offenders need the opportunity to rejoin the workforce.

For an ex-offender, a job search can become a frustrating Catch-22.
Nearly every employment application will ask in some fashion if a person has a criminal record. If a person lies, then they are always at risk of being terminated upon such a criminal record being discovered.
If a person is honest and admits the past misconduct, there is a risk of not getting the job.

There is no perfect answer. A person with a criminal record is going to face greater challenges in getting employment. There are certain jobs where an employer will justifiably not hire an ex-offender. However, challenging is not the same as impossible. The key is the right attitude and getting and keeping that first job, so that has time goes by, a person has developed a successful job history that outweighs past problems.

Here are six approaches a person with a past criminal record can take:

One: Understand your rights:
A person who has a criminal record and is looking for employment must understand their rights. There are instances where an applicant can legally and ethically answer NO on a question about a past offense.

This may occur in some of the following situations:
In many states, there is no obligation to report arrests not resulting in a conviction or that are not currently pending.
There are limitations on reporting pre-trial adjudications where the conduct by statute is not considered a criminal offense. Some states have pre-trial diversion or delayed entry of judgment).
There may be restrictions on minor drug offenses. In California for example, an employer may not ask about a minor marijuana offence for personal use older then two years.
Some states have procedures to judicially "erase" a criminal offense.
For example, in California, if the matter was a misdemeanor, and a person has gone back to court and received a certificate of rehabilitation under Penal Code 1203.4 that is not reportable.
Also keep in mind that most employment applications also contain language that the conviction of a crime will not automatically result in a denial of employment. Automatic disqualification could be a violation of state and federal discrimination laws. However, an employer may deny employment if the employer can establish a business-related reason for the refusal to hire.

Two: See an attorney to explore if you are eligible to get your conviction sealed, expunged, or legally minimized and to make sure you understand your rights.

This is critical. Ask an attorney if the criminal record can be expunged or set aside by going back to court, or whether it is the type of offense that an employer may legally ask about or consider. Each state has different rules, but in all stat, there is a mechanism for going back to court to try to seal or expunge certain offenses. Make sure you have explored your options. The attorney who represented you, or the local Public Defender or Probation Office should be able to assist.

Three: Seek professional assistance.
There are also organizations that assist past offenders. Some of these organizations have relationships with employers who are willing to give an ex-offender a chance. In addition, these organizations can help a person prepare a resume and practice interview techniques that deals honestly with the past offense, but helps a job applicant put their best foot forward by explaining why they can perform the job and why the employer should hire them. Various re-entry or training program will help ex-offenders develop new skills, or teach job search techniques.

Four: Honesty is the best policy.
In applying for a job, honestly is always the best policy. A criminal matter honestly explained during an interview may have much less negative impact than hiding it and having an employer discover it later. If an employer discovers an applicant was dishonest, the denial of a job could be based upon a lack of honesty, regardless of the nature of the offense. However, a person who has made a mistake and is now motivated to do well at a job may be of great interest to some employers.

Five: Start to rebuild your resume one step at a time, even if it is not the "perfect" job.
All employers know that the best indicator of future job performance is past job performance. If a person with a criminal record can obtain whatever job they can, hold that job and do well, the next job become much easier. It is the building block approach--one block at a time.
It is critical to seek to rebuild your resume by finding any employment you can to rebuild your resume. You should first seek employment with people you know. Ask everyone that likes you if they know someone who might be willing to hire you. Yes, mention your conviction, but stress your strengths and how much you learned from your past. Someone who knows you personally is more likely than a stranger to give you a chance.

If that does not work, then consider starting at the bottom. A few months of good work in an entry-level position can yield a good reference, which can start your career back upward.
According to career coach Marty Nemko, an entry level-job can be a launch pad and a foot in the door. Do a great job, build up
relationships with higher ups, express interest in moving up and before
long, you many find your self promoted. And if you take an entry-level job in order to rebuild your resume, be sure its one in which people with the power to promote you can observe the quality of your work.

Avoid taking a job off-site or in a remote location. If you enjoy working for the organization ask questions and let them know you are interested in moving up. There are certain industries that are in real need of workers. A fast food job, for example, may not be the job you want, but it is an example of a job that is widely available and allows a person to rebuild their credentials and show what they can do.

Eventually, what a new employer sees is a person with great recommendations and an excellent job history. As the criminal conviction gets older, and the job history become stronger, a person who has made a mistake the past will eventually find that the criminal record is less of an issue. It cannot be stressed enough that the best was to get a great job in the future is to get any job you can right now, and perform well.

Six: Take the long-term view.
This is the most difficult advice to follow. An ex-offender is anxious to get back into the workforce to start making a living. They may also be anxious to have their old life back. Yet, the decks are stacked against a person with a criminal record. The jobs that are available may not be the ones that you want. You may be qualified for something a great deal better. Doors may slam in your face, and you may very well be subject to unfair assumptions. The frustration level could easily build with each disappointment encountered.
What it comes down to is that an ex-offender needs to take the long view and have the faith and patience that the criminal matter will eventually be put behind them. As frustrating as it is, the basic rule still applies a person must rebuild their resume over time. And as time goes by, the criminal offense becomes less of a factor in a person’s life. But it is going to take time.

Look at it this way, even if it takes five years to rebuild your resume and get the job you want, five years will still go by. Five year later, what would you rather have a new life with a good job or still be living in frustration because you couldn’t get what you wanted right away.

Three case studies:
Case Study One: A schoolteacher was convicted of a misdemeanor offense that disqualified her from teaching. The person had dedicated their life to teaching, and suddenly it was no longer an option. She was very depressed and upset that she could no longer do what she loved and knew how to do so well. In order to qualify for a work-furlough program, she obtained a job with a friend in a retail store. It turned out that she had a talent for the new job, and became very successful and happy with it and found a new and satisfying career.

Case Study 2: A medical professional committed an offense that disqualified him from practicing his profession. He could not imagine not being employed in medicine. That had been the most important aspect of his life and defined who he was. It took a longer period of adjustment and he was very depressed and unhappy. He spent a great deal of time being upset about how unfair it was that he could not do what he could best. Out of necessity, he found job in construction. It turn out that he had a talent for this temporary job. He loved the hours and the freedom it gave him. He also realized that the pressures he had put himself under were the root cause of the criminal conduct. A few years later when he would have been eligible to attempt to regain his license, he had decided he enjoyed his new life, and did not want to go back.

Case Study 3: A young woman got involved in the wrong crowd at an early age. She was convicted of drug offenses and spent time in prison. In prison she obtained her GED. Upon release, she got a job in a fast food place. It was not the best job, but she worked hard and made herself the best worker in the place. She was always on time, cared about her job, respected her co-workers and supervisors and showed a real interest in succeeding. Since employers need that kind of worker, she was eventually promoted to the management trainee program. She then turned for assistance to a program that helped women get jobs, and was able to find a well paying administrative job in a growing firm. It took time, but she did everything right.

These case studies have one critical element in common. These individuals could not have been more depressed and frustrated at their situation. But by being patient, taking the long view and believing things could get better, eventually their lives went in new and better directions.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* NOTE: This article is provided as a public service for job seekers who must overcome the burden of a past criminal matter to obtain a job.
The author, who is president of an employment screening company, is unable to give job seekers individual advice on job seeking or on any legal matter.
If you have a question about your situation, you are advised to contact a knowledgeable professional. Your local bar association can give you the names of attorneys who may help, and may in fact have a low-cost introductory visit program available. Look in your local Yellow pages under Attorneys for the phone number of the local bar association or
lawyer referral program. Job placement professionals can also be of assistance. Many local government and states also offer re-entry and job training programs.


The deal when you accept Deferred Adjudication?

by Samuel
August 7, 2004

I am fortunate to have access to law enforcement procedures and other
government entities so that I may obtain information and in turn relay
it to the members of this organization. Lately, I’ve had a lot of time
on my hands and have had the opportunity to research all sorts of
material pertaining to this topic. I found numerous loopholes in what
the justice system tries to use against recipients of deferred
adjudication and other similar dispositions. Everyone that has been
paying attention should already know 42.12 by heart. They should know
SB1477 and SB1577 as well. This is where the “Nightmare on Capitol
Street” begins. Law is written in two forms, general and specific.
Specific interpretation supersedes the general rendition. However, most
arrests are by general circumstances. The most unfortunate detail
prescribed with deferred adjudication or pretrial diversion is that
neither is eligible to be expunged. Their reasoning for this crosshatch
of definitions are so that the case can be disposed of quickly and so
that the disposition will not reflect a conviction thus not making it
eligible for such course of legal action. The technicality of this is
true. But remember most convictions are not won through technicalities.
They are sought by the application of definitions. So technically, you
are only convicted by definition. However, there is a loophole in the
contents of the law that could possibly help apprehend the availability
of the word “conviction”.

I have compiled various researches and found one application that is
substantial in Texas Law. According to Rules of Appellate Procedure,
rule 21.3 (a) – (h), given there are no bizarre circumstances, there
may be a way to have your case retried with a different approach. In
accordance to 21.3 – (h) when a verdict is found contrary to the law
and the evidence, a motion for a new trial may be filed. If you plead
guilty to a charge for the sole purpose of receiving a more lenient
sentence or was under the delusive visualization that you would have no
conviction or criminal record, then the verdict was reached coercively.
This presents a problem according to this section of Rules of Appellate
Procedure. To present an optional disposition that allows a person to
feel that they are being relieved of a harsher sentence is a form of
bribery.

So I encourage everyone that is involved in this community to reexamine
their case and evaluate whether an expungement versus an appeal would
be suitable for their application. Needless to say, an appeal would be
more costly. But it may give your defense counsel a chance to introduce
to the court where there was a direct violation of your rights and how
the court should see fit to dismiss your case due to this act of
negligence. The only way to receive this form of sentencing is by
entering a plea of guilt. So by not offering the same optional sentence
without having to plea guilty is placing the defendant in such a
position that they feel fortunate to receive this disposition. They
feel if they contest the case that the terms of the sentence will be
more severe. Sounds like a valid case to me.

For those not familiar with misdemeanor cases, when it is said: “accept
in a misdemeanor case in which the maximum possible punishment is a
fine” This, means anything above or greater than a class C which is
equivalent to a parking citation or speeding ticket.

See what you can make of it. Thanks, Samuel


The Plea

Film Review
By Marty WebMaster www.wipetheslateclean.com

Everyone needs to buy three copies of the film, one for themselves and one to send to their state representative and one to their state senator.

This film will be available to watch online next week. It answers a lot of questions and gives me hope. Rob, I remember when that Houston prosecuting attorney stood up in the house committee and said that we would tell them that defendants are coerced into pleading guilty weather they are or not. He then said that this simply does not happen. Well watch the film.

The film also points out that coercion for probation pleas has been considered by the Supreme Court to be voluntary if it is made to avoid a much harsher sentence. What it does not talk about is that in Texas, for Deferred Adjudication, the coercion is made on false promise of not being considered convicted. This film does not talk about deferred adjudication, but the coercion involved in forcing people to plea bargain.

Sincerely,
Marty WebMaster www.wipetheslateclean.com
For more info click here.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/plea/view/
Buy The Video Here
http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=1817584


Finally News Organizations are reporting the truth about background checks.

By Valente G.
May 20, 2004

A fellow reader sent me an email regarding a story that NPR aired Thursday 20th of May 2004, I took the time to listen to it, and I find that the description of the problems convicted people face in the state of New York are the same problems we face here in the great State of Texas with deferred adjudication. Because our problems are not unique to our group it gives me hope of a possibility that all groups affected by these issues will at some point join together and really challenge the absurd background check which hunt.

Click here to read my Editorial on this subject.

Click here to listen to the Audio


Paxel talks at Flowermound Council meeting.

By Paxel
May 6, 2004

Political season in Flower Mound is often contentious, but this year it is especially at a fever pitch. And it centers around deferred adjudication. Stephani Spruill, currently Mayor Pro Tem for the Town, has thrown her hat in the Mayoral race. Recently, someone uncovered the fact that Ms. Spruill had a deferred adjudication sentence in 1988.

The Council chamber was a full house when I arrived last Monday night. The list of those wanting to speak was long. I had called Ms. Spruill that day and asked her permission to refer to her in a presentation I wanted to make regarding DA. I told her I was a member of TRDA. She gladly welcomed the idea of someone speaking to the problem she was having. A few newspapers had even made the statement "she was convicted of a felony." I was as upset as she was about that. I had an eight page presentation explaining what DA is, what the reality of it is, and the effort currently underway by TRDA to address the problem. Unfortunately, just as the meeting began, the announcement was made by Council member, Cindy Travis, that the three minute limit on citizen participation would be absolutely adhered to. Out came my pen and I began to slice and dice.

I sat through a parade of citizens addressing Ms. Spruill with a great deal of anger. The comments were very personal. I couldn't do anything about their anger, but I could tell them she has "not been convicted of anything." Audience participants held up a copy of her arrest report whenever she tried to defend herself. They dragged in the apartment complex manager who made the original complaint against Ms. Spruill, and she basically testified. It felt like a courtroom, and that we were watching a trial. It was a blatant example of the confusion regarding DA and the misrepresentation of the deferred adjudication law.

I became an absolute believer in the fight for total expunction. The ONLY way to protect yourself from what just happened to Ms. Spruill, is to join the fight for expunction with TRDA. Only then will you be assured of being able to move on with your life.

Paxel


Flower Mound Mayor Pro Tem Not Hiding Her 16 Year-Old"deferred adjudication".

April 27, 2004
By Valente G.

16 years ago Stephani Spruill went to court. The judge accepted a plea bargain in return for not convicting her because a deferred adjudication under Texas law is not to be considered a conviction.

As a result of a rigorous probation system the majority of people who undergo deferred adjudication do not re-offend. Deferred adjudication has provided courts with alternative sentencing options for over 30 years. Because not all people who go to court are guilty and some just do not have the money to fight the charges, many are convinced to accept a plea-bargain rather than loosing and having a conviction. Ms. Spruill, who was 23 at the time of her deferred adjudication, now says: “looking back, I was very young and really didn't want a confrontation." This sounds right, a youth should not have his/her future prospects destroyed for one mistake. The way deferred adjudication is explained to a person who has been arrested sounds like a good deal, at least on the surface. Since deferred adjudication is explained by the courts and defense attorneys as not resulting in a final conviction, it is easy to convince defendants to accept it. Spruill says , "I was on my own and didn't have any means to fight anybody," As I have talked to people I have heard that prosecutors generally pressure defendants not to go against a plea-bargain because it will be much worse for the defendant if they take a case to trial. The District Attorney will usually entice individuals with promises like “,you will not have a conviction,” In listening to audio from the 78th legislative session during the Law Enforcement Committee’s review of HB 181 , a person giving testimony named Jack Moore urged a speaker who said to the effect that unethical things like that do not happen in Texas court rooms to look him in the eye and to tell him that things like this do not happen. The previous speaker had no comment!

Statistics have shown that a person with deferred adjudication is not a habitual offender and should not be labeled as such. The term “habitual offender” is an unfair description does not fairly apply to those given a deferred adjudication since it is usually given to young adults as a way for judges to correct errant behavior without condemning an otherwise law-abiding youth with a conviction. Those individuals who who are true habitual offenders are not given the benefit of a deferred adjudication from a criminal court judge.

In offices which are filled by the process of electoral voting , political adversaries are often willing to distort what a deferred adjudication is in order to gain a political edge and can often exploit a deferred adjudication for purely political reasons to distract attention away from the real issues or to help their performance in a race. During the 2000 presidential race Bush’s opponents attempted to derail his election prospects by opening a DWI over 30 years old. Did that record have any bearing on who Bush is today,? Probably not, since he currently does not drink and has said so many times. That is why a 16 year old deferred adjudication, which is not even a conviction in the first place, is ridiculously silly and is only introduced by a political opponent for one of the following reasons:
(1) It is vicious, mean spirited act designed to destroy the good and earned reputation of a current office holder, or
(2) The political opponent wants to talk about someone’s long departed past because they do not want to focus on what REALLY matters to the voters – the issues which affect their day-to-day lives!

The person who took deferred adjudication probably learned a very good lesson and as a result chose to live a law-abiding life as a result of it. Obviously there is nothing in Texas law that states that a person with a deferred adjudication cannot hold public office, although Spruill’s opponent may certainly be wishing there was. I wonder what Jody Smith is thinking about the current situation? I wonder if Jody Smith knows the individual or individual(s) who obtained information about Stephani Spruill’s long ago past? How ethical is it to pry into someone’s past without that person’s knowledge? If Jody Smith is elected, would bringing up someone’s past mistakes in a vengeful manner become her modus operandi? Every time someone questioned Jody Smith’s way of doing things….will they be subjected to a witch hunt? These are questions that the voters in Flower Mound need to be asking themselves!

Supposedly according to nbc5i.com “Spruill's challenger, Jody Smith, said she was dumbfounded to learn about Spruill's criminal past. I wonder if Jody Smith has ever made an error in judgment….I wonder if Jody Smith has ever made a mistake that she truly regrets making? Voters often complain about politicians not being able to “identify with them”, not listening to them, not being able to understand their problems. But would a voter trust someone who does not have problems like they do, who did not make a mistake in his/her life, and then worked hard to overcome that mistake and work even harder to once again earn the trust of people in her community?

So does Jody Smith’s past matter, is it important, what do we know about Jody Smith? Is Jody who we think she is? Or is she a cloned dirty laundry politician? It was Jody Smith attacking Mrs.’ Spruill saying she is "the puppet of a political boss." If Jody can call her political rivals puppets, how will she treat her rivals and those who do not agree with her once she is entrusted with the Mayors seat? Has this story of Spruill’s past come out because Jody is trying to protect the voters from electing a puppet of “a political boss” or is it because she will stop at nothing to win this election even to the extent of distracting voters from the issues and instead going after dirty laundry?. Not only that but she goes on by saying "One of the platforms I'm running on is bringing honor and integrity back to town hall, and bringing dignity back to it," Smith said. "This leaves me questioning what other issues we may not even know about."
The real issues are, who will do the will of the people, Spruill or Smith? How much access to your elected officials will you have if you elect the wrong person?

Readers I want you to understand something here. Many people who insult and backstab others show obvious disdain for those they do not agree with; they express fake concern when they see anguish in others, they live to rule others, and they do not like to be humbled, since they are always right. In their opinion, there is no need to listen to anyone who disagrees with them. Readers should ask if what I am writing has any truth, do I have a point. Is finger pointing and character assassination something that a normal person does, or is it something that a megalomaniac does.

Mrs. Spruill has a historical track record of being there for the citizens of Flower Mound when it counted most – tackling tough issues. Perhaps some of the decisions that were made were not to everyone’s liking; they seldom are in a democratic environment. But the fact is, Mrs. Spruill was there, every single day, making the tough decisions that had to be made. Please bear this is mind when you cast your vote. Let your conscience be your guide….make the right choice based on past, proven performance…and not from
a mistake that was made and overcome many years ago.

Link to the Calendar for the Flower Mound City council.

Click here for a map to the Flower Mound Town Council building.
Texas, United States, North America

 


Attorney General to decide if third parties can force us to waive our Nondisclosure privileges.
To look over Opinion Request RQ-0209-GA.

April 23, 2004
by Valente G.

Bell County Attorney basically asks if people with nondisclosure have the power to override a judicially ordered nondisclosure. Basically asks the question, does a person have the ability to allow others to view his or her criminal records for employment purposes, or is nondisclosure for criminal and law enforcement purposes only. He also asks what to tell the federal government when they ask if there is a record for a person. Whether to tell them “no record” or to reply back with “no disposable record”. Do you people see the difference?

I have been offered the opportunity to provide an opinion on this subject, and I have been contacted because I represent an interested party www.deferredadjudciation.org . I urge everyone with legal knowledge to participate by preparing an opinion to submit for this very important Attorney General Opinion. In reference to RQ-0209-GA. I am of the opinion that a person lacks power to countermand a judge's decision to issue a nondisclosure, and he also does not have the power to authorize the release of records to parties other than him or her self, this is what I will intend to present in my opinion because to do so would cause even more confusion. My conclusion will be that because a person lacks the authority to allow others to obtain said records that such information is not allowed to be disseminated to non-law enforcement agencies and such.



Will the Texas Legislature do anything about Deferred Adjudication during the next legislative session in 2005?

Not if you do not contact them to let them know deferred adjudication is still broken!!!

Click here to (Listen to Audio)

April 4, 2004

The Texas state legislative session starts in January 2005. For those of you who do not know it, the Texas legislature meets only ONCE every two years. What this means is that unless we are successful in getting better, more comprehensive and meaningful criminal records expunction laws passed in 2005, then it will be 2007 before we get another chance to do so! We absolutely MUST avail ourselves of this precious opportunity to pass better laws in 2005. To have to wait again until 2007 is absolutely
unacceptable to us!!!

At the present time, to my knowledge, absolutely none of the elected representatives in the state of Texas has contacted our web site/organization to try to reach out to us and work with us in drafting better laws in 2005 This is NOT a good sign for our chances in 2005. I truly think that many, if not all, of the elected reps have the idea in their heads that the DA problem was *fixed* when the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill 1477 into law in 2003. For those of you who do not know, Senate Bill 1477 was a very diluted and watered down version of the bill that we wanted to see get passed, which was House Bill 181, which was authored by state representative Jessica Farrar (Houston Democrat). It is our expressed, and collective opinion that SB 1477 is too restrictive in who it helps and how it helps them. We have got to immediately start contacting our state reps and let them know that we want better and more comprehensive expunction laws passed in 2005, better than SB 1477 in terms of expunction benefits and better in terms of who is actually eligible to obtain expunction. We must let them know that WE are placing expectations upon THEM to take action so that we will no longer be unfairly discriminated against in the workplace and elsewhere.

It is a now a highly known fact that the Republicans now control all the important offices, at every level (municipal, county, and state) in the state of Texas. During the previous legislative session in 2005, every piece of deferred adjudication related legislation was drafted by the Democrats; and all of their proposed legislation was defeated by the Republicans...except the diluted and watered down bill, SB 1477. More than likely, even if we could find a Democrat to once again draft and carry an expunction bill for us again, more than likely the Republicans would defeat that bill once again. This is truly sad...because this is most assuredly NOT a partisan issue; both Democrats and Republicans have been horribly affected by the debilitating effects of DA. Therefore, what we need to do is for *** EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US *** to individually contact the following Republican state representatives and let them know that the Deferred Adjudication problem did ***NOT*** get fixed by the passage into law of SB 1477 and that WE do expect THEM to pass REAL expunction relief law in 2005. These are the following Republicans which you need to contact....and why they in particular should be contacted.

(1) Representative Suzanna Hupp

District Office
P. O. Box 751
Lampasas, TX 76550
(512) 556-8954

She should be contacted because I feel that our best chances of getting good laws passed lie with her. She actually supports the notion of individual privacy rights and even co-sponsored HB 181 with Democrat
Jessica Farrar in 2003.

(2) Representative Joe Driver

District Office
201 South Glenbrook Dr.
Garland, TX 75040
(972) 276-1556

He should be contacted because he was the Chairman of the House Law Enforcement Committee in the last legislative session in 2003. It was in Joe Driver's committee where our bill that we wanted to get passed, House Bill 181, died. We have sources who told us that Mr. Driver refused to let our bill come out of his committee so that it could be voted on by the entire Texas House of Representatives and then sent to the Governor for his signature to be passed into law. We must let Mr. Driver
know that we expect him and his fellow lawmakers to allow passage of bills into law which were very similar in style and content to the bill we wanted to see get passed, HB 181. He is very key to our chances!

(3) Representative William Hartnett

District Office
9713 N. Central Expwy.
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 891-1776
(214) 891-1693 Fax

Mr. Hartnett is the Chairman of Jurisprudence in the house and will therefore be very crucial to our chances of winning better laws.

Some Guidelines to go by when contacting these people.

Be nice to these people. Remember, above all, these are people who can actually "make or break" us as far as winning better laws for our cause.
However, you must be firm in the expectations that we wish to set upon these folks. When contacting them, it is vitally important to put the idea in their minds that SB 1477, passed during the last session, did not go far enough in helping the majority of people with DA on their records. Tell them that SB 1477 is too restrictive in who it helps and how it helps them.
Let them know that SB 1477 calls for having to go in front of a judge to get a final ruling before you are allowed an "order of non-disclosure" from the judge. Had HB 181 passed into law, then your records would have been automatically expunged after a reasonable amount of time had passed. Tell them that (HB 181) is what we want to see get passed into law. When contacting these elected reps, it is worth bearing something else in mind:

Most of you will not actually be living in the districts that these elected representatives are representing. You will need to do two very important things. (1) Write a very detailed letter describing who you are and what your expectations are as far as getting new and better laws passed. Send this letter to them through the US Postal System. Do NOT count on e-mail.
Most of the time, these people receive tons of e-mail and do not have the time or staff to answer it all. However, they DO tend to read letters that have been sent to them via the US Postal system. I advise you to get their attention even more by sending your letter as a "registered" letter. It will cost a little bit more...but it will definitely get their attention. Finally, in about 2 weeks after mailing this letter to them, follow up with a telephone call. Be courteous, but insist on being able to talk with the elected rep in person. This will get the message to them that we are NOT going to go away until this problem gets fixed....and gets fixed RIGHT! When you are talking with them, just remind them that you sent them a letter and that you are counting on them to draft legislation similar in style and content of our earlier bill, House Bill 181. Finally, thank them for their time and remind them that you will be monitoring the progress of their work on this issue and that we plan to contact ALL of our elected reps on this matter. One last thing....all of these efforts will be for nothing if they are not sustained and followed up on. What this means is that we have to stay right on top of the situation. What this means is that WE should be calling their office once every two weeks just to check back in with them and let them know we are watching. If enough people are doing this....don't you think that they will soon get the message and realize that this problem is NOT going to go away until it is dealt with once and for all? Okay folks....there it all is. The rest is up to you!

To better help give us all a good idea as to who is participating in this and also to improve the motivations and morale of all of us who are engaged in this struggle, we are asking that you all post your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and concerns in our Discussion Forums so that we can all see what everybody else is doing. This will serve to keep morale up and it will also serve to remind all of our web site visitors that we ARE SERIOUS about winning *** REAL *** expunction relief law in 2005.

Let's all work together and do this. Together, lets end all of this deferred adjudication madness in 2005!


 

Previous DA Stories!

  Discussions on how to implement SB 1477 Is deferred adjudication a contract?
  Britain and spent convictions. Open Letter to the Readers :
  Does this land of liberty allow a second chance? Texas Fathers for Equal Rights
  What has Changed since Sept 11 Marty's Opinion
  Fill out the petition letters How do other states deal with this.
  You can still join the ARMY Letters form lyngso
  We have a forum Board This is another reason why we have trouble finding jobs.
  Do your part and help fix this issue. New Texas law relieves minor offenses from record
  Computer Glitch Gives Deferred Adjudication Rap Sheets.

This Is Your Life I Am Talking About Here!

  TIME LIMITS FOR REPORTING CRIMINAL RECORDS Thanks to the Austin Leaders for their efforts recently.
  Background checks do not work

AP Reporter needs our help to write our Deferred Adjudication story.

  Law not all that it seems I got a Jury Summons!
  Our Dallas Meeting at Richland College. How to get your records sealed.
  "U.S. to Start Airline Background Checks"(AP) for passengers! Just another guy looking for a Job.
  Check out this power point presentation. Time to write the governor.
  Things you need to know about the Texas legislature Regrets from an 11 Year old Deferred Adjudication case.
  What about the 7 years law? What about Texas law? Texas Educators feel the Deferred Adjudication pain.
  Time to act Job Search 2004
  Audio from the Dallas Meeting at Richland College.  

 


News Stories from news organizations.

Flower Mound City Council Member has a Deferred Adjudication from 1988 and it is still on her record.
April 24, 2004
by By KEVIN KRAUSE / The Dallas Morning News
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/tarrant/stories/042404dnmetdeferred.31b93.html
If they take the link off click here

Firefighter is fired for having a deferred adjudication.
April 15, 2004
By Ted Streuli
http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?wcd=19580
If they take the link off click here

Three arrests, no convictions
March 7, 2004
By JOANN LIVINGSTON
http://www.waxahachiedailylight.com
If they take the link off click here

U.S. to Start Airline Background Checks

January 27, 2004
By LESLIE MILLER Associated Press Writer
http://news.findlaw.com/ap/a/w/1152/1-27-2004/20040127104503_12.html
If they take the link off click here

Cases dismissed, but many still on list
December 21, 2003
http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?wcd=16259
If they take the link off click here

In Anxious Era, Schools Subject Volunteers to Greater Scrutiny
August 26, 2002

http://www.happinessonline.org/LoveAndHelpChildren/p17.htm#2
If they take the link off click here

Law not all that it seems (Many lawyers don't understand effects of deferred adjudication)
December 8, 2003
http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/574257.html
If the take the link off click here.

Ex-NL MVP Caminiti gives sobering advice
September 14, 2003
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2003/baseball/mlb/09/14/caminiti.ap/
If they take the link off click here

New laws set to go on books Monday
08-30-2003
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2074056
If they take the link off click here

Media groups are sore over the passing of SB 1477.
06/21/03
http://www.kvia.com/Global/story.asp?S=1331285&nav=AbC0GVn7
If they take the link off click here

Media needs DA records in order to pull up dirt on individuals.
June 17, 2003

http://www.reporter-news.com/abil/op_editorials/article/0,1874,ABIL_7983_2044058,00.html
If they take the link off click here

The media is at it again, they are saying that SB 1477 would not allow them to pull up dirt.
06/16/2003

http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=132&xlc=1012549

If they take the link off click here

Media groups call on Perry to veto criminal records bill they have 2 articles out in the same newspaper.
06/12/2003

http://www.dallasnews.com/texassouthwest/ap/stories/AP_STATEGS_0113.html
If they take the link off click here

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/tsw/stories/061303dntexveto.11e20.html
If they take the link off click here

DA is a curse on young people's futures it even affects the Presidents daughters
July 6, 2001

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/05/30/politics/main293951.shtml

Reporter Julie Elliot does not understand that deferred adjudication means "not convicted".
05/04/2003

In a story titled 3 runoffs ahead for The Colony Located at:
http://www.dallasnews.com/localnews/stories/050403dnmetDENCOVOTE.5af31.html
If they take the link off click here

Senator Jeff Wentworth says we are convicted Felons.
05/21/2003

According to the article located at.
http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=999614
If they take the link off click here

Mayor With Deferred Adjudication
May 23, 2003

This article appeared on the web page at "http://www.nbc5i.com/news/2224214/detail.html"
if they take the link down then click here.

 

 

 

Disclaimer:
A lawyer is not providing this information to you; we are not lawyers, if you seek to truly understand the law surrounding a deferred adjudication then please contact a real lawyer. This information reflects the authors' views of the injustice of deferred adjudication in Texas. Click here for a legal understanding of deferred adjudication law from a real lawyers.

Home | Testimonials | Discussion Forum | Job Help | Contact Us | Help our cause

Expunge / Seal your Record


78 Legislative session Archive