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In re D.K.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

October 31, 2019

In the Matter of D.K., a Child

          On Appeal from County Court at Law No. 1 Denton County, Texas Trial Court No. JV-2013-00432

          Before Kerr, Birdwell, and Bassel, JJ.

          OPINION

          WADE BIRDWELL JUSTICE

         Appellant D.K. was placed on probation in 2013 for aggravated sexual assault of a child, and the juvenile court deferred any decision on whether to require him to register as a sex offender. In 2019, after appellant committed a series of nonsexual criminal acts, the trial court reconsidered and required him to register after all.

         Appellant argues that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction because it rendered the registration order three years after he successfully completed probation and sex offender treatment. In the alternative, he argues that the trial court abused its discretion by relying solely on nonsexual criminal acts as the basis for registration.

         We hold that neither the completion of treatment nor the lapse of time destroyed jurisdiction. We further hold that appellant's subsequent criminal offenses-marked as they were with violence and predatory behavior-and other risk factors justified the trial court's decision. We therefore affirm.

         I.

         On September 24, 2013, appellant was found to be a child who engaged in delinquent conduct, namely, aggravated sexual assault of a child under the law of parties. The juvenile court placed appellant on probation for two years and ordered him to undergo sex offender treatment. At appellant's request, the juvenile court deferred its decision on whether to require appellant to register as a sex offender.

         Appellant was unsuccessfully discharged from outpatient treatment, and after he committed a new offense-assault against his sister-the State moved to modify his probation. By agreement of the parties, appellant's community supervision was extended for an additional two years, and he was placed at Pegasus Schools for inpatient sex offender treatment. He successfully completed that program in April 2016, and his probation ended in August 2016. The juvenile court did not reconsider its previous deferral concerning sex offender registration.

         But in 2018, appellant once again found himself before the juvenile court when he was charged with two new offenses: terroristic threat and assault against his brother-in-law. He was again placed on probation, which was to last until his eighteenth birthday. While on probation, appellant was alleged to have committed two more offenses: continuous family violence, for which he was jailed, and harassment of a public servant while in jail.

         On January 10, 2019, the State filed a motion to require appellant to register as a sex offender. After hearing the evidence, the juvenile court granted the motion, required appellant to register, and entered detailed findings and conclusions. He appeals.

         II.

         In his first issue, appellant argues that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to revisit its deferred decision. He argues that the statute grants the juvenile court jurisdiction to reconsider a deferred registration only during treatment or "on the successful or unsuccessful completion of treatment"; appellant interprets this language to mean that jurisdiction terminates after completion of treatment. According to appellant, the juvenile court therefore lacked jurisdiction because appellant successfully completed treatment years beforehand.

         Appellant's argument presents a question of statutory interpretation that we review de novo. Silguero v. CSL Plasma, Inc., 579 S.W.3d 53, 59 (Tex. 2019). In construing statutes, our primary objective is to give effect to the legislature's intent. Id. We interpret statutes according to the language ...


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