Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the County Court at Law of San Patricio County,
Justices Benavides, Longoria, and Perkes
GREGORY T. PERKES JUSTICE
case involves an appeal from a juvenile court's order
requiring appellant B.J.H.B. to non-publicly register as a
sex offender. See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art.
62.357(b) (authorizing appeal from an order requiring sex
offender registration). By two issues, appellant argues: (1)
the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to
support the trial court's finding; and (2) the trial
court erred in failing to allow appellant to present
evidence. We reverse.
was born on March 18, 2000. On September 14, 2016, when
B.J.H.B. was sixteen years old, the State filed its original
petition alleging that he had engaged in delinquent conduct
by committing the felony offense of sexual assault of a child
when he was fourteen years old. See Tex. Penal Code
October 17, 2016, the trial court, sitting as a juvenile
court, signed an adjudication order, finding that B.J.H.B.
had engaged in delinquent conduct.  The juvenile court placed
B.J.H.B. on probation for two years, subject to various
conditions, and deferred a finding of whether sex offender
registration would be required in this case. See
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 62.352(b)(1) (allowing the
juvenile court to defer a registration decision).
was required, in part, to: (1) participate in intensive
supervision probation; (2) abstain from any contact with the
complaining witness; (3) maintain a minimum grade of seventy
in each class in school; (4) submit to random urinalysis
testing; (5) perform eighty hours of community service; (6)
complete the Teen Intervention and Prevention Program,
Parents and Children Together Program, and Aggression
Replacement Training; (7) attend counseling; (8) undergo a
polygraph examination; and (9) abide by a curfew and all GPS
the State's submitted motion and request for judgment
"requiring [B.J.H.B.] to register as a sex offender or
excuse registration," the court held a registration
determination hearing on March 1, 2018. See Tex.
Code Crim. Proc. art. 62.351(b) (providing that the burden is
on the juvenile at a registration determination hearing).
the juvenile carried the burden, the State was asked to
proceed first. See id. Gloria Tanguma,
B.J.H.B.'s juvenile probation officer, testified that
B.J.H.B. had been placed at Pegasus School, a school for
adjudicated juveniles, and B.J.H.B. had been successfully
discharged from the program. B.J.H.B. completed all of his
programs and therapy, passed his classes and a polygraph
exam, reported as required, and was overall "doing very
well." There were no probationary violations reported or
concerns of reoffending risks articulated. However, Taguma
testified it was probation's policy to "always
recommend that [juvenile offenders] be registered as sex
offenders" irrespective of a juvenile's individual
State also called B.J.H.B. to testify. B.J.H.B., seventeen
years old and living in a foster home with other adjudicated
sex offenders at the time of the hearing, briefly testified
to his own history of sexual and physical
abuse. B.J.H.B. also spoke about his progress and
hopes to voluntarily remain in foster care after he turned
eighteen. B.J.H.B. said he understood that remaining in
foster care would subject him to the Department's rules
and continued monitoring long after his probation expired,
he reasoned that this decision would provide him with the
structure and financial support that he would not otherwise
have to pursue a "career as a welder" and "get
[his] associate's degree."
court then asked B.J.H.B. to discuss the underlying offense
and victim, inquiring into what B.J.H.B. disclosed during the
polygraph exam and whether there were any other children that
B.J.H.B. had reported "sexual contact with."
B.J.H.B. testified that he had inappropriately touched
twenty-two other children. According to B.J.H.B., the other
children were "the same age" as he was, and the
"sexual contact" occurred when B.J.H.B. was between
the ages of eight and ten. B.J.H.B. reiterated that his
therapy has had a "positive impact in [his] life,"
changing him "mentally and emotionally," and he
urged the court to consider a registration exemption.
attorney requested to call B.J.H.B.'s caseworker,
B.J.H.B.'s mother, and an individual from B.J.H.B.'s
current placement at the Burke Center for Youth to testify on
B.J.H.B.'s behalf. The juvenile court did not permit
testimony from any of B.J.H.B.'s witnesses.
State and B.J.H.B.'s attorney provided a joint
recommendation, shared by B.J.H.B.'s treatment team, that
B.J.H.B. be exempt from registration. The juvenile court
maintained, given the number of children that had been
"exposed to inappropriate behavior" by B.J.H.B.,
the court could not "in good conscience" find
exemption from registration appropriate. The court ordered