austindefender

Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Penal Code 25.11 “Continuous Violence Against The Family”

Posted By on February 28, 2011

Sec. 25.11. CONTINUOUS VIOLENCE AGAINST THE FAMILY. (a) A person commits an offense if, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, the person two or more times engages in conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 22.01(a)(1) against another person or persons whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code.

(b) If the jury is the trier of fact, members of the jury are not required to agree unanimously on the specific conduct in which the defendant engaged that constituted an offense under Section 22.01(a)(1) against the person or persons described by Subsection (a) or the exact date when that conduct occurred. The jury must agree unanimously that the defendant, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, two or more times engaged in conduct that constituted an offense under Section 22.01(a)(1) against the person or persons described by Subsection (a).

This is an example of the trend in Texas toward the “he did something bad” approach to criminal justice.  “We don’t have to agree exactly on what he did, or when he did it, so long as everybody agrees he did something.”

Combined with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals approach to indictments (before the presentation of the indictment, but within the statute of limitations) we’re coming ever closer to defendants being tried without knowing what they’ve supposedly done until after they’ve been convicted – and possible not even then.

In the case of “Continuous Violence” statute, for example, a defendant could be convicted without anybody ever agreeing on exactly what it is that he had done.

Texas Penal Code 33.07 makes it a crime – a felony – to impersonate someone’s “persona” on the internet.

And I’ve written about Texas Penal Code 21.15 “Improper Photography” before, which is clearly unconstitutional.

The problem is that the process for challenging these laws is so time-consuming, and the Texas appellate courts so hostile, that few defendants are willing to challenge them.  And when they do, prosecutors often back down.  That way the laws stay on the books.


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