Claims against City for Sex-Offender Residency Registration Ordinance is moot after passage of Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code §341.906

 

Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, Inc. v. The City of Meadows Place, 14-17-00473-CV (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] July 19, 2018).

This is a challenge to a sex-offender residency restriction ordinance (SORRO) which the 14th Court of Appeals held is now moot given legislation effective September 1, 2017.

Meadows Place’s SORRO prohibits certain sex offenders from permanently or temporarily residing within 2,000 feet of any premises where children commonly gather. Texas Voices sued Meadows Place asking the trial court to declare the SORRO unconstitutional because Meadows Place, as a general-law city, had no authority to enact it. The City filed a plea to the jurisdiction, which the trial court granted.  Texas Voices appealed.

After the dismissal, in the last legislative session, H.B. 1111 created Texas Local Government Code § 341.906 which allows general-law cities to enact such ordinances. In response, Meadows Place passed two ordinances to bring its SORRO into compliance with §341.906. A case is moot when the court’s action on the merits cannot affect the parties’ rights or interests. This includes while the case is on appeal. After Meadows Place came into compliance with §341.906 it possessed the ability to pass and enforce a SORRO.  Texas Voices claims focus only on the validity of the ordinance. Therefore, the case has become moot.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Justice Boyce, Justice Jamison and Justice Donovan.  Memorandum Opinion Per Curiam.  The attorneys listed for the City are Judith Lamoreux El Masri and J. Grady Randle. J the attorney listed for Texas Voices is Richard Scott Gladden.