BEAUMONT - On July 29 the Ninth Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order declaring the statute mandating civil commitment of sexually violent predators unconstitutional, which released sexually violent predator Alonzo May from commitment.

Following the ruling, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an announcement calling the ruling a “victory for the state against sexually violent predators.”

A 2013 final judgment decreed May a sexually violent predator and civilly committed him in accordance with Chapter 841 of the Texas Health & Safety Code.

As part of his civil commitment, May was to stay in supervised housing at a facility designated by the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management. A 2015 amendment to Chapter 841 created the Texas Civil Commitment Office to head treatment and supervision of sexually violent predators, according to the AG’s office.

TCCO was required to create a tiered treatment program, with inpatient supervision, for current and future sexually violent predators. The trial court, however, found that May could not constitutionally be placed into the new tiered program, and it released him from all TCCO supervision.

The attorney general quickly superseded the trial court’s order, and May was returned to the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, pending resolution of the attorney general’s appeal of that order.

“Today’s decision confirms that May and other sexually violent predators may constitutionally remain civilly committed under TCCO’s tiered treatment program,” Paxton’s announcement states.

The Ninth Court concluded that the statute authorizing the civil commitment of sexually violent predators, as amended in 2015, is neither unconstitutionally retroactive nor punitive, nor has there been a denial of May’s due process rights.

“We further conclude that the trial court’s findings of fact do not support the trial court’s decision to release May from civil commitment under any applicable legal theory,” states the court’s opinion.

Appeals case No. 09-15-00513-CV

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