Texas Court Ruling Prompts Sex Offender Status Change

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas parole board is now removing the sex offender status or holding hearings for parolees who've never been convicted of a sex crime.

The Austin American-Statesman reports the policy change stems from a recent Texas appeals court ruling. Several hundred parolees could be affected. Some had been caught urinating in public years earlier, for example. Others were accused of committing sex offenses but pleaded guilty to other crimes.

For years, state officials have fought in court against giving parolees a hearing before labeling them sex offenders.

But that's changed since a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in May. It said the parole board can't brand a prisoner as a sex offender without a conviction for a sex-related crime.