In re Woodworth, 09-21-00176-CV

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Docket Number09-21-00176-CV
Decision Date08 December 2022



No. 09-21-00176-CV

Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont

December 8, 2022

Submitted on October 19,2022

On Appeal from the 9th District Court Montgomery County, Texas Trial Cause No. 19-07-09306-CV

Before Golemon, C.J., Kreger and Horton, JJ.



In two issues, Appellant Terry Eugene Woodworth, a civilly committed sexually violent predator (S VP), contends the trial court erred by denying his pretrial motion and that Chapter 841 of the Texas Health and Safety Code under which he was committed is facially unconstitutional pursuant to In re Commitment of Stoddard, 619 S.W.3d 665 (Tex. 2020). We affirm the trial court's judgment and order of civil commitment.



The State filed an Original Petition to commit Woodworth as a S VP. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §§ 841.001-.151 (the SVP statute). Woodworth filed an Original Answer asserting a general denial and affirmative defenses. Woodworth filed a pretrial motion, arguing that he is not subject to the SVP statute's jurisdiction because the State failed to prove it could legally notice him by petition since he had been previously recommended for an assessment by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice ("the TDCJ") in 2009, and he did not violate his Sex Offender Treatment Program while on parole after release from the TDCJ. Woodworth argued that his case presents novel issues related to a released individual's parole revocation documents and a prior assessment and that the SVP statute should not apply to any parole violator for the primary purpose of forcing individuals back into the SVP statue's evaluation jurisdiction.

Woodworth maintained that the State had previously provided notice and recommended Woodworth for an assessment, and the only issue to be considered under Chapter 841.021(d) was whether Woodworm's mandatory supervision was revoked based on the commission of a new sexually violent offense, for failure to adhere to the requirements of sex offender treatment and supervision, or failure to register as a sex offender. See id. § 841.021(a), (d). Woodworth explained that his mandatory supervision was revoked in 2013 due to technical parole violations that


were part of his mandatory supervision requirements set by the TDCJ Parole Board. Woodworth argued that since his technical violations did not violate his sex offender treatment requirements, those technical violations did not invoke Chapter 841.021(d)(2)(B)'s jurisdiction. See id. § 841.021(d)(2)(B). Woodworth explained that his parole officer, Officer Jimmie Stubblefield, signed an Adjustment Statement for the TDCJ Parole Board's record and checked a box noting that Woodworth was satisfactorily completing his sex offender treatment program and added a comment that Woodworth was compliant. Woodworth also explained the TDCJ Parole Board did not make any documented findings that he violated his sex offender treatment and supervision as required by Chapter 841.021(d)(2)(B). See id. Woodworth attached the following evidence: his 2009 Psychological Evaluation and Risk Assessment concluding that he has a behavioral abnormality and a medium-high risk of reoffending; the TDCJ Parole Division's Special Bulletin stating that Woodworth would be released on Mandatory Supervision in 2010; the TDCJ Parole Division's Adjustment Statement had a Satisfactory Adjustment to his Sex Offender Treatment Program but an Unsatisfactory Adjustment to Prohibition of internet access for certain sex offenders; and the State's Original Petition.

In its Response to Respondent's pretrial motion, the State argued that Woodworth's motion fails to address the issue at trial, which is whether he is a SVP. Instead, Woodworth's motion focuses on issues that concern the pre-suit procedures


established by the SVP statute that precede the filing of a legal case. The State argued that Woodworth's section 841.021(d) argument concerns his 2009 screening which did not lead to a filing of a legal case, and the current suit resulted from a second screening and behavioral abnormality assessment that did not violate section 841.021(d), which authorized a second screening and assessment based on Woodworth's failure to adhere to the requirements of his sex offender treatment and supervision. The State explained that Woodworth's supervision conditions included sex offender treatment and requirements that he not: (1) view, possess, purchase or subscribe to any photographs, literature, magazine, books, or visual media which depict sexually explicit images; or (2) use the Internet to access material that is obscene. The State further explained that in December 2012, the TDCJ Parole Division found that Woodworm violated both conditions based on his admissions that he viewed child and adult pornography on the Internet, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles revoked his mandatory supervision based on those findings.

The State argued that the TDCJ did not violate section 841.021(d) by initiating the review and behavioral abnormality assessment that resulted in the filing of the present case. The State further argued that Woodworth's argument is not jurisdictional and noted that this Court rejected a jurisdictional challenge based on another provision of section 841.021. See In re Commitment of Evers, 420 S.W.3d 81,84-86 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 2012, pet. denied) (stating that nothing in section 841.021


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