Military Sex Crime Conviction May Be Used for Enhancement in Texas

By October 14, 2011Sex Crimes

Military Sex Conviction in TexasRushing v. State (Tex.Crim.App. – Oct 5, 2011) – Here’s a case that interests me on a couple of levels.  When I was a prosecutor in the Marine Corps, one of the constant questions I received from defense counsel when negotiating a plea on a military sex crime case was how, and to what extent, the conviction will affect the service member in his/her home state.  I rarely knew the answer because many of the accused were from different states.  Well, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has confirmed that a military sex crime conviction, does have collateral consequences in Texas – one of them being that the conviction is able to be used for enhancement purposes in a later prosecution for a separate offense.

In Rushing, the CCA held that a prior sex-offense conviction under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) qualifies as a “conviction under the laws of another state” for enhancement purposes.  Texas Government Code §311.005(7) defines “state” to include any area subject to the legislative authority of the United States.  A UCMJ conviction is deemed to have taken place on United States soil and the defendant’s subsequent conviction is properly enhanced under Penal Code §12.42(c)(2)(b)(v) for that conviction.