Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Kel Seliger, District 31

February 26, 2007
Contact: Christy Bertolino
(806) 374-8994

Senator Seliger Files Bill to Ensure that Violent Offenders against Children Serve More Time

AUSTIN, Texas -- State Senator Kel Seliger filed SB 877 today to make sure that those who commit violent crimes against children are not eligible to be paroled until they have served a greater portion of their sentence. "The punishment should be commensurate with these terrible crimes against our children. At the same time, prosecutors and judges should have some discretion in getting the maximum sentence possible in these cases," Seliger says.

Currently, a person who knowingly or intentionally causes serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury to a child commits a first degree felony, which carries a punishment of anywhere from 5 to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000. These are the most serious cases of child abuse, many involving death or very serious permanent injury to the child such as brain damage or disfigurement, but because of the classification of these offenses under current law, these offenders are serving little of their sentences.

Senate Bill 877 would classify the offense of "Injury to a Child" as a 3(g) offense under Section 44.12(3)g of the Texas Penal Code. This classification is for the most violent offenses and requires that an offender serve half of the sentence or thirty years, whichever is less, before becoming parole eligible.

"As Vice-Chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, I believe this bill resolves the shortcomings in current law by keeping the most violent offenders, those who harm our children, behind bars," Seliger said.

Seliger was sworn in to the Texas Senate to serve the citizens of Senate District 31 on March 2, 2004 to complete the term of former Senator Teel Bivins of Amarillo. He was reelected to serve a full, four-year term on November 4, 2004. The district spans 26 counties from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin and includes Amarillo, Midland, Odessa and Big Spring.