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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The state filed a petition to commit Tom Polk as a sexually violent predator (SVP). Texas Health & Safety Code ��841.001-.150. A jury found that Polk suffers from a behavioral abnormality making him likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence, and further found that Polk has serious difficulty controlling his sexually violent behavior. The trial court ordered Polk committed as a sexually violent predator. HOLDING:Affirmed. Texas Constitution Article III, �56(a)(4) prohibits the passage of special and local laws that change the venue in civil and criminal cases. Polk argues the general venue statute applies, and �841.041(a) changes the venue to Montgomery County. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �15.002(a)(2). However, �841.041(a) does not change the venue of SVP petitions to Montgomery County. The statute fixes venue there. The Legislature is empowered to fix venue in cases in the first instance. After they are once fixed, the venue can then only be changed through the courts, by a procedure authorized by the Legislature. The same analysis applies to venue in civil cases. Section 841.041(a) does not violate article III, �56(a)(4). Polk also argues that �841.041(a) violates �56(b), which prohibits the Legislature’s enactment of a local or special law when a general law is applicable. He contends the existing general venue law can be made applicable and would place venue in the county where Polk was residing when the cause of action accrued. Polk’s argument is essentially a “local law” challenge. A local law is limited to a specific geographic region of the state. Fixing venue in Montgomery County does not make �841.041(a) a local law. As a general rule, a statute is not local in character merely because its enforcement may be restricted to a fixed locality if persons or things throughout the state are affected by it or if it operates on a subject in which the people at large are interested. The subject of the statute is one of concern throughout the state, as evidenced by the Legislature’s findings in its enactment of the statute. Polk cites Crawford v. Washington to support his claim that his right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him was violated. Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004). In Crawford, the U.S. Supreme Court held that testimonial statements of a witness are not admissible at trial unless the defendant has had a prior opportunity for cross-examination as guaranteed by the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment confrontation clause applies to a criminal prosecution, and Crawford is a criminal case. “We have found no case applying Crawford to a civil commitment. We decline to extend its application to this civil proceeding.” OPINION:Gaultney, J.; Gaultney, Kreger and Horton, JJ.

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