Friday, February 15, 2013

More than 130 new crimes, penalty enhancements filed so far

According to Shannon Edmonds at the Texas prosecutors' association, of the 2,026 bills and resolutions filed as of yesterday, "78 bills would create new criminal offenses, 55 bills would increase current punishments, [and] 11 bills would decrease a current punishment." While the overcriminalization trend toward higher penalties and more crimes remains troubling, in past sessions the number of bills filed reducing punishments has seldom reached double digits.

MORE: From Paul Kennedy.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

He doesn't say whether the TDCAA supports or opposes all those new laws.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I've never seen them support a reduced sentence but generally TDCAA does not proactively support penalty enhancements. As a practical matter their members benefit from them, but they're so easy to pass at the Legislature the bills don't need prosecutors' support.

If the LBB would admit that incarcerating more people cost money, most of these bills would die and people would stop filing them. For my part, I blame LBB far more than TDCAA for the Lege's penalty enhancement culture.

Anonymous said...

Now that anyone can get charged with terroristic threat for having a simple disagreement or a heated argument; the sky is the limit for prosecuttors and freedom of speech,
or any democracy is pretty much down the drain.So why not double digits.When are we going to wake up!

Robert Langham said...

They are making things worse. They ought to be ending the drug war instead.

Skifool said...

Grits, you are right on the money about the LBB, with their "no fiscal impact" fiscal notes. Apparently they only measure a year or two ahead and say they can't accurately estimate the # of people who will go to prison, therefore they can't estimate the costs to the prisons. It's too bad they can't pull a figure out of the sky when they do that on many other bills.

As for the prosecutors' positions on these bills that create new offenses or increase sentences, many of the legislators don't consult prosecutors before filing these bills, and a lot of them are "unprosecutable." Or just redundant.

Anonymous said...

A bill to raise the age to purchase/consume tobacco products from 18 to 21. Really?

We keep creating more laws for people to violate so we can needlessly occupy county jail beds, pay for more indigent inmate defense, and tax county residents for the costs.

Anonymous said...

12:43

At least it's not a bill that would prohibit the possession and sale of tobacco.

Anonymous said...

11:30, it would prohibit it for those 18-20.

Anonymous said...

11:30
I understand, but my point is it isn't outright prohibition. Those aged 18-20 would be purchasing it in a "gray" market most likely, where it was legally produced and sold at its original source, similar to the alcohol market here. Thus the profit is at least going to a legit entity and is taxed as some point. This is unlike marijuana, where Texas lawmakers have turned the entire multi billion dollar industry over to criminal enterprises to peddle to any age they please.

Anonymous said...

So Typical, "we are going to cut costs to corrections." How you ask,"by adding 130 new penaly enhancements."

Regarding consulting prosecutors, maybe not but it certainly fuels the hype on crime propelled by prosecutors offices.

Edward Greff said...

It appears we are in a Catch-22 that can't be solved. The boys and girls in Austin can't help themselves and we are yet again in store for more new laws that will not help to decrease the prison population. However, they don't want to finance it. Could it be they can not ubderstand cause and effect in this case or are they just generally inept?