I am unashamedly and passionately pro-life. I believe the most basic duty of government is to protect innocent life — from the womb to the tomb — which is why I am as passionate about protecting innocent defendants as I am about protecting the unborn.The bill is scheduled for a vote on the House floor tomorrow.
This is why I am honored to joint-author HB 166, authored by my friend and colleague Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, which would create a commission of nine members appointed by the governor to investigate wrongful convictions for the purpose of singling out the core causes of exonerations. Named the “Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission,” this nine-member commission would submit its findings to governmental agencies, identify any patterns of prosecutorial misconduct, and propose solutions through legislation or procedural changes, among several other tasks, all at no expense to the taxpayer.
While this legislation is only a small step toward resolving this growing trend, it is a step in the right direction no less, and I am proud of the bipartisan support it has received. We owe it to our citizens to make this right, and the time is ripe for the Legislature to act.
MORE: See an editorial supporting HB 166 from the Dallas News editorial board. AND MORE (4/23): from the Texas Tribune. UPDATE: The bill passed the Texas House April 23rd on second reading with some minor amendments. One more vote to go before it heads to the Senate. NUTHER UPDATE: The bill finally passed on a record vote of 115-28
RELATED: From the Austin Statesman, "Reforms prompted by Morton bill await action by state House."