Monday, January 22, 2007

Countdown to Sine Die

I love that the Legislative Budget Board actually has a countdown timer with a running clock down to the second until the Texas legislative session ends. I'm not sure what kind of message that sends (besides an honest one): It's 127 days out, not one bill has passed, and we're already counting the seconds until y'all leave!

In any event, welcome back to Austin, Texas legislators! You've got an important job to do, and only one chance every two years to do it, so focus on what's best for Texas and try to play nice!

Meanwhile, we're counting the seconds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Closed File Policies Should End Among Texas Prosecutors!

A subcommittee of the Texas House Committee On Criminal Jurisprudence
explained that "(d)iscovery in a criminal case is the procedure by
which a party to the case obtains facts and other information about
the case from the other party in order to assist in preparation for
trial". (C. J. Cmte, Interim Rpt, p 23 - 10/30/06). Undoubtedly
many of us have thought at one time or another that an alleged
criminal does not even deserve a trial, not to mention helpful
discovery. Hopefully the series of highly publicized stories about
wrongfully convicted people in America leave us all at least a bit
more inclined to err on the side of caution.

In primarily placing the burden of discovery on prosecutors under the
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, "there has not been uniformity in
how jurisdictions have been making records available". (C. J. Cmte,
Interim Rpt, p 24 - 10/30/06). Some criminal defendants and defense
lawyers tell tales of "trial by ambush" or the stress of
making "blind plea agreements" in Texas. About half of the state's
prosecutors enforce "closed file" policies nonetheless, often
suggesting there are no other effective ways to protect victims and

Southeastern Christian Association, Inc. (SECA) is a national human
rights organization headquartered in Houston, Texas. It joins those
who believe that concealing evidence should not be an official
strategy for obtaining criminal convictions in America. To amplify
the sinisterness of closed file policies, SECA through its state
division West Texas Beat, asked both the Committee On Criminal
Jurisprudence and Committee On Juvenile Justice and Family Issues of
the Texas House to consider "the devastating effects a prosecutor's
closed file policy can have on children" in the context of two (2)
cases out of Abilene,Texas.

Now is your turn to act - Come Rally With Us!
Prison Ministries; Juvenile Court Reform Activists; Child Advocates;
Family Advocates;
Criminal Justice System Reform Activists; Civil Rights Activists;
Concerned Citizens . . .

It is very important that we get an astronomical amount of people to
participate in a rally that will take place in Abilene, Texas.
We will march from the Federal Courthouse to the State Courthouse.

Monday February 5, 2007
(time to be announced)
Abilene, Texas

Those who want to speak at the rally should contact Dr. Le Roy Gillam
immediately: 832.228.3207

On Line Advocacy Starts Today!

Reinforce SECA's requests for investigation with a flood of
supportive phone calls, emails, and faxes.
Let the Texas Legislature know your views on the closed file policies
of state prosecutors.
With your help, Texas will see an end to closed file policies among
its prosecutors.
With your help, two Texas teenagers may receive justice at long

For more info: