Thursday, March 26, 2009

Raft of innocence bills hit Senate committee next week

Lots of innocence-related legislation posted on next Tuesday's Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee agenda.

I'll be discussing several of these bills on the blog in the coming days. A number of them are under negotiation with law enforcement interests and will likely have "committee substitutes" which will substantially alter language currently posted online.
With that caveat, the key innocence bills up on Tuesday's Senate hearing include:
  • SB 116 (Ellis) Relating to electronically recording certain interrogations and the admissibility of certain statements made by a juvenile or a criminal defendant.
  • SB 117 (Ellis) Relating to photograph and live lineup identification procedures in criminal cases. (Scaled back substantially from original, filed version.)
  • SB 1681 (Hinojosa) Relating to requiring the corroboration of certain testimony to support a criminal conviction. (This bill expands on the requirement for corroborating informants in undercover drug stings passed when Hinojosa chaired the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in the House in 2001; Chairman Whitmire, if memory serves, carried that bill in the senate.)
  • SB 1916 (West) Relating to the automatic expunction of arrest records and files pertaining to an individual who has been pardoned.
  • SB 1847 (Hegar) Relating to the provision of services to a wrongfully imprisoned person who is discharged from a correctional facility.
  • SB 1976 (Whitmire) Relating to procedures for applications for writs of habeas corpus based on scientific evidence establishing the innocence of a criminal defendant. (Another bill where clarifying substitute language will likely be submitted at the hearing.)
These are just the highlights; the agenda will include other, similarly themed legislation. I'm busy this afternoon or I'd expand on the each of them, but readers should discuss their initital impressions in the comments.

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