Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Integrity unit plans for training, 'white paper', Michael Morton Act evaluation

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' Criminal Justice Integrity Unit yesterday issued a press release describing its recent activities and plans for the future. Four of the six items listed related to training.

Of particular note, "The TCJIU will hold a meeting this fall with all stakeholders regarding the Michael Morton Act. Stakeholders at the meeting will discuss the Act, its impact on the various stakeholders in the Texas criminal justice system, and how to assist participants in the criminal justice system to allocate the necessary resources to comply with the Act." I'm quite looking forward to that discussion.

In addition, “Following up on the successful May 1 meeting, stakeholders are providing 'best practices' for disclosure with respect to notifying interested parties when an irregularity has occurred in a criminal case or cases. Once the TCJIU has worked with stakeholders to identify 'best practices,' it will produce a white paper to provide a blueprint for statewide notification in an effort to prevent insufficient piecemeal solutions that could result in people 'falling through the cracks.'” (See Grits coverage of that meeting; you can listen to the whole thing here.) Grits wonders why the press release limited the white paper's focus to "notification"? At the May 1st meeting, there was a consensus that notification by itself would be ineffective without also creating a vehicle for indigent and/or incarcerated people to secure legal representation. Since the most important reform suggested for dealing with "irregularities" at that meeting (besides "training") was to create an appellate public defender for forensic writs, one hopes any "white paper" based on stakeholder suggestions would advocate and further that goal.


Darrow said...

Is the meeting open to the public ?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yeah, all of them are. You can sign up on the CCA site to be notified on the TCJIU events and the FSC posts its meeting dates and locations on their website.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Grits, do you happen to know who the Stakeholders are?

If the public at large is considered to be stakeholders, then publishing the notices in newspapers in all 254 counties should be mandatory. Thanks.