Texas Legislative Updates

Yesterday, the Texas Senate gave final approval to legislation that requires police departments to adopt written guidelines for how they conduct eyewitness identification procedures.    Mistaken eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful conviction nationwide and was a  factor in 38 of the 45 Texas exonerations based on DNA testing.

This bill has already passed the House of Representatives and now heads to Texas Governor Rick Perry for his signature.

Another bill sponsored by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) that passed the Senate yesterday would give those wrongfully convicted and imprisoned
access to a health insurance plan through the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice.  In addition, it would require that attorneys who are representing exonorees charge fees that are based on a reasonable hourly rate.

This legislation also addresses the outrageous scenario faced by exonorees Anthony Graves and Clarence Brandley, who have been denied compensation on a technicality.  The legislation calls for exonorees to receive payment as long as they are shown to be innocent.  The bill heads to the House of Representatives for approval.

Read more about these and other pieces of reform legislation in the Dallas Morning News.