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HB 333, if passed, would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure (Section 15, Article 42.12) by affecting procedures for defendants under felony supervision. Namely, the bill would allow a judge to authorize, on written motion, a review of the defendant’s record, a reduction of the jail felony to a Class A misdemeanor, provided two-thirds of the original community supervision period have been completed.
Certain conditions must be met, the most important of which is that the felony in question must not have been burglary, burglary of a vehicle, improper sexual activity with a person in custody, driving while intoxicated with a child passenger, an offense against the person, an offense of failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements, or an offense involving family violence.
Other conditions include a fulfillment to the judge’s satisfaction of community supervision requirements, the defendant not being delinquent on any fines, defendant compliance with all conditions of community supervision, copies of motions being provided to both the judge, and the state, and the judge filing a record that the decision is in the best interest of justice.
HB 333 is a good bill in that it is a well-crafted and focused way to provide introduce reasonable alternatives to the criminal justice system. If an defendant has not committed an egregious crime, and if he has complied with all rules and procedures during his incarceration, we see no reason to oppose a lessening of the sentence, a goal which HB 333 seeks to achieve. Aside from the compassionate reasons, such policies promote good behavior and, more germane to our issues, is likely to benefit society by creating positive incentives and by saving the taxpayer money by reducing prison maintenance and recidivism costs. As such we support HB 333.