HB 2150

84(R) - 2015
House Criminal Jurisprudence
House Criminal Jurisprudence
Criminal Procedure

Vote Recommendation

Vote Yes; Amend
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


Carol Alvarado


Abel Herrero
Joe Moody
Debbie Riddle
Gene Wu

Bill Caption

Relating to the organization of a grand jury and qualifications for service as a grand juror.

Fiscal Notes

A fiscal note dated April 13, 2015 anticipates no significant fiscal implication to the State or to units of local government.

Bill Analysis

House Bill 2150 would amend Article 19.26 of the Code of Criminal Procedure related to jury impaneled.

The bill would change the maximum number of alternates from 2 to 4 that the court would have to qualify and impanel to serve on disqualification or unavailability of a juror during the term of a grand jury.

It would provide that the procedure established by subsection 19.26(b) could be used on the disqualification or unavailability of a second or subsequent grand juror. It would also qualify a juror as unavailable if the juror is unwilling to serve on the grand jury or is otherwise neglecting the juror's duty to serve.

House Bill 2150 would add to the list of causes to challenge a particular grand juror orally.

House Bill 2150 would require that a juror recuse himself or herself if the juror believes he or she could be subject to a valid challenge; failure to do so could result in the juror being held in contempt of court. It would also require that a person authorized to be present in the grand jury room shall report a known violation of this subsection to the court. The court would have to instruct the jury about these provisions.

Vote Recommendation Notes

According to its statement of purpose, House Bill 2150 seeks to make the grand jury system more efficient in removing bias from a grand jury pool.

The bill would provide for additional alternate jurors, lists possible challenges that may arise against a juror and requires that a juror recuse himself or herself if he or she thinks there is basis for challenge.

The bill would clarify and put in statute the possible challenges to a juror, as well as give the option to an individual to be considered unavailable if the individual is unwilling to serve. In that sense, House Bill 2150 would reduce the scope of Government and favor individual liberty. As a consequence, we support this bill.

We would recommend that it be amended though in order to remove the possibly of a juror being held in contempt of the court if the juror does not recuse himself or herself if the juror believes he or she could be challenged. This provision could be too broadly interpreted and may lead to unnecessary contempt charges against grand jurors.