SB 1828

84(R) - 2015
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice
Transportation & Infrastructure

Companion Bill

HB 102

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Negative


Judith Zaffirini

Bill Caption

Relating to the creation of the offense of cargo theft.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State or units of local government is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

SB 1828 would create a new offense called "cargo theft". This offense is committed when a person conducts, promotes, or facilitates stolen cargo. A truck driver who fails to deliver the entire cargo or causes the seal to be broken in the cargo shipment would be liable to be indicted for this offense. This penalty scale would start at a state jail felony and go up to first degree felony if the total value of the cargo involved is $200,000 or more. A first degree felony can be subjected to up to life in prison. It is not a defense to prosecution if the actor was solicited to commit the offense by a peace officer.

Vote Recommendation Notes

We oppose this bill as an unnecessary growth of government with likely overcriminalization implications. Our three main objections to the bill are:

1. Theft is already a crime under the 31.03 of the Penal Code. There is no need to create a new offense and penalty ladder for something that is already illegal and fully punishable under current law.

2. SB 1828 would create a vague and overly broad law based on the legal definitions of the terms "cargo", "goods", and "vehicle" as described in the bill and in sections of current statute cited in the bill. This could create a situation where a local delivery driver who steals or facilitates the theft of items of minimal value would be liable for a penalty starting at the state jail felony level. Currently theft is a state jail felony if the value is $1,200 or greater up to the value that confers the next level of penalty. This bill sets the state jail felony for cargo theft at any value under $10,0000 which would include values  under $1,200. Laws that are overly broad or set penalties that are disproportionate to the crime are clear cases of overcriminalization.

3. This bill would not recognize entrapment as a defense to prosecution. Entrapment laws are well-established due process protections at the state and federal level. Violating due process in this way is inconsistent with limited government and individual liberty.

For these reasons we oppose this well-intentioned but ill-advised legislation.

Organizations Supporting

American Insurance Association
Dallas Police Department
Houston Police Department
Texas Municipal Police Association