SB 487

84(R) - 2015
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


Rodney Ellis


Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
John Whitmire

Bill Caption

Relating to postconviction forensic DNA analysis.

Fiscal Notes

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

Bill Analysis

SB 487 would permit a convicted person to submit a motion for forensic DNA testing of evidence “that has a reasonable likelihood of” containing biological material. This is more permissive than the current statute which only allows a convicted defendant to submit for DNA testing "evidence containing biological material" meaning that under current law before being able to submit evidence for testing they would first have to prove that it has biological material. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

The current law places a high burden on testing which may prevent exculpatory evidence from being properly examined and uncovered.

This specific chapter in statute “Motion for Forensic DNA Testing” was created in 2001 due to advances in forensic DNA analysis and has since exonerated 41 individuals within Texas. Prior to this addition there were only 7 DNA related exonerations. This bill would broaden the scope of items that would be considered for DNA analysis and would allow scientific advancements in DNA analysis to release innocent inmates from prison. We support this bill for promoting individual liberty.

To understand the liberty-affirming impact of this bill one only need to consider the recent case of Williamson County's own Michael Morton who spent 25 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder only to finally have his conviction overturned due to DNA evidence. A government that is limited will take reasonable measures and precautions to protect against wrongful convictions and, in the event of a conviction, to examine new evidence that "has a reasonable likelihood" of leading toward the exoneration of the wrongfully convicted. 

Additional information provided by the Innocence Project of Texas. To view their resources, click here.