HB 3391

85(R) - 2017
House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Senate State Affairs
House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Senate State Affairs
Criminal Procedure
Law Enforcement

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Charlie Geren


Brian Birdwell

Bill Caption

Relating to the creation of a specialty court for certain public safety employees who commit a criminal offense; imposing fees for participation and testing, counseling, and treatment.

Fiscal Notes

The bill would have a positive, but indeterminate, fiscal impact to the state. The number of program participants and associated revenue from program fees and fees to cover necessary costs cannot be determined and the number of new specialty courts that would be established is unknown. 

Bill Analysis

This bill would allow counties to establish a specialty court for qualified public safety employees, including peace officers, firefighters, detention officers, county jailers, or emergency medical service employees. Eligibility requirements would apply. The public safety employee treatment court program would use a nonadversarial legal approach to provide access to a continuum of services and rehabilitative treatments, monitoring of treatment, family participation, and other enumerated monitoring and programmatic provisions.

After successful completion of the program, a court may dismiss the charges against the defendant.

Current or former public safety employees would be eligible for this specialty court if they suffer from a brain injury, mental illness, or a mental disorder (including PTSD) that occurred during, or resulted from, the defendant’s duties as a public safety employee and affected the defendant’s criminal conduct at issue in the case. If a current or former public safety employee does not meet the aforementioned conditions, they may still be eligible for participation in the specialty court program if they are likely to rehabilitate, considering the circumstances of their conduct, personal and social background, criminal history.

Vote Recommendation Notes

If the public safety employee treatment court program is enacted, the rule of law would be diminished. If everyone else is subject to our adversarial legal system, public safety employees should be treated the same. No one should not be granted a special privilege to special courts merely because of the profession they chose. Justice applied unequally is not justice at all.

Giving law enforcement personnel special treatment not otherwise afforded to those they enforce the law against would put them above the law to some extent because the consequences of their criminal conduct would be lower compared to others not afforded the specialty court privilege. This is outside of the proper role a limited government should play in providing equal justice for all. For these reasons we oppose HB 3391.