HB 34

85(R) - 2017
House Criminal Jurisprudence
Senate Criminal Justice
House Criminal Jurisprudence
Senate Criminal Justice
Criminal Procedure
Law Enforcement

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


John Smithee


Charles Perry

Bill Caption

Relating to measures to prevent wrongful convictions. 

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

This bill would modify various parts of the code of criminal procedure. The bill would require a state attorney to track the use of testimony of a person to whom a defendant made a statement against the defendant's interested while the person was imprisoned or confined in the same correctional facility as the defendant and track any benefits offered or provided to the person.

The bill would require that that unless good cause exists that makes electronic recording infeasible, a law enforcement agency would be required to make a complete and contemporaneous electronic recording of any custodial interrogation that occurs in a place of detention, of any person who is suspected or charged with committing certain serious offenses. 

This bill would allow evidence of a prior offense committed by certain people who testify against a defendant to be admitted for the purposes of impeachment if the person received a benefit in exchange for testimony. Procedures would be amended for photographic and live lineups. Statements made by defendants accused of certain crimes would generally not be admissible if they were not electronically recorded unless good cause can be established as to why no recording was made. Minimum curriculum requirements would be established statewide for comprehensive education and training on eyewitness identification. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

It is important to maintain the integrity of the justice system. One of the main ways to do that, is to take necessary measures to avoid wrongful convictions. This bill would satisfy our commitment to individual liberty and limited government by taking steps toward that end, therefore we support these reform efforts. 

Organizations Supporting

American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
Texas Appleseed
Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Texas Public Policy Foundation