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Relating to the authority of a court to grant a motion for a new trial in certain criminal cases.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
Currently, a motion for a new trial (meaning a rehearing of a criminal action after the trial court has set aside a finding or verdict of guilt) must be filed no later than 30 days after the date when the trial court imposed or suspended the sentence in open court. There are certain enumerated circumstances wherein a motion for a new trial must be granted, including when the verdict is contrary to the law and the evidence, when the jury has engaged in such misconduct that the defendant did not receive a fair and impartial trial, or when the court has misdirected the jury about the law or has committed some material error likely to injury the defendant's rights.
HB 4202 would allow a defendant, at any time during the period of a term of imprisonment of more than three years, or at any time after the imposition of the death penalty, to file, with the written consent of the district attorney or criminal district attorney, a motion for a new trial. This bill would require the motion to include an agreed statement of facts, and allow a court to grant the motion in the interest of justice.
This bill would also allow the state attorney to condition the attorney's consent to a motion for a new trial on any appropriate reason, including a requirement that the defendant: (1) plead guilty and accept a specific punishment; (2) waive the defendant's parole eligibility as part of any punishment agreement; or (3) waive the defendant's right to appeal.
Texas Action supports HB 4202 because it advances the principle of individual liberty by providing easier access to a motion for a new trial in the interests of justice, especially when there is consensus by the state, defendant, and trial court that such a trial should be granted.