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Relating to the state's continuing duty to disclose exculpatory, impeachment, or mitigating evidence in a criminal case and prohibited retaliation against local assistant prosecutors for discharging that duty.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1717 would expand the continuing duty of the state to disclose additional evidence in a criminal case to apply regardless of the date the offense was committed. Prosecuting attorneys would not be permitted to retaliate against an assistant prosecutor for disclosing evidence that the state is required to disclose. An assistant prosecutor whose employment is terminated for that reason would be able to bring a civil action for injunctive relief, damages, and attorney’s fees and court costs. Assistant prosecutors who are ordered by the prosecuting attorney not to disclose certain evidence would also be permitted to bring the evidence to the court to obtain a determination as to whether they are required to disclose it under the law.
Texas Action supports HB 1717 because it would protect the due process rights of criminal defendants and limit prosecutorial abuse. Prosecuting attorneys should fulfill their obligations to disclose mitigating evidence to the full extent of the law. HB 1717 would protect assistant prosecutors who attempt to follow the law and provide fairness for defendants in their cases.