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Relating to the composition and duties of the capital and forensic writs committee.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 280 would expand the authority of the Capital and Forensic Writs Committee, requiring them to both set policy and develop a budget for the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs. The size of the Committee would expand from five to seven members. Rather than all being appointed by the State Bar, three members would be chosen by the Texas Indigent Defense Committee, two would be chosen by the State Bar, and the remaining two would be chosen by a majority of deans of the public law schools in Texas. SB 280 would require each member to be a licensed attorney and have significant experience in capital or indigent criminal defense. Prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and judges that oversee criminal offenses would be barred from appointment.
Reorganizing the Capital and Forensic Writs Committee does not appear to affect our liberty principles. Texas Action is neutral on SB 280.