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Relating to the confidentiality of and discovery procedures relating to certain material regarding the protection or security of a witness; creating a criminal offense.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 508 is a procedural bill related to confidentiality of discovery related to certain criminal cases in which there has been witness intimidation necessitating the placement of a material witness in the witness protection program. In order for certain information to be released, the court would have to conduct an in camera review to determine that the production of a protected witness or related information is required by the United States Constitution or otherwise necessary to the case. Certain material related to a protected witness would be made confidential and the bill would make disclosure of material related to a protected witness a Class A misdemeanor.
A careful balance must be struck to protect the right of the accused to confront his accusers and to prevent justice from being thwarted through witness intimidation. While this bill appears to maintain that balance, it does not appear to affect our liberty principles. Texas Action remains neutral on SB 508.