Bill Text: TX SB1492 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Comm Sub


Bill Title: Relating to grand jury proceedings and establishing a commission to study improvements and alternatives to those proceedings.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-05-18 - Committee report distributed [SB1492 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB1492-Comm_Sub.html
 
 
  By: Whitmire, et al. S.B. No. 1492
 
  (Collier, Thompson of Harris)
 
   
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to grand jury proceedings and establishing a commission to
  study improvements and alternatives to those proceedings.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Article 20.012, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (d) to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Questions propounded by the grand jury or the attorney
  representing the state to a fact witness or a person accused or
  suspected and the testimony of that person to the grand jury shall
  be recorded either by a stenographer or by use of an electronic
  device capable of recording sound.
         (d)  For purposes of this article, "fact witness" means a
  person who is testifying regarding the person's personal knowledge
  of events relating to the case under investigation by the grand
  jury.  The term does not include a law enforcement officer who:
               (1)  is acting in the lawful discharge of the officer's
  official duty;
               (2)  is assisting the attorney representing the state
  by presenting evidence to the grand jury; and
               (3)  has no personal knowledge of events relating to
  the case under investigation by the grand jury.
         SECTION 2.  Chapter 20, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended by adding Article 20.013 to read as follows:
         Art. 20.013.  CERTAIN INVESTIGATIONS AND VOTES BY GRAND JURY
  PROHIBITED.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), a grand
  jury may not investigate a person who is accused or suspected of an
  offense and may not vote to present an indictment for the offense if
  the person has previously been investigated by a grand jury for the
  same offense, that grand jury voted on whether to present an
  indictment, and fewer than nine grand jurors concurred in finding
  the bill.
         (b)  A grand jury may investigate, and may present an
  indictment with respect to, a person described by Subsection (a)
  only if the attorney representing the state presents to the grand
  jury material evidence that was not known to the applicable
  attorney representing the state before or during the previous grand
  jury investigation.
         SECTION 3.  (a)  In this section, "commission" means the
  Texas Commission on Grand Juries.
         (b)  The commission is established to develop
  recommendations for improvements to the grand jury system and
  explore alternative procedures for establishing probable cause to
  proceed to trial in a felony case.
         (c)  The commission is composed of 11 members, consisting of
  the following:
               (1)  five members appointed by the governor;
               (2)  three members appointed by the lieutenant
  governor; and
               (3)  three members appointed by the speaker of the
  house of representatives.
         (d)  The members appointed by the governor must include:
               (1)  one member who is a district judge selected from a
  list of 10 names submitted by the Texas Center for the Judiciary;
               (2)  one member who is a prosecuting attorney selected
  from a list of 10 names submitted by the Texas District and County
  Attorneys Association;
               (3)  one member who is a criminal defense attorney
  selected from a list of 10 names submitted by the Texas Criminal
  Defense Lawyers Association;
               (4)  one member who is a county judge or county
  commissioner selected from a list of 10 names submitted by the Texas
  Association of Counties; and
               (5)  one member who has served as the foreperson of a
  grand jury in this state.
         (e)  The members appointed by the lieutenant governor and the
  speaker of the house of representatives must each consist of three
  members of the applicable legislative chamber.
         (f)  The governor shall designate the presiding officer of
  the commission.
         (g)  A member of the commission is not entitled to
  compensation or reimbursement of expenses.
         (h)  Not later than December 1, 2020, the commission shall
  prepare and deliver to the governor and the legislature a report
  that recommends:
               (1)  improvements to the grand jury system, including
  the identification of any statutory changes necessary for that
  purpose; and
               (2)  alternative procedures for establishing probable
  cause to proceed to trial in a felony case.
         (i)  The commission is abolished January 12, 2021.
         SECTION 4.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  a grand jury proceeding that begins on or after the effective date
  of this Act.  A grand jury proceeding that begins before the
  effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the
  date the proceeding began, and the former law is continued in effect
  for that purpose.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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