First, the big innocence-related bill of the year:
HB 34 (Smithee) Relating to measures to prevent wrongful convictions. This bill came out of the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission recommendations and is being carried by that group's chair. It requires tracking and disclosure of confidential informant arrangements, recording of custodial interrogations, and requires law enforcement agencies to adopt the model eyewitness ID policy created by Sam Houston State's Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) instead of each coming up with their own. These are modest but important reforms, the most obvious next steps in the Legislature's decade-long, bipartisan effort to prevent false convictions.
Grits is also a big fan of another bill on the agenda Monday, HB 1465 (Moody) which tells judges to waive court costs if they determine a defendant is indigent. This makes loads of sense. If they're indigent, after all, they cannot pay.
One passing thought, though: On the House floor, Rep. Andrew Murr included an amendment to HB 351 (Canales), which earlier passed out of the same committee, to say courts could charge a "reasonable" fee if they assign an indigent person community service. Language in those two bills may need to be reconciled if both make it all the way through the process.
Finally, this blog doesn't generally follow capital issues, but I'm interested in HB 3054 by Herrero/Smithee