The legislature needs to act in the next session to make some important changes to protect the good citizens. Abusive cops, abusive DAS and abusive judges will not self correct. Going to Federal court takes too long. The Texas Legislature needs to pass laws to effectuate changes for those thrust into the aptly named criminal justice system. My Suggested changes are listed below:
1. Citizens Bill of Rights – We need to codify a citizen’s basic rights when they have a police encounter.
2. Family of Police Shootings- They are often victims, or at least often innocent of any wrongdoing. They are rarely accorded any Information. We need a statute that requires the police/ state to timely inform the next of kin of certain facts, like, if and when the shooting case is presented to a grand jury.
3. Willful Prosecutorial Misconduct-We need to criminalize a prosecutor’s willful withholding of exculpatory evidence or willful manufacturing of evidence that leads to a Wrongful conviction. There can be no statute of limitations. It needs to be a felony. It Needs to be at least a third degree felony. The statute needs to state in all case A special prosecutor will be assigned.
4. Granting of PR bonds- We need to combat the systematic denial of PR bonds with legislation. We need a statute that utilizes current PTS evaluations. We need to have a rebuttable presumption that a magistrate will grant a PR bond at the earliest opportunity to any individual who:
1. Has no prior criminal record;
2. Has a low to moderate risk assessment by PTS;
3. Is currently charged with:
Any offense on an enumerated list of non- violent misdemeanors or
Any felony possession of less than a gram wherein the defendant will be automatically accorded probation .
5. Sealing Records- We need to make it easier for people to seal their record and we need to expand the ability to do so. We need to expand who is eligible to file petitions for non disclosure to include people who received straight probation. We need to shorten the amount of time after a felony community supervision is completed for eligibility to file a petition for non disclosure.
The legislature needs to act to protect the people of this state from those who use their power to abuse us.
There is no such thing as a small tyrant. Damn all tyrants.
Robb Fickman, Houston