P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2001
AUSTIN -- State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, spoke today at a news conference organized by the Texas Council on Family Violence highlighting domestic violence legislation in the 77th Legislature. Senator Nelson pre-filed the following five bills to curb family violence in Texas.
- SB 14: Requires that anyone convicted of a domestic assault that results in serious bodily injury serves at least half of the prison sentence.
- SB 15: Amends the Public Information Act to keep confidential the location, client information and other sensitive data kept by victim's shelters and sexual assault programs that receive state funding.
- SB 16: Removes "anger, rage, resentment" as adequate causes for a sudden passion defense in the punishment phase of a murder trial. As it is currently written, the sudden passion defense allows killers to put the behavior of the victim on trial in an attempt to justify murder and ultimately escape jail time.
- SB 17: Requires judges to notify prosecutors when considering a bail reduction for defendants accused of violent crimes.
- SB 18: Creates a criminal offense for interfering with emergency communication devices, the intent being to punish those who cut phone lines to prevent 9-1-1 calls.
The Texas Department of Public Safety estimates that more than a third of all women killed in Texas (35% in 1997) are murdered by their intimate male partners. DPS estimates that in 1999, 99 women were murdered by an intimate male partner. Overall, there were more than 175,000 cases of domestic violence in Texas and an estimated thousands more that went unreported.
"It is our responsibility to protect the victims of domestic violence; to lay as many legal roadblocks as possible in front of their abusers; and to prevent perpetrators of domestic violence from manipulating the court system. While defendants are entitled to a rigorous defense, something is gravely wrong in our legal system when an admitted killer can escape jail time by blaming the victim for their own murder and a judge can drastically reduce bail for violent offenders without even notifying the prosecution," Senator Nelson said.