FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2015
(512) 463-0120 office
AUSTIN, TX - Yesterday, the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice passed Senate Bill (S.B.) 1743 by Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa relating to expanding the powers and duties of the office of capital writs and renaming the office of capital writs the office of capital and forensic writs. Currently, the Office of Capital Writs (O.C.W.) is tasked with providing legal representation to indigent defendants charged with capital offenses. S.B. 1743 would allow the O.C.W. to also represent defendants whose convictions were based on forensic errors or junk science. The bill would also rename the O.C.W. the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
"I am pleased the Criminal Justice Committee unanimously supported S.B. 1743.
"This bill furthers Texas' legacy as the leader in forensic science reform and would provide an avenue for proper legal representation for defendants convicted based on flawed forensic evidence.
"This bill builds on the habeas corpus relief created last session that allows a court to overturn a conviction if the conviction was based on faulty forensic evidence or if new science contradicts the forensic evidence relied upon at the time of trial.
"S.B. 1743 is about protecting the integrity of our criminal justice system and restoring constitutional rights to innocent defendants convicted by flawed forensic evidence."