FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2015
(512) 463-0120 office
AUSTIN, TX - Today, the Texas House of Representatives passed two measures by Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa that furthers Texas' legacy as the leader in forensic science reform. S.B. 1287 requires the Forensic Science Commission to establish a process for licensing forensic analysts and requires forensic analysts to obtain licensing by January 1, 2019. S.B. 1743 would provide an avenue for proper legal representation for certain defendants seeking habeas corpus relief for convictions based on forensic errors or junk science. S.B. 1743 also renames the Office of Capital Writs to the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
"Senate Bill 1287 would make Texas a national leader in forensic science by developing the state's own licensing program to ensure forensic analysts are held to the highest standards. Senate Bill 1287 would continue the state's reforms to ensure our forensic analysts are highly trained to do their important work in forensic testing. The testimony of forensic analysts is often a deciding factor in criminal cases, so it is critical that we establish minimum standards for their work in Texas."
"S.B. 1743 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."
"The standards developed in Texas will serve as a model for other states."
Senator Hinojosa was an original author of the 2005 legislation that created the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which investigates professional negligence or misconduct that affects the integrity of the results of forensic analysis conducted by accredited laboratories.