Texas ‘Innocence Committee’ Legislation Fails

June 4th, 2009

In an attempt to reduce the number of wrongful convictions, the Texas state legislature recently attempted to craft a series of bills intended to “expand prisoner access to DNA testing, clarify how to handle pardoning innocent Texans after their death and change how departments interrogate and collect eyewitness evidence” (Elliot Blackburn, Lubbock Online). Calls for action were spurred by the high rate of wrongful conviction in the State and the posthumous exoneration of Timothy Cole in 2008 for an incorrect rape conviction. Passage was eventually derailed by the close of the legislative session on Monday, June 1, 2009, after debates over photo identification requirements for voting pushed the issue off the agenda. State Governor Rick Perry did recently sign a bill providing compensation to wrongly convicted individuals and members of the Senate hope to renew the attempts at reform in the next session.