Here's an update on matters affecting lawyers and the criminal (in)justice system that were introduced into the recently completed regular session of the Texas Legislature that were mentioned in this blawg.
HB1173: This bill would give the state 36 hours to hold a probable cause hearing in counties with more than three million residents (Harris County) instead of having to hold the hearing within 24 hours. The bill passed both the House and Senate and was sent to the Governor on May 30, 2011.
SB1879/HB3807: This bill would have allowed the City of Houston to use recording devices instead of court reporters in trials in municipal court. The House passed its version but the bill never got out of the senate committee.
HB243: This bill would make it a criminal offense to text while driving in Texas. The House passed the bill but it never came up for a vote in the Senate.
HB96: This bill would have allowed the prosecution's chief investigator to set in the courtroom and listen to testimony - even if "The Rule" were invoked. It passed the House but never came up for a vote in the Senate.
HB1072: This bill would have waived State Bar dues for lawyers employed by the State of Texas. It passed the House but never came up for a vote in the Senate.
HB189: This bill would have made first-time DWI offenders eligible for deferred adjudication - but not for an order of nondisclosure. The bill would also allow a DWI "dismissed" through deferred adjudication to be used for enhancement purposes. The bill passed the House but failed to get out of committee in the Senate.
SB152: This bill would have allowed for the admissibility of evidence of prior bad acts by individuals charged with certain sexual offenses. The Senate passed the bill but it never came up for a vote in the House.
SB232: This bill would have mandated the SCRAM device for certain probationers in alcohol-related cases. It failed to get out of committee.
SB1526: This bill would have mandated reciprocal discovery in criminal cases. It, too, failed to get out of committee.