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TDS Sunset Recommendations

TDS Sunset Recommendations

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Published by texasdefender
TDS Recommendations to the Texas Sunset Advisory Committee regarding the Board of Pardons and Paroles, May 21, 2012
TDS Recommendations to the Texas Sunset Advisory Committee regarding the Board of Pardons and Paroles, May 21, 2012

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Categories:Business/Law
Published by: texasdefender on May 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/23/2012

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 Please Reply to the Austin Office
 
May 21, 2012
 
Sunset Advisory CommissionPO Box 13066Austin, TX 78711
Via email to: 
 sunset@sunset.state.tx.us Re: Sunset Staff Report on the Texas Department of CriminalJustice, Windham School District, Correctional ManagedHealth Care Committee and Board of Pardons and ParolesDear Sunset Advisory Commission:Texas Defender Service (TDS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizationdedicated to establishing a fair and just criminal justice system inTexas.Thank you for the opportunity to provide written comment on theabove-referenced sunset staff report. TDS takes no position on therecommendations made in the staff report.This comment
submits a new issue for the Sunset Commission’s
consideration.
ISSUE:
Increase transparency of the clemency process in capitalcases and expand the venue of last resort for innocence claimsprior to execution.
BACKGROUND:
Section 11, Article IV of the Texas Constitutiongives the Board of Pardons and Paroles the power to makerecommendations to the Governor regarding clemency. Exceptwhen granting a one-time 30-day reprieve, the Governor lacks thepower to grant a reprieve or commute a capital sentence to a lifesentence without a recommendation from the Board of Pardonsand Paroles.Currently the condemned is required to make a petition forclemency at least 21 days before his or her execution date. Thepetition and other writings related to the clemency process areexempt from the Public Information Act. When the Board considersa clemency petition they vote behind closed doors.The clemency process in capital cases plays two roles offundamental public importance. First, the clemency process is thefinal opportunity to look at the substance of the case against the
 
 Austin office
510 S. CongressSuite 304Austin, Texas 78704[v] 512.320.8300[f ] 512.477.2153
 Houston office
1927 Blodgett St.Houston, Texas 77004[v] 713-222.7788[f ] 713-222.0260www.texasdefender.org
 Executive Director 
Kathryn M. Kase
Post Conviction Director 
Gregory W. Wiercioch
Trial Project Director 
John P. Niland
 Board of Directors
Prof. Jordan Steiker,
Chair 
Stephen B. BrightCharles S. KelleyAlison LelandNeal S. ManneRobert MorrowProf. Jeff Pokorak Douglas RobinsonRaoul SchonemannElisabeth Semel

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