In the aftermath of the Michael Morton exoneration, which raised issues of a prosecutor’s ethical and legal duties to reveal exculpatory and mitigating evidence to the defense, District Attorney Susan Reed proposed legislation requiring mandatory training for Texas prosecutors on the subject. Rep. Stefani Carter (R-Dallas) authored HB 1847 requiring mandatory training for newly hired prosecutors within six months of their employment. The bill also requires every prosecutor in the state to receive training on the subject as part of their continuing legal education requirements pursuant to rules established by the Court of Criminal Appeals. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston).
The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office mandates this training and many prosecutors in the state, particularly in large jurisdictions, currently receive similar instruction on these duties. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that every prosecutor in Texas receives this essential legal knowledge promptly and consistently throughout their prosecutorial career. Both Representative Carter and Senator Huffman are former prosecutors who understand the necessity for this training and championed in their respective chambers the legislation proposed by District Attorney Reed.
The House passed the bill on May 8th and yesterday the Senate voted to pass the bill. HB 1847 is now on its way for signature by the Governor.
For more information, please contact District Attorney Susan Reed at 210.335.2342.