December 20, 2011
[For an update on this correction, be sure to visit FAQs on HB 79 and grand juries, posted 12/21/2011]
As first reported on our Twitter feed @TDCAA, we have a correction to make to last week's interim update. Specifically, in regard to terms of court and grand juries, we erred in stating that some grand juries' terms would be truncated due to the implementation of HB 79. As it turns out, there is a "saving clause" in Govt Code Sec. 24.018 that addresses the implementation of bills like HB 79:
Govt Code Sec. 24.018. CERTAIN EFFECT OF DISTRICT REORGANIZATION. If the counties that compose a judicial district or the time or place for holding terms of a district court are changed by law:
... (2) the grand and petit jurors selected or drawn under the prior law in any county in the judicial district are lawfully selected or drawn for the next term of the district court of the county as fixed by the amended law; and ...
Accordingly, we now subscribe to the opinion that a grand jury whose original term was to expire in early 2012 will now run "for the next full term ... as fixed by the amended law." In other words, the term for a grand jury impaneled in October 2011 (for example) will continue as of "the first Monday in January" and not end until the day before "the first Monday in July," which is the duration of the "next term of court" under HB 79's amendment to Govt Code Sec. 24.012.
Note that we brought this to the attention of OCA and they now share the new opinion that both of our old opinions were wrong. Misery loves company, we suppose, but the important thing is to get it right, and we think we have now done so. If you have any questions, feel free to contact TDCAA and we'll help you out as best we can.
Sorry for the confusion!
(P.s. - Tip o' the cap to the Starr CA Victor Canales, who first brought this statute to our attention.)