Interim Update: December 2017 Recap

            It’s been one heck of a crazy year, hasn’t it? As we observe today’s winter solstice, remember: No matter how dark you think it may be, things will only get brighter from here. (Literally—tonight will be the longest night of the year. It’s science. Yay!)

            At TDCAA HQ, we know that we have a lot for which to be thankful—starting with you, our members. We are fortunate to get to serve such wonderful people, and we wish all y’all a blessedly wonderful 2018!

 

Results of annual business meeting

            TDCAA held its annual business meeting during our Elected Prosecutor Conference earlier this month, at which time the following positions on the board of directors were filled:

President-Elect:                                  Jarvis Parsons, Brazos County DA

Secretary/Treasurer:                           Kenda Culpepper, Rockwall County CDA

District Attorney-at-Large:                 Dusty Boyd, Coryell County DA

Assistant Prosecutor-at-Large:           Justin Wood, Travis County ADA

Region 3 Representative:                   Jim Hicks, Taylor County CDA

Region 5 Representative:                   Jack Roady, Galveston County CDA

Region 6 Representative:                   Patrick Wilson, Ellis County C&DA

Region 8 Representative:                   Julie Renken, Washington/Burleson County DA

Congratulations to these new TDCAA officers!

 

New set-aside forms

            The Office of Court Administration has issued the new forms required by the passage of House Bill 1507 regarding the notification and awarding of probation set-asides, also known as judicial clemency. These forms/admonitions apply to offenders sentenced or released from probation on or after January 1, 2018, regardless of the date of their offense. If your judge(s) or clerk(s) are not aware of these changes, the forms can be found at this link: http://www.txcourts.gov/rules-forms/forms/ (look for Notice of Judicial Clemency and Order of Discharge under “Other Criminal Justice Forms”).

 

Interim legislative committee hearings

            Hearings posted for January as of today:

 

House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., Capitol Extension Rm. E2.014 

CHARGE: Assess the imposition of the death penalty on defendants with serious mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities; review statutorily prescribed jury instructions used during capital sentencing.
(Invited testimony only—so if you would like to be one of those invited witnesses on this topic, contact Shannon for more details.)

 

Prosecutor Trial Skills Conference

            Online registration for next month’s Prosecutor Trial Skills Course is still open, so if you have a new prosecutor in your office or someone just looking for a refresher, invite them to spend an engaging week in San Antonio learning the ropes with prosecutors from all over this great state. The course will be held in San Antonio on January 7–12; further event information can be found at the online registration page.

 

Quotes of the Month

 

“It’s turning into Tinder. It’s like, ‘Swipe left, swipe right.’”
            —Capt. Matt Kimbler, Burnet County Sheriff’s Department, on how an influx of out-of-county female detainees has changed life in the Burnet County Jail, where inmate-to-inmate jail mail had to be restricted because, in the captain’s words, it was getting “too ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’”

 

“I’m sure in at least a few cases, senators are not responding based on the logic that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” 
            —Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist, speculating on why two Texas state senators accused of sexual improprieties have yet to be censured or asked to resign by any of their peers.

 

“They want the authority, but not the responsibility.”
            —Paul Sugg, Legislative Director for the Texas Association of Counties, recapping what some have called “the most anti-local government legislation session since Reconstruction.”

 

“Judges got pretty excited in a not-positive way.”
            —Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, on the reaction to her plan to start collecting information on local judges’ workloads and case dispositions.

 

“I can’t believe ‘Where’s Waldo?’ is banned. Is Waldo tunneling out of prison or something?”
            —Lance Lowry, spokesman for the Texas Correctional Employees Union, commenting upon some of the publications denied to TDCJ inmates.

 

NOTE:

TDCAA’s offices will be closed Monday, December 25, 2017–Monday, January 1, 2018.

We will re-open on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

###