Interim Update: November 2017 Recap

We’re more than halfway through the 2018 election filing period, which ends on Monday, December 11, at 6:00 p.m. For those of you competing in next year’s political version of the Hunger Games, may the odds be ever in your favor!


Notice of annual business meeting

            TDCAA will hold its annual business meeting during our Elected Prosecutor Conference on Wednesday, December 6, at 5:15 p.m. at the Omni Southpark Hotel in Austin. At that meeting, various positions on the board of directors will be filled. The Nominations Committee has put forth the following candidates for these positions:

     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

In addition, representatives from Regions 3, 5, 6, and 8 will be nominated and selected by regional caucuses. For more details (including a regional map), click here.


Interim legislative committee hearings

            All’s quiet on this front, with no relevant committee hearings scheduled for December as of now. We’ll discuss some of the interim topics at our conference next week, but we don’t expect much action on any of them until after the new year. (Don't be surprised if the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee starts off 2018 with a hearing in mid-January on it's charge to fine-tune state law regarding the application of the death penalty to defendants with severe mental illness or intellectual disability, but nothing is official yet.)


New TDCJ notification duty kicks in tomorrow

            By now, every felony prosecutor’s office should have received information from TDCJ’s Victim Services Division on how to comply with House Bill 104, the new law that requires you to notify that department when you indict a past 3g offender for a new 3g offense. (Yes, we know it’s called something different now, but we are creatures of habit.) If you are unaware of this new duty, learn more about it by visiting this TDCJ webpage and be sure to share that information with the person(s) in your office who will be responsible for complying with this new unfunded early Christmas present from the Legislature.


Book correction

            We have regrettably discovered that the version of Penal Code §42.09(c) in our annotated Criminal Laws of Texas mistakenly contains language from §42.092 instead of §42.09. For a corrected version of that animal cruelty statute, click this link for a free download of a new page 117 that can be inserted into your annotated books. (The version of §42.09 in the spiral-bound Penal Code book is correct and needs no replacement.) We sincerely apologize for the error and any resulting inconvenience this may cause you.


Elected Prosecutor Conference

            Registration for next week’s Elected Prosecutor Conference is now closed, but walk-in registrations will be accepted; click here for related information.


Quotes of the Month


“I don’t believe gun control is the answer. …  can tell you this: Don’t come to another church in South Texas and try to shoot somebody, because everybody’s gonna be armed.”
            —Robert Kunz, Sutherland Springs resident, in the aftermath of the mass church shooting earlier this month.


“The women who do this work have had no recourse. Even if you did name any of this, who would you go to? There’s no HR department. The people in leadership positions are men, and they’re the ones doing these things.”
            —Taylor Holden, who worked in Texas politics for nearly five years, describing the rampant sexual harassment that still exists in the Texas state capitol and various political campaigns.


“A ‘great candidate’ who can’t raise money is like a great quarterback in the NFL who can’t pass—it doesn’t exist.”
            —Harold Cook, Democratic political consultant, in an article describing how much fundraising is required to run for various elective offices in Texas.


“There are going to be alcoholic beverages that will also contain cannabis.”
            —Rob Sands, CEO of Constellation Brands, the beer and spirits company that produces products like Corona beer, after his company invested almost $200 million in a Canadian company that produces legal marijuana in that country.


“Support for the group has surged in 2017, bolstered by a massive resistance movement that began mobilizing last November, he said. In the 10 months since Trump took office, membership quadrupled from 400,000 to 1.6 million and online donations skyrocketed from about $5 million to $85 million.”
            —From a Houston Chronicle article on the resurgence of the ACLU over the past year [They have more funding than they know what to do with right now, so you can expect them to be much more involved in criminal justice issues in Texas next session].


“There wasn’t a lot of talk about values or self-care. It was more, ‘Buck up, Buttercup. You can do this.’”
            —Kirsten Pabst, Missoula (MT) County Attorney, describing the most common coping mechanism in her office before she initiated an in-house secondary trauma program for staff members struggling to deal with man’s inhumanity to man.


“It was the most fun I ever had as a lawyer.”
            —Scott Barnard, partner in charge of the Dallas office of Akin Gump Strauss & Feld, referring to his pro bono stint in the Dallas DA’s Office under their innovative “Lawyer on Loan” program.