January-February 2018

A new notification duty for prosecutors

Mary McCaffity

Deputy Director of TDCJ’s Victim Services Division

House Bill 104, which was passed during the 85th Regular Session, creates a new notification duty requiring collab- oration between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Victim Services Division (VSD) and district attorneys throughout Texas. This bill applies to cases in which a defendant who, in connection with a previous conviction for an offense listed in Article 42A.054(a) or for which the judgment contains an affirmative finding under Article 42A.054(c) or (d):
    1)    received a sentence that included imprisonment at a TDCJ facility, and
    2)    was subsequently released from the imprisonment, including release on parole, to mandatory supervision, or following discharge of the defendant’s sentence.
    This legislation applies only to a criminal case in which the indictment is presented on or after December 1, 2017, regardless of the date of the alleged new offense.
    On or before the 10th day after the defendant is indicted on a subsequent offense as described above, the prosecutor must notify TDCJ’s VSD of the offense charged in the indictment. This notification may be made by completing the Subsequent Indictment on Article 42A.054(a) Offense and/or Finding of a Deadly Weapon Notification form, which is available at http://tdcj.state.tx.us/divisions/vs/hb104.html. Reports listing information for multiple defendants will be accepted provided that all required information is included.  
    Instructions for completing the form are at the same link. Upon receipt of the district attorney’s notification, the VSD will attempt to notify the victim. The completed form or a report listing multiple defendants can be submitted by email (preferred) at [email protected]; fax at 512/452-0825; or mail at TDCJ Victim Services Division, 8712 Shoal Creek Blvd., Ste. 264, Austin, TX 78757. Please contact the TDCJ VSD at 512/406-5900 or [email protected] if you have questions.