What was the bill H.B. 115, "The Texas Innocence Commission," and why was it oppossed and/or supported?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Texas House Bill #115 was a bill put forth to create a "Texas Innocence Commission," a group that would focus investigative duties on people who had been proven innocent in a court of law. According to the bill:

The commission shall make thorough review or investigation of all cases in which an innocent person was convicted and exonerated...

The idea is that people who have been arrested, convicted, and then found innocent are entitled to a certain amount of reperations from the state for putting them through the process. Often, citizens will be unable to afford costly court fees, fines, and legal counsel fees, not to mention the social stigma of being associated with criminal conviction. With the Innocence Commission, individuals who had been proven innocent would have the right to a proper investigation into their innocence, showing how the process worked or did not work correctly, resulting in the improper conviction. The bill was rejected at a vote of 91-51, and was opposed mainly because it was thought that this process could easily be politicized by media attention and be misused in some cases to gain public favor instead of going through existing legal channels. 


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