Pretrial & Defense

2023 Bills That Are Still Moving Or Have Become Law

Last updated: June 19, 2023 

Texas’ 2023 Legislative Session is officially over, but our work isn’t done yet! Governor Abbott has until June 18 to sign bills, veto (reject) them, or let them pass into law without a signature. Now that the dust has settled, we’ve identified about 40 positive justice-related bills that still have a chance of becoming law (and a handful have already been approved by the Governor). 

Reports by TCJE and Restoring Justice lead to indigent defense improvements and transparency in Harris County

Over half of the people accused of crimes in Harris County’s criminal courts are indigent, meaning they cannot afford to hire a lawyer and require a court-appointed attorney to represent them. Texas courts have claimed that defendants do not have the right to choose who their court-appointed attorney is, despite Supreme Court caselaw suggesting otherwise. This means the court’s process of choosing appointed attorneys is of utmost importance.  

Don’t Reward Local News for Misleading the Public About Bond Reform

Every week, people in and around Houston (one of the largest cities in the US, with over 7 million people in the metro area) turn on their computers or televisions—and see bias and misinformation about the criminal legal system. It’s not just COPS and Law & Order, either. As TCJE’s recent research has found, false narratives run rampant in Houston-area TV news, especially English-language stations. And one of the worst offenders when it comes to misinformation about bond reform is “Breaking Bond,” a series on FOX 26 (KRIV-TV).

Are you getting the whole story? Lessons from our report on media bias in Harris County

This week, TCJE released a report I co-authored on media bias in local TV stations’ coverage of bond reform. When I first began working on this project, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Attempting to methodically analyze media coverage was a daunting task, and many key details needed to be defined. Which forms of media would we analyze? How would we determine bias? Which articles should be included or excluded?

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