Wed April 24, 2013
Bill To Establish Exoneration Commission Expected To Pass Senate
The Texas House overwhelming approved House Bill 166, a bill that would set up a governor-appointed exoneration commission.
Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, authored the bill that sets up the Timothy Cole Exoneration Commission, named after the late Tim Cole who died in prison before his name could be cleared.
Toth: "Did any of them get an explanation as to why they were sent to jail wrongfully? Did any of them be given a reason why or what went wrong in the their case?"
McClendon: "No, that’s the problem, that's the problem. These men and women were sent to prison, convicted and allowed to stay in prison and, I hate to say it, rot in prison."
Some on the House floor were skeptical about the scope of the bill. Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, questioned what would happen to those who have prosecuted or presided over a wrongful conviction.
"I don’t have a problem with the commission saying, 'Hey, I think this judge did wrong.' I don’t understand why a finding in an unelected panel is going to be used in a subsequent civil or criminal proceeding," Phillips said.
The bill passed on a second reading and the House still has a third recorded vote before it moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass without any complications.