Criminal Justice
9:00 AM, Thursday, May 13, 2010
E1.016 (Hearing Room)
Senator John Whitmire
The Senate Committee on Criminal Justice will meet to hear invited and
public testimony on the following interim charges:  
Interim Charge 3
Review the performance of the Fair Defense Act and the Task Force on
Indigent Defense. Study key outcomes of the law, including: appointment
rates in felony and misdemeanor cases; state and county indigent defense
expenditures; attorney caseloads; attorney compensation; access to
investigators and experts; and overall quality of counsel for the
indigent. Examine the Task Force on Indigent Defense's effectiveness in
monitoring and enforcing standards and design strategies to improve the
delivery of services for indigent defense, including timing of the
appointment of counsel, the use of the appointment wheel and the
monitoring of workloads and performance of attorneys.
Interim Charge 10
Evaluate the usage of current Texas practices for facilitating the fair
and accurate courtroom testimony of children and reducing the trauma
associated with testifying, particularly for children who are victims of
sexual abuse. Specifically consider recent efforts and trends across the
nation to develop best practices, including "court orientation" programs,
and ensure that courtrooms are more child friendly and accommodating for
young victims to reduce the trauma associated with testifying in court
while ensuring that fair and accurate information is solicited from the
child as a witness.
*If submitting written testimony or distributing handouts, please provide
15 copies, with your name on each copy, to the committee when called to