From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
February 19, 2001
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Statement of Senator Rodney Ellis on Senate Passage of SB 3

"Over the past two years, Texas' criminal justice system has been under the microscope, and high- profile miscarriages of justice -- from Anthony Robinson and Roy Criner to Christopher Ochoa and David Pope -- have eroded Texans' trust in our courts. The Texas Senate today answered the call. Approving SB 3 to allow the use of post-conviction DNA is a common-sense reform that takes a small but meaningful step toward restoring trust in our courts.

"We have witnessed the importance of this legislation. Because of technicalities in current law, our courts are not required to consider new DNA evidence on appeal, even if that evidence definitively proves innocence. Texas cannot allow Catch-22s and technicalities to be barriers that keep innocent people in prison. This important legislation will ensure that courts review post-conviction DNA testing so those who can prove their innocence do not languish behind bars.

"Every day an innocent person spends locked behind bars, society loses more of its faith in our justice system. While post-conviction DNA is an important step, it is only one piece of a mosaic to make the Texas criminal justice system one that we would like for people around the world to look at with envy as opposed to criticism. Texas must still do more to ensure a just and fair criminal justice system."

"I would like to thank Senator Duncan for his leadership, and Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Ratliff and my colleagues for their support of this important reform."