From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
Friday, November 11, 2004
Contact: Kenneth Besserman,
(512) 463-0113

Senator Ellis speaks about the Court of Criminal Appeals funding innocence clinics

I understand that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is becoming interested in funding innocence clinics and innocence projects in Texas. I am encouraged that the Court recognizes that innocence issues and wrongful incarcerations are an ever-increasing problem in our state and criminal justice system.

I hope that the Court will take the necessary steps to ensure that all the innocence clinics and projects in the state have an equal opportunity to receive any funding that the Court may grant. There are some very good innocence clinics around the state and they all deserve funding to make sure that they can adequately represent those people that may have been wrongfully incarcerated.

In 2003, I introduced an Innocence Commission bill that would have set up a mechanism to allow the state to look at problems in our criminal justice system -- bad lawyering, prosecutorial misconduct, DNA and evidence problems -- and recommend changes that will fix the problems in our criminal justice system. I plan to reintroduce this bill in the upcoming legislative session and hope to work closely with the Court of Criminal Appeals to secure some funding and support for this legislation.