Criminal Justice Integrity Unit created by Texas High Court to Address Growing Concerns
A new Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit has been formed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to address concerns in the justice system and to work with inmates who may have been wrongfully convicted. The state's highest court for criminal matters will study issues such as eyewitness identification, crime lab reliability, police interrogations, and standards for preserving evidence. Since 2001, 33 men have been exonerated in Texas, including one man from death row. Texas leads the country in executions. Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Barbara Hervey stated that the unit is not a forum for a particular group or political party, instead it's a “call to action to address the growing concerns with our criminal justice system.” She added, “It’s time to act and move for reform.”
The new unit will work with the Innocence Project, the governor's office, and all parties affected by the criminal justice system, including inmates who may be innocent. Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston, a long-time supporter of criminal justice reform, will be one of the initial members of the unit.
(J. Vertuno, “Texas high court creates integrity unit”, San Antonio Express-News, June 4, 2008). See New Voices and Recent Legislation.