Proposed bill aims to help prevent wrongful convictions in Texas - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Proposed bill aims to help prevent wrongful convictions in Texas

Texas - A proposed bill aims to help prevent wrongful convictions from happening in Texas.

There have been cases where the accused give a false confession and they are wrongfully convicted of a crime.

Sometimes these false confessions are given because of intimidation, due to a mental disorder or incompetency of the accused.

Like in the case of Christopher Ochoa, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 12 years in prison before an exoneration.

What led up to his false confession during the two-day police interrogation was never recorded.

That's one reason why State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston, proposed a bill that would require police to record the questioning of suspects in cases involving murder, kidnapping, human trafficking and some sex crimes.

By recording an interrogation, Ellis believes it would accurately tell what happened in an interrogation room and what a suspect actually said.

But there are concerns, some worry it could be used to unfairly target law enforcement officers or it could make it harder to convince a jury that a confession was valid if there was no recording.

If passed, there would be some exceptions to the bill; such as, if someone spontaneously gave a confession or if the equipment was faulty.

There are other bills being proposed by Ellis as well; Senate Bill 89 would create a Texas Innocence Commission to examine post-conviction exonerations.

There's also the Automatic Disclosure Bill, which would create a statewide standard for disclosure in criminal cases.

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