lsfija.gif (129840 bytes)     Lone Star FIJA

 

 

 

Because a current statute on the Texas books mandates that prospective jurors who disagree with a law be struck from the jury, it is very difficult for a fully informed jury to be seated in Texas criminal courts.   Even if a juror makes it past the filter, many judges tell jurors that they must follow the government instead of their consciences.

Even if every Texan knew about their power to vote their conscience, existing law and courtroom practice make juror independence highly unlikely without legislative change.

In a nutshell, Lone Star FIJA supports legislation that will eliminate the filter of jurors who would follow their conscience.   We also support legislation that would allow the defendant (or their counsel) to inform (without contradiction from the judge or prosecutor) juries of their power to acquit based on conscience.  The proposed legislation would apply in all criminal cases, but only in civil cases where government is suing an individual or entity.   This has been the essence of our legislative agenda during our history.

In 1999, we circulated similar legislation to what was introduced in 1999, as well as Jury Privacy, Truth in Sentencing, and Sentence Enhancement Common Sense.  However, because the climate in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in the Texas House was known to be hostile, our legislative supporters decided not to introduce legislation.  In 2001, no significant effort was made to seek legislative sponsors.

See the links below for more information of proposed legislation in Texas and its history:

Possible Future Legislation

History of Fully Informed Jury Legislation in Texas

1997 Legislation - HB 519/SB 1667

1997 Hearing on HB 519 Transcript

 

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Last modified: November 27, 2003