State Rep Harold Dutton files Law of Parties bill

State Rep Harold Dutton of Houston has filed a bill to end the death penalty as a sentencing option for anyone convicted under the Law of Parties.

By: Dutton H.B. No. 304



A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT

relating to the extent of a defendant’s criminal responsibility for

the conduct of a co-conspirator in certain felony cases.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. Section 1, Article 37.071, Code of Criminal

Procedure, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 1. (a) If a defendant is found guilty in a capital

felony case in which the state does not seek the death penalty, the

judge shall sentence the defendant to life imprisonment without

parole.

(b) A defendant who is found guilty in a capital felony case

only as a party under Section 7.02(b), Penal Code, may not be

sentenced to death, and the state may not seek the death penalty in

any case in which the defendant’s liability is based solely on that

section.

SECTION 2. Section 2, Article 37.0711, Code of Criminal

Procedure, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 2. (a) If a defendant is found guilty in a case in

which the state does not seek the death penalty, the judge shall

sentence the defendant to life imprisonment.

(b) A defendant who is found guilty in a capital felony case

only as a party under Section 7.02(b), Penal Code, may not be

sentenced to death, and the state may not seek the death penalty in

any case in which the defendant’s liability is based solely on that

section.

SECTION 3. The change in law made by this Act applies to a

criminal proceeding that commences on or after the effective date

of this Act. A criminal proceeding that commences before the

effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect when the

proceeding commenced, and the former law is continued in effect for

that purpose.

SECTION 4. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives

a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as

provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this

Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this

Act takes effect September 1, 2009.

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Hooman Hedayati

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