Sometimes the Texas Legislature Gets it Right

Add this to the list of reasons that Texas is a better place to practice criminal defense law:

Art. 38.075. Corroboration of Certain Testimony Required

(a) A defendant may not be convicted of an offense on the testimony of a person to whom the defendant made a statement against the defendant’s interest during a time when the person was imprisoned or confined in the same correctional facility as the defendant unless the testimony is corroborated by other evidence tending to connect the defendant with the offense committed. In this subsection, “correctional facility” has the meaning assigned by Section 1.07, Penal Code.

(b) Corroboration is not sufficient for the purposes of this article if the corroboration only shows that the offense was committed.

(We already had informant-corroboration and accomplice-corroboration statutes. What I’d really love to see, though, is a cop-corroboration statute.)

5 Comments

  1. The cop corroboration statute sounds reasonable. Although, absent corroboration, I, as a juror, would put much less credence on police testimony. As happened Tuesday, when the City had a police officer testify that he wrote a ticket to the defendant for failing to obey a traffic control device(one of those second lane is for buses and carpools during rush hour signs). The City failed to prove the sign existed, or was appropriately placed, relying entirely on the police officer testimony. Not guilty. The Constitution and rules apply equally in municipal court as in the higher levels.

  2. We tried like hell to get a “cop corroboration” statute in 2001 when we got corroboration for drug informants. This was the compromise. There was a good argument for it because the legislation was called the “Tulia bill” around the Lege and the bad actor in that case was a gypsy cop named Tom Coleman, not an informant. Chalk it up to the power of police unions. The jailhouse snitch bill was just passed last session, thanks to Sen. Juan Hinojosa who carried both it and the 2001 Tulia legislation on drug informants.

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