These are personal notes from the first meeting of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee held on Feb 25, 2009. The official minutes are posted here. These are just notes made as fast as I could write.

Chair appoints subcommittees to at least do some preliminary assessments of the legislation pending before the committee. Historically this committee gets more bills than any other committee in Legislature.

Chair’s comments:

Don’t have to vote on bills in subcommittees, can just refer bills back to full committee without a vote. Find consensus in subcommittee. Get defense and prosecutors together if possible on bills in subcommittee, but he knows sometimes that won’t be possible. He is empowering each member to carry the ball. Tells committee members, if there is a bill you want heard, yours or another member’s bill, then let the chair know, and he will try to accommodate that and move legislation along. To members of organizations working on certain bills: while he is happy to talk to you, he is one of eleven and he fully intends to let the majority of the committee work its will, he hopes you take the time to see and get to know every member of the committee. Occasionaly, he may find some legislation personally objectionable, but the members may be able to change his mind.

The Law of Parties bill (HB 304) has been referred to the subcommittee on Criminal Procedure, not the capital punishment one.

Capital Punishment Subcommittee

Chair Robert Miklos Democrat

Joseph Moody Democrat

Wayne Christian Republican

Terri Hodge Democrat

Pete Gallego Democrat

Bills currently referred to Capital Punishment Subcommittee

HB 682, HB 297, HB 298, HB 111, HB 493, HB 877, HB 913, HB 916, HB 921, HB 938

Bio of Chair: After passing the Texas Bar, Robert Miklos went to work as a prosecutor for the City of Houston – the start of an eleven year stint as a prosecutor, including several years in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and culminating as chief prosecutor for the City of Dallas. He has tried over 500 criminal jury trials, as well as thousands of non-jury trials. As Dallas chief prosecutor, Robert managed an office with 15 attorneys. During his term as chief, Dallas moved aggressively to prosecute sexually oriented businesses, revamped its domestic violence prosecutions, and helped institute a magistrate program to lessen the wait time for court appearances.

In early 2005, Robert left the Dallas City Attorney’s Office to join the Hughes and Luce law firm as senior counsel. At Hughes and Luce (which later merged with and became K&L Gates), he represents clients in land use, entitlement, and real estate matters – including representing neighborhoods in annexation issues and clients in eminent domain matters.

Criminal Procedure Subcommittee

List of bill referred to subcommittee.

HB 930, HB 789, HB 788, HB 666, HB 579, HB 566, HB 558, HB 498, HB 483, HB 430, HB 304, HB 301, HB 296, HB 295, HB 293, HB 292, HB 228, HB 196, HB 195, HB 107, HB 825, HB 945, HB 897, HB 949, HB 951, HB 983, HB 954, HB 1104, HB 1076, HB 1060.

Chair Joseph Moody Democrat El Paso

Allen Vaught Democrat

Wayne Christian Republican

Hubert Vo Democrat

Allen Fletcher Republican

Robert Miklos Democrat

Paula Pierson Democrat

Bio of Chair Joe Moody continued his education in Lubbock at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he graduated with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence. While in law school, he actively participated in the Hispanic Law Students Association. He was also a founding member of the Migrant Worker Project, which outlined the rights and responsibilities of both migrant workers and their employers. Joe answered the call to volunteer with the Red Cross when the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were evacuated to Lubbock.

After law school, and while waiting for his bar exam results, Joe took on the role of campaign manager for his father’s statewide campaign for the Texas Supreme Court. He put to use his extensive political experience that he gained while working on such prominent campaigns as Al Gore for President, Bill Richardson for Governor, and Charles Stenholm for United States Congress. The Supreme Court campaign allowed Joe the opportunity to meet people across this great state and listen to their concerns. It was a unique campaign in which the candidate, William E. “Bill” Moody, walked over 1,000 miles across the State of Texas. It was a campaign which led the statewide Democratic ticket, and garnered more votes than any El Pasoan has ever received (nearly 2 million).

Fresh off the heels of this unique campaign, Joe went to work as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office. He serves the public in the courtroom, giving a voice to victims by enforcing the laws of Texas. At the District Attorney’s office, Joe works hand-in-hand with law enforcement in the prosecution of a wide variety of cases including Driving While Intoxicated, Domestic Violence, Graffiti, and Burglaries of Vehicles. Joe is a strong advocate in his pursuit of justice.

Other Subcommittees

Victims’ Rights and Violence Against Women Subcommittee

Bills Referred HB 608, HB 167, HB 597, and HB 1003

Chair Kent





White Collar Crime Subcommittee

Chair Fletcher





Property Crimes Subcommittee

Chair Vo





Violent Crime

Chair Vaught





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