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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law.


Article 2.03 is titled Neglect of duty but it has two parts. The first part commands the attorney for the State to present to a court by information that there has been a neglect or failure of duty upon the part of any officer.


Now officer is not defined here and most would assume it just means a police officer. But Peace officer will be defined later on in the code and at this point there is no reason it couldn't mean officer of the court. Defense Attorneys are officers of the court and the prosecutor and his fellow assistant district attorneys are also officers of the court. Its not clear if this neglect of duty relates only to police.


Section (b) then reads like a mini bill of rights and ethical requirement.


It is the duty of the trial court, the attorney representing the accused, the attorney representing the state and all peace officers to so conduct themselves as to insure a fair trial for both the state and the defendant, not impair the presumption of innocence, and at the same time afford the public the benefits of a free press.



First we have the assigning of this duty to the trial court and both attorneys and all police officers to so conduct themselves as to insure a fair trial for both the state and the defendant. This is an interesting part of the code because the prosecutor clearly has a duty to uphold justice. However the Defense Attorney has a duty to represent his client to the fullest degree. It is said by attorneys many times that the system isn't fair actually. It is slanted in favor of the defendant. The next sentence requires all these same members of the criminal justice system to not impair the presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence says that you must assume the defendant is not guilty unless the State provides evidence of each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt.


Art. 2.03. NEGLECT OF DUTY. (a) It shall be the duty of the attorney representing the State to present by information to the court having jurisdiction, any officer for neglect or failure of any duty enjoined upon such officer, when such neglect or failure can be presented by information, whenever it shall come to the knowledge of said attorney that there has been a neglect or failure of duty upon the part of said officer; and he shall bring to the notice of the grand jury any act of violation of law or neglect or failure of duty upon the part of any officer, when such violation, neglect or failure is not presented by information, and whenever the same may come to his knowledge.


(b) It is the duty of the trial court, the attorney representing the accused, the attorney representing the state and all peace officers to so conduct themselves as to insure a fair trial for both the state and the defendant, not impair the presumption of innocence, and at the same time afford the public the benefits of a free press. Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722. Amended by Acts 1967, 60th Leg., p. 1733, ch. 659, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 28, 1967.


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