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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 2.1397

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


Art. 2.1397, outlines the duties of a law enforcement agency when filing a case with the attorney representing the state in a criminal case. The law requires the law enforcement agency to submit a written statement to the attorney representing the state, acknowledging that all documents, items, and information that are required to be disclosed to the defendant under Article 39.14, also known as the Michael Morton Act, have been disclosed. Article 39.14 is a crucial piece of legislation in Texas that mandates the disclosure of evidence to the defense in criminal cases, ensuring a fair and just legal process.


The Michael Morton Act is named after Michael Morton, a Texas man who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife in 1987 and spent nearly 25 years in prison before DNA evidence proved his innocence. During Morton's trial, crucial evidence that could have exonerated him was withheld by the prosecution, including evidence that pointed to another suspect. The Michael Morton Act was passed in 2013 to prevent such miscarriages of justice by requiring prosecutors to provide the defense with all evidence, whether it is favorable or not, that is relevant to the case.


The importance of Article 39.14 and the Michael Morton Act cannot be overstated, as it helps ensure that defendants have access to all relevant evidence and are provided with a fair opportunity to defend themselves in court. The duty of law enforcement agencies to disclose all required documents, items, and information to the attorney representing the state under Art. 2.1397 is a crucial step in upholding the principles of justice and protecting the rights of the accused in the criminal justice system.



Art. 2.1397. DUTIES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY FILING CASE.


(a) In this article: (1) "Attorney representing the state" means an attorney authorized by law to represent the state in a criminal case, including a district attorney, criminal district attorney, or county attorney with criminal jurisdiction. The term does not include an attorney representing the state in a justice or municipal court under Chapter 45. (2) "Law enforcement agency" means an agency of the state or an agency of a political subdivision of the state authorized by law to employ peace officers.


(b) A law enforcement agency filing a case with the attorney representing the state shall submit to the attorney representing the state a written statement by an agency employee with knowledge of the case acknowledging that all documents, items, and information in the possession of the agency that are required to be disclosed to the defendant in the case under Article 39.14 have been disclosed to the attorney representing the state.


(c) If at any time after the case is filed with the attorney representing the state the law enforcement agency discovers or acquires any additional document, item, or information required to be disclosed to the defendant under Article 39.14, an agency employee shall promptly disclose the document, item, or information to the attorney representing the state.


Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 509 (S.B. 111), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2021.


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