The Senate Jurisprudence Committee on May 14 will hear public testimony on a bill that would require more specific ethics training for prosecutors. On May 8, the House voted 146-1 to pass House Bill 1847.
HB 1847 would require county and district attorneys to complete one hour of continuing legal education annually about “ethics related to the attorney’s duties as a prosecutor, including prosecutorial misconduct.”
Rob Kepple, executive director of the Texas District & County Attorneys Association, says that prosecutors currently must complete 15 hours of CLE per year, with three hours devoted to ethics. He says he thinks the bill would ensure that prosecutors get training about their duties under the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, which held that prosecutors must disclose evidence favorable to the accused.
“We have been training the lights out on Brady for a while now,” Kepple says. “The idea of Brady training for prosecutors is actually a good idea, and we already do a bunch of it.”
Kepple adds that he thinks HB 1847 needs an amendment to give authority to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to manage the new CLE requirement.
Bobby Mims, president-elect of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, says he doesn’t see anything wrong with HB 1847, and adds, “My experience in the last few years is they [prosecutors] have been fairly well trained in Brady and their ethical considerations.”
-- Angela Morris