By: Denton H.B. No. 834 73R2314 RJA-F A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 1-1 AN ACT 1-2 relating to the establishment of the Prosecutor Council. 1-3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: 1-4 SECTION 1. Subtitle C, Title 2, Government Code, is amended 1-5 by adding Chapter 47 to read as follows: 1-6 CHAPTER 47. PROSECUTOR COUNCIL; DISCIPLINE OF PROSECUTORS 1-7 SUBCHAPTER A. COUNCIL 1-8 Sec. 47.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter: 1-9 (1) "Council" means the Prosecutor Council. 1-10 (2) "Prosecuting attorney" means a person who holds 1-11 the office of county attorney, district attorney, or criminal 1-12 district attorney and who represents the state in criminal cases, 1-13 and includes a person who holds the office pro tempore. 1-14 Sec. 47.002. COMPOSITION. (a) The Prosecutor Council is an 1-15 agency of the state. The council is composed of nine members. 1-16 (b) Four members of the council must be citizens of this 1-17 state who are not licensed to practice law. The governor shall 1-18 appoint those members with the advice and consent of the senate, 1-19 giving due consideration to representation of the geographic areas 1-20 of the state. Appointments to the council under this subsection 1-21 shall be made without regard to the race, color, disability, sex, 1-22 religion, age, or national origin of the appointees. 1-23 (c) Five members of the council must be incumbent elected 1-24 prosecuting attorneys, including at least one county attorney, one 2-1 district attorney, and one criminal district attorney. The 2-2 prosecuting attorneys of the state shall elect those members in 2-3 accordance with rules adopted for that purpose by the supreme 2-4 court. 2-5 (d) A prosecuting attorney member's duties as a member of 2-6 the council are additional to his duties as a prosecuting attorney. 2-7 Membership on the council does not constitute dual officeholding. 2-8 Sec. 47.003. TERM. Members of the council serve for 2-9 staggered terms of six years, with the terms of two prosecuting 2-10 attorney members and one citizen member or two citizen members and 2-11 one prosecuting attorney member expiring February 1 of each 2-12 odd-numbered year. Each member serves until a successor has been 2-13 appointed or elected. 2-14 Sec. 47.004. REMOVAL OF COUNCIL MEMBERS. (a) It is a 2-15 ground for removal from the council that a member: 2-16 (1) does not have at the time of appointment the 2-17 qualifications required by Section 47.002; 2-18 (2) does not maintain during service on the council 2-19 the qualifications required by Section 47.002; 2-20 (3) cannot discharge the member's duties for a 2-21 substantial part of the term for which the member is appointed 2-22 because of illness or disability; or 2-23 (4) is absent from more than half of the regularly 2-24 scheduled council meetings that the member is eligible to attend 2-25 during a calendar year unless the absence is excused by majority 2-26 vote of the council. 2-27 (b) The validity of an action of the council is not affected 3-1 by the fact that it is taken when a ground for removal of a council 3-2 member exists. 3-3 (c) If the executive director has knowledge that a potential 3-4 ground for removal exists, the executive director shall notify the 3-5 chairman of the council of the ground. The chairman shall then 3-6 notify the governor or chief justice of the supreme court, as 3-7 appropriate, that a potential ground for removal exists. 3-8 Sec. 47.005. VACANCY. (a) A vacancy on the council is 3-9 filled in the same manner as the initial appointment or election of 3-10 the member who vacated the position. 3-11 (b) A member who is appointed or elected to fill a vacancy 3-12 created other than by the expiration of a term serves for the 3-13 remainder of the unexpired term. 3-14 (c) A member may be reappointed or reelected for additional 3-15 terms. 3-16 (d) A prosecuting attorney member who ceases to be a 3-17 prosecuting attorney vacates his position on the council. 3-18 Sec. 47.006. EXPENSES. A member of the council is not 3-19 entitled to compensation but is entitled to reimbursement for 3-20 actual and necessary expenses, subject to any applicable limitation 3-21 on reimbursement provided by the General Appropriations Act. 3-22 Sec. 47.007. MEETINGS; MAJORITY VOTE REQUIREMENT. (a) The 3-23 council shall meet at least twice a year and shall hold other 3-24 meetings as necessary. The council shall establish procedures for 3-25 the operation of its meetings. 3-26 (b) Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, the 3-27 concurrence of a majority of the council members who are present 4-1 and voting at a meeting is required for the approval of an action 4-2 authorized by this chapter. 4-3 (c) The council shall develop and implement policies that 4-4 provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear before 4-5 the council and to speak on any issue under the jurisdiction of the 4-6 council. 4-7 Sec. 47.008. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. (a) The council shall 4-8 designate a chairman from its prosecuting attorney members and a 4-9 vice-chairman from its citizen members. Those officers serve 4-10 two-year terms and may be reelected. 4-11 (b) The chairman presides over council meetings. In the 4-12 absence of the chairman, the vice-chairman presides. 4-13 (c) The council may employ staff as necessary to perform the 4-14 duties of the council. 4-15 (d) The council shall appoint an executive director who must 4-16 be an attorney licensed in this state. The executive director 4-17 shall perform the duties assigned to that position by the council 4-18 and shall represent the council in all cases before the state or 4-19 federal courts. 4-20 Sec. 47.009. RESPONSIBILITY OF COUNCIL AND EMPLOYEES; 4-21 PERSONNEL MATTERS. (a) The council shall provide to its members 4-22 and employees, as often as necessary, information regarding their 4-23 qualifications for office or employment under this chapter and 4-24 their responsibilities under applicable laws relating to standards 4-25 of conduct for state officers or employees. 4-26 (b) The council shall develop and implement policies that 4-27 clearly define the respective responsibilities of the council and 5-1 the staff of the council. 5-2 (c) The executive director or the executive director's 5-3 designee shall develop an intra-agency career ladder program. The 5-4 program shall require intra-agency postings of all nonentry level 5-5 positions concurrently with any public posting. 5-6 (d) The executive director or the executive director's 5-7 designee shall develop a system of annual performance evaluations. 5-8 All merit pay for council employees must be based on the system 5-9 established under this subsection. 5-10 (e) The executive director or the executive director's 5-11 designee shall prepare and maintain a written policy statement to 5-12 assure implementation of a program of equal employment opportunity 5-13 under which all personnel transactions are made without regard to 5-14 race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin. 5-15 The policy statement must include: 5-16 (1) personnel policies, including policies relating to 5-17 recruitment, evaluation, selection, appointment, training, and 5-18 promotion of personnel; 5-19 (2) a comprehensive analysis of the council work force 5-20 that meets federal and state guidelines; 5-21 (3) procedures by which a determination can be made of 5-22 significant underuse in the council work force of all persons for 5-23 whom federal or state guidelines encourage a more equitable 5-24 balance; and 5-25 (4) reasonable methods to appropriately address those 5-26 areas of significant underuse. 5-27 (f) A policy statement prepared under Subsection (e) must 6-1 cover an annual period, be updated at least annually, and be filed 6-2 with the governor's office. 6-3 (g) The governor's office shall deliver a biennial report to 6-4 the legislature based on the information received under Subsection 6-5 (f). The report may be made separately or as a part of other 6-6 biennial reports made to the legislature. 6-7 Sec. 47.010. GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES. (a) The council 6-8 shall: 6-9 (1) develop and adopt minimum standards for the 6-10 operation of prosecuting attorneys' offices; 6-11 (2) approve courses for in-service training and 6-12 professional development of prosecuting attorneys, their 6-13 assistants, and their staffs; 6-14 (3) cooperate with the Texas Judicial Council to 6-15 improve the maintenance and reporting of criminal justice 6-16 statistics; 6-17 (4) accept and investigate complaints of the 6-18 incompetence or misconduct of a prosecuting attorney; 6-19 (5) receive and consider suggestions to improve the 6-20 administration of criminal justice; 6-21 (6) investigate and report on matters referred to the 6-22 council by the governor or the legislature; 6-23 (7) cooperate with the Texas District and County 6-24 Attorneys Association to carry out the provisions of this chapter; 6-25 (8) respond to requests for technical assistance from 6-26 prosecuting attorneys; and 6-27 (9) make an annual report to the governor and the 7-1 legislature not later than December 1 of each year regarding: 7-2 (A) proceedings of the council; 7-3 (B) recommended changes in jurisdictions; 7-4 (C) funding needed for local offices; and 7-5 (D) other matters needed to improve local 7-6 prosecution in the state. 7-7 (b) The council may: 7-8 (1) respond to a judge's request for recommendations 7-9 regarding the appointment of a special prosecutor if a regular 7-10 prosecuting attorney is disqualified; 7-11 (2) enter into agreements with public or private 7-12 organizations to implement the intent and purpose of this chapter; 7-13 (3) accept funds, grants, and gifts from a public or 7-14 private source to implement this chapter; 7-15 (4) pay the expenses of prosecuting attorneys and 7-16 their staffs to: 7-17 (A) attend professional development courses; 7-18 (B) assist other prosecuting attorneys; 7-19 (C) advise the council; and 7-20 (D) perform other actions that the council 7-21 considers appropriate to enhance the quality of prosecution; and 7-22 (5) take other action appropriate for the improvement 7-23 and more efficient administration of criminal justice. 7-24 Sec. 47.011. COMPLAINTS AND ACCESS. (a) The council shall 7-25 prepare information of public interest describing the functions of 7-26 the council and the council's procedures by which complaints are 7-27 filed with and resolved by the council. The council shall make the 8-1 information available to the public and appropriate state agencies. 8-2 (b) The council shall prepare and maintain a written plan 8-3 that describes how a person who does not speak English or who has a 8-4 physical, mental, or developmental disability can be provided 8-5 reasonable access to the council's programs. 8-6 (c) The council by rule shall establish methods by which the 8-7 public is notified of the name, mailing address, and telephone 8-8 number of the council for the purpose of directing complaints to 8-9 the council. 8-10 (d) The council shall keep an information file about each 8-11 complaint filed with the council that the council has authority to 8-12 resolve. 8-13 (e) If a written complaint is filed with the council that 8-14 the council has authority to resolve, the council at least 8-15 quarterly and until final disposition of the complaint shall notify 8-16 the parties to the complaint of the status of the complaint unless 8-17 the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation. 8-18 Sec. 47.012. ANNUAL REPORT. The council shall file annually 8-19 with the governor and the presiding officer of each house of the 8-20 legislature a complete and detailed written report accounting for 8-21 all funds received and disbursed by the council during the 8-22 preceding fiscal year. The annual report must be in the form and 8-23 reported in the time provided by the General Appropriations Act. 8-24 Sec. 47.013. SUNSET PROVISION. The council is subject to 8-25 Chapter 325 (Texas Sunset Act). Unless continued in existence as 8-26 provided by that chapter, the council is abolished and this chapter 8-27 expires September 1, 2005. 9-1 (Sections 47.014-47.100 reserved for expansion 9-2 SUBCHAPTER B. DISCIPLINE OF PROSECUTING ATTORNEY 9-3 Sec. 47.101. Intent. It is the intent of the legislature 9-4 that there continue to be no restrictions on the reprimand or 9-5 removal of a prosecuting attorney other than those in this 9-6 subchapter. 9-7 Sec. 47.102. Definitions. In this subchapter: 9-8 (1) "Incompetence" means: 9-9 (A) gross ignorance or neglect of official 9-10 duties; 9-11 (B) the existence of a physical or mental defect 9-12 that prohibits the prompt or proper discharge of official duties; 9-13 or 9-14 (C) failure to maintain the qualifications 9-15 required by law for election to the office. 9-16 (2) "Misconduct" means: 9-17 (A) conduct that is unlawful under Chapter 39, 9-18 Penal Code; 9-19 (B) an act that is a felony or a misdemeanor 9-20 involving moral turpitude; or 9-21 (C) wilful or persistent conduct that is clearly 9-22 inconsistent with the proper performance of official duties. 9-23 Sec. 47.103. Procedure. (a) After investigation of a 9-24 complaint of incompetence or misconduct of a prosecuting attorney, 9-25 the council may: 9-26 (1) issue a private reprimand; 9-27 (2) order a hearing before the council; or 10-1 (3) request the supreme court to appoint a master to 10-2 conduct a hearing. 10-3 (b) The supreme court shall adopt rules to provide for the 10-4 procedure to be used before the council or a master in a hearing on 10-5 a complaint of incompetence or misconduct. The rules must be 10-6 consistent with this chapter and with due process of law. 10-7 (c) In the conduct of an investigation or hearing, a member 10-8 of the council or a master appointed by the supreme court may: 10-9 (1) administer oaths; 10-10 (2) issue subpoenas to compel: 10-11 (A) the attendance or testimony of witnesses; or 10-12 (B) the production of books, records, papers, 10-13 accounts, or other relevant documents; and 10-14 (3) order the deposition of witnesses in accordance 10-15 with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. 10-16 (d) An order issued by the council or master for the 10-17 attendance of a witness, taking of testimony, or production of 10-18 evidence is enforceable through contempt proceedings in the 10-19 district court. 10-20 Sec. 47.104. Process; Witness Fees. (a) A law enforcement 10-21 officer has the duty to serve process or execute an order of the 10-22 council or master at the request of the council or master. Service 10-23 or execution may be performed by any other person designated for 10-24 that purpose by the council, master, or authorized representative 10-25 of the council or master. Process extends to every part of the 10-26 state. 10-27 (b) A witness who appears in an investigation or hearing and 11-1 who is not an officer or employee of the state or a political 11-2 subdivision is entitled to receive the witness fee and mileage 11-3 allowance that is given to a witness in a civil case. 11-4 Sec. 47.105. Notice. On the appointment of a master, notice 11-5 shall be given to the prosecuting attorney who is the subject of 11-6 the investigation or complaint. The notice must specify the 11-7 matters under investigation or alleged in the complaint and must 11-8 set the date for a hearing or for the taking of testimony for the 11-9 purposes of investigation. 11-10 Sec. 47.106. Petition for Removal; Trial. (a) At the 11-11 conclusion of a hearing before a master, the master shall file a 11-12 statement of the findings of fact and a complete transcript of the 11-13 proceedings with the council. The statement and transcript must be 11-14 filed not later than the 30th day after the date set for the 11-15 commencement of the hearing. The council may extend the filing 11-16 deadline for good cause shown. 11-17 (b) The proceedings and records before the council or a 11-18 master are confidential and privileged until they are introduced in 11-19 evidence in a proceeding for removal. 11-20 (c) If, after examination of the records and the 11-21 proceedings, the council finds by majority vote of its membership 11-22 that there exists good cause for removal of a prosecuting attorney, 11-23 the council shall file a petition for removal in a district court 11-24 of the county in which the prosecuting attorney resides. The 11-25 petition shall be filed in the name of the state and shall be 11-26 docketed on the civil docket of the court. 11-27 (d) A petition for removal must allege incompetence or 12-1 misconduct and must set forth the facts that form the basis of the 12-2 allegations. 12-3 (e) If a petition for removal is filed, the judge of the 12-4 court in which it is filed shall request the appointment of a 12-5 special judge to hear the case. The special judge shall select and 12-6 appoint an attorney to prosecute the case from a list of at least 12-7 five qualified attorneys submitted by the council. 12-8 (f) The trial on a petition for removal is subject to the 12-9 Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. 12-10 Sec. 47.107. Disqualification. A prosecuting attorney 12-11 against whom a petition for removal is filed is disqualified from 12-12 acting as a prosecuting attorney. During a period of 12-13 disqualification, the prosecuting attorney is entitled to receive 12-14 the compensation provided by law for the office, but may not 12-15 perform any duty or exercise any privilege connected with the 12-16 office. 12-17 Sec. 47.108. Suspension. (a) A prosecuting attorney is 12-18 suspended from office if: 12-19 (1) the attorney is disbarred or suspended from the 12-20 practice of law in this state either through trial or by agreement; 12-21 (2) the attorney has been found guilty of a felony or 12-22 a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; or 12-23 (3) the court finds incompetence or misconduct after a 12-24 trial on the merits of a petition for removal. 12-25 (b) During a period of suspension, the prosecuting attorney 12-26 is not entitled to receive the compensation provided by law for the 12-27 office and may not perform any duty or exercise any privilege 13-1 connected with the office. If the trial court judgment resulting 13-2 in the suspension is overturned on final hearing, the prosecuting 13-3 attorney is entitled to receive the compensation for the period of 13-4 the suspension. 13-5 Sec. 47.109. Removal. A prosecuting attorney is removed 13-6 from office on final adjudication or conviction in an action that 13-7 was the basis for suspension. The court that enters a judgment 13-8 that is the basis for the suspension shall include an order 13-9 suspending the prosecuting attorney and removing him from office 13-10 when the judgment becomes final. 13-11 Sec. 47.110. Prosecuting Attorney Pro Tempore. (a) On the 13-12 disqualification or suspension of a prosecuting attorney, a 13-13 prosecuting attorney pro tempore shall perform the duties of the 13-14 office. The prosecuting attorney pro tempore serves until the 13-15 disqualification or suspension is lifted or until a successor is 13-16 appointed and has qualified. 13-17 (b) A prosecuting attorney pro tempore is appointed by the 13-18 entity who would appoint the prosecuting attorney in the event of a 13-19 vacancy. 13-20 (c) A prosecuting attorney pro tempore is entitled to 13-21 receive compensation in the amount provided by law for the office 13-22 of prosecuting attorney. Each governmental body that pays a 13-23 portion of the compensation of the office shall pay the same 13-24 portion to the prosecuting attorney pro tempore from its available 13-25 funds. That obligation takes precedence over any other the 13-26 governmental body may have. 13-27 Sec. 47.111. Limitation. (a) Unless fraud or concealment 14-1 is involved, a prosecuting attorney may not be reprimanded or 14-2 removed from office for misconduct that occurred more than four 14-3 years before a complaint of the misconduct is filed with the 14-4 council. 14-5 (b) If fraud or concealment is involved, a prosecuting 14-6 attorney may not be reprimanded or removed from office for 14-7 misconduct that was discovered or should have been discovered by 14-8 reasonable diligence more than four years before a complaint of the 14-9 misconduct is filed with the council. 14-10 (c) A complaint is considered filed when made in writing to 14-11 the executive director of the council. 14-12 SECTION 2. (a) The initial appointment and election of 14-13 members to the Prosecutor Council, as established by Chapter 47, 14-14 Government Code, as added by this Act, shall occur in the manner 14-15 described by this section. 14-16 (b) Of the initial appointed members, the governor shall 14-17 appoint one member to serve a term expiring February 1, 1995, two 14-18 members to serve terms expiring February 1, 1997, and one member to 14-19 serve a term expiring February 1, 1999. 14-20 (c) Of the initial elected members, two members shall be 14-21 elected to serve terms expiring February 1, 1995, one member shall 14-22 be elected to serve a term expiring February 1, 1997, and two 14-23 members shall be elected to serve terms expiring February 1, 1999. 14-24 (d) On the expiration of those terms, the term of an 14-25 appointed or elected member is six years, as provided by Section 14-26 47.003, Government Code, as added by this Act. 14-27 SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 1993. 15-1 SECTION 4. The importance of this legislation and the 15-2 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an 15-3 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the 15-4 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several 15-5 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.