By Nelson                                              S.B. No. 163
         77R1431 GWK-D                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the circumstances under which a witness in a criminal
 1-3     case may be excluded from the courtroom.
 1-5           SECTION 1.  Chapter 36, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
 1-6     amended by adding Article 36.03 to read as follows:
 1-7           Art. 36.03.  INVOCATION OF RULE. (a)  Notwithstanding Rule
 1-8     614, Texas Rules of Evidence, a court at the request of a party may
 1-9     order the exclusion of a witness who for the purposes of the
1-10     prosecution is a victim, close relative of a deceased victim, or
1-11     guardian of a victim only if the witness is to testify and the
1-12     court determines that the testimony of the witness would be
1-13     materially affected if the witness hears other testimony at the
1-14     trial.
1-15           (b)  On the objection of the opposing party, the court may
1-16     require the party requesting exclusion of a witness under
1-17     Subsection (a) to make an offer of proof to justify the exclusion. 
1-18           (c)  Subsection (a) does not limit the authority of the court
1-19     on its own motion to exclude a witness or other person to maintain
1-20     decorum in the courtroom.
1-21           (d)  In this article:
1-22                 (1)  "Close relative of a deceased victim" and
1-23     "guardian of a victim" have the meanings assigned by Article 56.01.
1-24                 (2)  "Victim" means a victim of any criminal offense.
 2-1           SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.