79R1660 BDH-D

By:  Naishtat                                                     H.B. No. 338

relating to authorizing certain persons to make an oral statement regarding the impact of an offense on the victim before sentencing in certain cases. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended by adding Article 56.035 to read as follows: Art. 56.035. ORAL STATEMENT. (a) After a finding of guilt or an order of deferred adjudication is entered and before the imposition of a sentence by the court in a criminal case in which punishment is assessed by the court, the court shall permit a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim to appear in person to present to the court an oral statement of the person's views about the offense and the effect of the offense on the victim. The court shall consider the oral statement, in addition to any written victim impact statement, before sentencing the defendant. (b) The court shall permit the defendant or the defendant's counsel an opportunity to cross-examine the victim and comment on the oral statement. With the approval of the court, the defendant may introduce testimony or other information alleging a factual inaccuracy in the oral statement. (c) The right to present an oral statement under this article does not affect a person's right to present a statement under Section 1(b), Article 42.03. SECTION 2. (a) The change in law made by this Act applies only to a sentencing proceeding that commences on or after the effective date of this Act. (b) A sentencing proceeding that commences before the effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect when the proceeding commenced, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.