Thursday, May 19, 2005

Too Little Too Late

Recently emerged from the woodwork, Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley provided heated testimony to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee against the probation reform bill, HB 2193. No one from the public testified against probation reform bills when they were initially heard in both House and Senate committees. In fact, a wide arrary of groups offered ample support for reform - from the ACLU to the conservative think-tank Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Publicly absent from these hearings, but privately active, Bradley has emerged along with a group of judges and prosecutors in late public opposition to the bill. Some of its key provisions have been removed in the final push to get the bill passed.
“It is very natural that a few criminal prosecutors would come up here afraid that this bill will take away some of their power,” said Ann Delano of the ACLU. But, she said it is a prosecutors highest responsiblity to seek justice, “not to get more convictions and put more people in prison.”
Bradley said that what the Lege ought to be doing is conducting a study. "Why don't you generate the data before you pursue a bill?"
It seems Bradley might be a little late with this novel idea. Two interim studies have already been conducted and the information generated from these studies over the past four years is what the bill is built on.