HBA-RAR H.B. 172 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 172 By: Garcia Criminal Jurisprudence 3/1/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, Texas law allows an inmate convicted of a capital felony to be eligible for parole. Texas law also requires the court to instruct juries in capital felony cases to consider whether there are sufficient mitigating circumstances to warrant the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment, rather than a death sentence, if the jury returns an affirmative finding regarding certain issues. This bill would eliminate the possibility of parole for all inmates convicted of a capital offense and would require the court to sentence the defendant to confinement for life if the jury returns an affirmative finding regarding any mitigating circumstances related to the conduct of the accused. H.B. 172 removes a capital felony from the list of offenses which requires a two-thirds vote by the Board of Pardons and Paroles for release of an inmate on parole and provides that an inmate serving a life sentence for a capital felony is not eligible for parole. This bill also requires that a jury be instructed that an inmate receiving a life sentence for a capital felony is not eligible for parole. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 508.046, Government Code, to exclude a capital felony from the convictions that require a two-thirds vote by the Board of Pardons and Paroles to release an inmate on parole. SECTION 2. Amends Section 508.145(b), Government Code, to delete the provision that allows an inmate serving a life sentence for a capital felony to become eligible for release on parole after 40 years of actual time served. SECTION 3. Amends Section 2, Article 37.071, Code of Criminal Procedure, to require the court to instruct the jury that, if the jury affirmatively finds that circumstances warrant a sentence of life imprisonment rather than a death sentence, the court is required to sentence the defendant to confinement for life, and that the defendant sentenced to confinement for life is ineligible for release on parole or mandatory supervision. SECTION 4. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 5. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 6. Emergency clause.