HBA-DMD H.B. 424 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 424 By: Turner, Bob Criminal Jurisprudence 2/9/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, a capital murder trial in Texas costs on average between $200,000 and $300,000 to prosecute. In rural counties, a capital murder trial and the automatic appeal that a conviction triggers can put significant strain on the county budget and perhaps even lead a county to seek a lesser charge against the defendant despite the prosecutor's belief that a charge of capital murder is warranted. H.B. 424 creates a fund that would help eligible counties pay for extraordinary costs incurred as the result of a capital murder trial and the ensuing appeal. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office in SECTION 1 (Article 102.085, Code of Criminal Procedure) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Chapter 102, Code of Criminal Procedure, by adding Subchapter D, as follows: SUBCHAPTER D. COURT COSTS FOR EXTRAORDINARY COSTS OF PROSECUTION FUND Art. 102.081. COSTS. Requires a defendant convicted of a felony to pay a court cost of $5, and a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor to pay a court cost of $1, unless convicted under Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code (Rules of the Road), if the person is convicted under a section that regulates pedestrians and the parking of motor vehicles, or is convicted of a misdemeanor in a municipal court or municipal court of record. Requires the court clerk to collect the court cost at the time of sentencing unless an appeal or motion for a new trial is filed, in which event the court clerk is required to collect the court cost upon finalization of the conviction. Authorizes the court to waive the court cost if it determines the defendant is indigent. Art. 102.082. RECORD OF COLLECTION. Requires the court clerk collecting court costs to maintain separate records of the funds collected as costs under this subchapter and to deposit the funds in the county treasury. Art. 102.083. REPORTS REQUIRED. Requires the court clerk collecting the court costs to file the report required under Article 103.005 (Report Required) unless there have been no funds collected, in which case the report is required to be filed in the regular manner stating that no funds were collected. Art. 102.084. TRANSFER OF FUNDS TO COMPTROLLER. (a) Authorizes the custodian of the county treasury to deposit the funds that have been collected into an interest-bearing account and requires the custodian to maintain records of the amount of funds deposited. Requires the custodian to submit to the comptroller funds that were collected during the preceding quarter on or before the last day of the month that follows each quarter. (b) Authorizes a county treasury to retain 10 percent of the funds collected as a service fee as well as all interest accrued on the funds providing that the custodian maintains accurate records and remits the funds to the comptroller within the time period specified in Subsection (a). Art. 102.085. EXTRAORDINARY COSTS OF PROSECUTION FUND. (a) Requires the comptroller to deposit the money the comptroller receives under this subchapter in the general revenue fund in an account to be known as the extraordinary costs of prosecution fund and requires the legislature to appropriate money from the fund only to the criminal justice division of the governor's office (division) and requires the division to distribute money received under this subsection as this article provides. (b) Establishes that a county with a population less than 50,000 is eligible to apply to the division for distribution of money under this article if, during the previous fiscal year, the county's total amount of expenditures exceeded the total amount of funds received by the county from all sources and the county incurred expenses for the investigation or prosecution of an offense under Section 19.03, Penal Code (Capital Murder), or if the county's total amount of funds received from all sources exceeded the total amount of expenditures and the county incurred expenses for the investigation or prosecution of an offense under Section 19.03, Penal Code (Capital Murder), for which the costs have exceeded five percent of the county's surplus revenue. (c) Establishes that the commissioners court must submit a financial statement of the county verifying the county's previous fiscal years total amount of funds received from all sources, the total amount of expenditures, and the total amount incurred for the investigation or prosecution of an offense under Section 19.03, Penal Code (Capital Murder), when submitting an application referred to under Subsection (b). (d) Authorizes the division to distribute money under this article only to an eligible county for the reimbursement of expenses the county incurred during the fiscal year for which the application has been made. Prohibits the amount reimbursed to the county from being greater than five percent of the difference between the funds received and expenditures during the fiscal year for which the application is made. (e) Authorizes the division to adopt a budget and rules for the distribution of money under this article. Art. 102.086. AUDIT. Establishes that all money collected under this subchapter is subject to an audit by the comptroller and all money distributed to a county under this subchapter and the county's expenditure of it are subject to an audit by the state auditor. SECTION 2. (a) Makes application of this Act prospective. (b) Authorizes the commissioners court to apply to the criminal justice division of the governor's office for a distribution of money, as provided by Article 102.085, Code of Criminal Procedure, as added by this Act, on or after January 1, 2000. SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.