HBA-EDN H.B. 2645 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2645 By: Capelo Judicial Affairs 4/4/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Often in a criminal case it is necessary to sequester a jury for the jury's own protection. Members of juries that are not sequestered may be more susceptible to threats and intimidation. There have even been reports in which jury members were so intimidated that the punishment phase of the trial by the jury was ended out of concern for the jurors' safety. Although sequestering juries in criminal cases may prevent this from occurring, many counties do not have sufficient funds to pay for the cost of sequestering juries. House Bill 2645 creates a jury sequestration fund from fees imposed on a convicted defendant to assist counties in sequestering juries. 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. ANALYSIS House Bill 2645 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to require a defendant convicted of a felony offense in a district court to pay a $2.50 jury sequestration fee and a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor offense in a justice court, county court, county court at law, or district court to pay a $1.25 jury sequestration fee as a cost of court. The bill provides that a person is considered convicted if a sentence is imposed on the person or the person receives community supervision, including deferred adjudication. H.B. 2645 requires the clerks of the respective courts to collect the costs and pay them to the custodian of the county treasury for deposit in a fund to be known as the jury sequestration fund (fund) and authorizes such funds to be used only to pay costs associated with sequestering a jury in a criminal case. The bill requires the fund to be administered by or under the direction of the commissioners court. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.