Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2645
By: Capelo
Judicial Affairs


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.  


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. 


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.  


September 1, 2001.