Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Announces Creation of Criminal Justice Advisory Council

Council to Advise Governor on Adequacy of Criminal Proceedings

Monday, March 14, 2005  •  Press Release

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today announced that he has issued an executive order creating the Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council to advise him on the adequacy of criminal procedures from the initial stage of investigation into a crime to appellate and post-conviction proceedings.

"The Criminal Justice Advisory Council will allow Texas to continually assess our system of justice and make improvements when needed," Perry said in a speech to the Texas Daily Newspaper Association. "I have great confidence in our justice system, but no system is perfect, and we must not be afraid of asking the questions that will lead to creating a more perfect system of justice for all the people of Texas."

Perry said that the council will represent a broad perspective and receive input from diverse sources, including: legislators, state law schools that have entities reviewing criminal convictions, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, defense attorneys and victims rights advocates. This kind of criminal justice advisory council has been recommended by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and members of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

"This new council will study and make recommendations regarding changes in legal procedures that might be needed to keep pace with advances in forensic science, major developing legal issues that could affect our criminal justice system, and changes in law that may be necessary to better protect the rights of both victims and the accused," Perry said.

"The creation of the Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council can help ensure that justice is dispensed more fairly for the guilty, the innocent and the victims of crime and it will give Texans greater confidence in a justice system designed to protect us all," he added.

In his remarks to the TDNA, Perry also reaffirmed his commitment to Texas open government laws, saying that any exceptions must "be reasonable, clearly defined and carefully used."

"The openness of our government is one of the characteristics that set our democracy apart from so many other forms of government in the world and it is a tradition that I will always work to protect for the benefit of our people," Perry said.

Speaking about the ongoing legislative session, Perry said that at the halfway point of the session, "I feel good about the progress we are making. I believe Republicans and Democrats will come together to solve the great challenges of our day, including reforming our education system, because that is what the people sent us here to do."

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