Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions

The Texas Legislature established the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions during the 81st Legislative Session of 2009. The Advisory Panel was named after Timothy Cole, the first Texan to be posthumously exonerated of a crime through DNA testing.

HB 498 went into effect September 1, 2009

The Advisory Panel was directed to advise the Commission (Then, the Task Force on Indigent Defense) in the preparation of a study regarding the causes of wrongful convictions and make recommendations to prevent future wrongful convictions.

The Advisory Panel met formally on four occasions and also held a number of subcommittee meetings throughout the year. In August, the Advisory Panel submitted its report and research to the Commission (Task Force) for publication and distribution.

The Advisory Panel specifically addressed eyewitness identification procedures, the recording of custodial interrogations, open discovery policies, post-conviction procedures, and the feasibility of creating an innocence commission to investigate wrongful convictions. In total, the Advisory Panel made 11 specific recommendations for reform. Pursuant to HB 498 this report and recommendations were presented to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and standing committees with members on the Advisory Panel. Here are links to the report and research.

Long Road to Justice: The Timothy Cole Story (Video By Jared L. Christopher - Fort Worth Star Telegram)