Criminal justice

 Jenevieve Robbins/Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Despite bipartisan support, Texas bill tackling intellectual disability in death penalty cases fails

Negotiators in the House and Senate couldn't come to an agreement on a bill addressing how Texas handles capital murder defendants who may be intellectually disabled. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing people with intellectual disabilities amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

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 Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

A measure to limit arrests for non-jailable offenses passed the House after a great struggle. It still died.

Behind closed doors, a joint Senate and House committee killed a measure that would require police officers to explain why they arrest someone for fine-only offenses, otherwise the case would be dismissed. Criminal justice reform advocates considered the issue a priority following the arrest of Sandra Bland.

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 Illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Advocates say a Texas House bill could prevent arrests like Sandra Bland's, but multiple attempts to pass it failed

A measure to limit arrests for misdemeanors that only result in fines initially got House approval. Then it failed on a subsequent vote amid what some say was confusion over what the bill would do. Lawmakers tried to revive it Friday evening — after several lawmakers had left the chamber — but that attempt also failed.

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