Young County Attorney Dayne Miller's case load has gone up considerably from 2012 to 2013, and he expects the numbers to jump even higher in 2014.
This, coupled with new discovery laws put in place by the Texas legislature at their last session in 2013, has Miller reconsidering his office's budget.
In May, 2013, the Texas Legislature passed S.B. 1611, or the Michael Morton Act, named after a man who spent almost 25 years in prison until DNA evidence proving he didn't kill his wife emerged in 2011, leading to the arrest of another man, according to a 2013 report from the Texas Tribune.
Proponents of S.B. 1611 assert that it should help keep situations such as Morton's from happening to other potentially innocent people through provisions that, among other components, ensure defendants can view and electronically copy all witness statements and police reports from prosecution files, and allow defense attorneys to share prosecution information with defendants.
While offering no objection to the bill's aim, Miller did say that it is contributing to his and his staff's workload, especially since the number of cases landing in his office show no signs of slowing. Miller said that his office has always had an “open file” policy with defense attorneys, but now requests allowed by S.B. 1611 from defense attorneys frequently include what he assessed as superfluous motions, subsequently resulting in much more work.
Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.