orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Government

February 18, 2013

Funds for sex predator cases clear hurdle

Austin, Tex. — Lawmakers have approved a measure that would pay for more expert testimony to help keep violent sex offenders off the streets.

The proposal gained support from a House Appropriations Sub-committee on Monday and would provide $128,000 to hire a second expert witness in complex cases.

Lawmakers were told that each year the Judiciary Section of the Comptroller's Department seeks the civil commitment of approximately 50 sex offenders after their prison sentences expire. The funds would provide a second witness in about 17 of those cases.

Budget analysts said for example that both a psychologist and a psychiatrist could be called to testify. The subcommittee chairman, Democratic Rep. Sylvester Turner turned down a raft of other proposals to increase funds for staffing at criminal justice agencies.

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