HBA-ATS H.B. 743 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 743 By: Eiland Criminal Jurisprudence 4/9/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current practice, many federal district courts permit government counsel to have an investigative agent at counsel table throughout the trial although the agent is or may be a witness. The practice is permitted as an exception to the rule of excluding witnesses (Rule 615 of the Federal Rules of Evidence) so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses. H.B. 743 permits a peace officer to hear the testimony of other witnesses in a criminal trial by prohibiting a court of this state from sequestering a witness who is a peace officer in charge of the criminal investigation, and by disapproving the application of Rule 614 of the Texas Rules of Evidence from excluding that peace officer. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Article 36.05, Code of Criminal Procedure, as follows: (a) Creates this subsection from existing text. (b) Prohibits a court from placing under rule a witness who is a peace officer in charge of the investigation of the criminal charges filed. It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that, in this context, rule refers to the sequestration rule governing exclusion of witnesses from court proceedings so they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses. SECTION 2. Disapproves the application of Rule 614 (Exclusion of Witnesses), Texas Rules of Evidence, from excluding a witness who is a peace officer in charge of the investigation of the criminal charges filed from hearing the testimony of other witnesses in the case. SECTION 3.Effective date: September 1, 1999. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 4.Emergency clause.