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Is Texas Tough on Crime But Soft on Criminal Procedure?

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 49 Issue: 1 Dated: Winter 2012 Pages: 31-71
Adam M. Gershowitz
Date Published
41 pages
This article examines the dichotomy between Texas' reputation for being tough on crime while at the same time being soft on criminal procedure.
Although Texas is well known for imposing tough punishments on convicted defendants, it is surprisingly generous in affording criminal procedure protections. In a variety of areas, including search and seizure rules, confession requirements, the availability of bail, discovery obligations on prosecutors, or jury trial guarantees, Texas affords protections vastly in excess of what is required by the United States Constitution. Even more shockingly, these criminal procedure guarantees come almost entirely from Texas statutes approved by the legislature, not activist rules imposed by judges. This article explores Texas's reputation as a tough-on-crime State, as well as the fact that the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure is extremely favorable to criminal defendants. The article explains the seeming inconsistency between Texas being tough on crime but soft on criminal procedure. (Published Abstract)