St. Mary's Law Journal
Texas courts should embrace their duty to protect the constitution and forbid the legislature from pursuing a politically popular agenda at the expense of the fundamental rights of certain citizens. Article 11.071 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure runs afoul of the language, intent, and purpose of Texas constitutional guarantees, and eliminates procedural protections designed to guard against the execution of innocent persons.
The Texas Legislature should not be allowed to shorten the time period for seeking habeas relief. Article 11.071 violates the due course of law provisions of the Texas Constitution and violates the Texas equal rights provision. The principal purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to provide prisoners with the means to challenge the legality of his or her confinement outside of the ordinary appellate process. By limiting access to the Great Writ, the Texas Legislature has engaged in the very governmental abuses that the framers and ratifiers of the Texas Bill of Rights sought to prevent.
James C. Harrington and Anne More Burnham, Texas’s New Habeas Corpus Procedure For Death-Row Inmates: Kafkaesque-And Probably Unconstitutional, 27 St. Mary’s L.J. 69 (1995–1996).