The Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill to ensure that all evidence in death penalty cases is DNA tested before they go to trial. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) garnered support from both parties, including Attorney General Greg Abbot. Ellis and Abbot touted the legislation as a collaborative effort to create a “more fair, reliable and just Texas criminal justice system.” 

In an interview with Capital Tonight last month, Abbott said, “We need to get all that [DNA testing] done upfront, to make sure that we convict the right person, or if the DNA evidence shows the person was innocent, they are released.”

Sen. Ellis released this statement following today’s vote:

“This modest but vitally important reform will help reduce the possibility that the ultimate mistake is made with someone receiving the ultimate penalty. The fact of the matter is that we have already dodged just such a bullet thanks to advocates for the wrongfully convicted. We know that, sometimes, we get the wrong person. The Michael Morton case and dozens of examples are painful reminders of that fact. SB 1292 will ensure we avoid both the possibility of the wrong person serving years on Death Row and the far worse specter of putting to death an innocent person.”