FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/10/2015
ENDING THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE
Austin – Rep. Abel Herrero, Robstown, filed legislation today that will help end patterns of abuse and move the state a step closer to eradicating family violence once and for all.
Current law typically disallows any mention of previous conduct that would help a jury understand a defendant’s pattern of abuse in a relationship. HB 2777 would change the Code of Criminal Procedure to allow a jury to hear, in the guilt-innocence phase of a trial, information about a perpetrator’s abusive past.
“Too often perpetrators are shielded from prosecution because juries are unable to consider a defendant’s long-term patterns of abuse,” Rep. Herrero said. “By getting this information to jurors, we can stop this cycle from repeating itself and further devastating families.”
Rep. Herrero worked with the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) and The Women’s Shelter of South Texas to craft this legislation.
“We are really excited about this bill and proud that it is filed by a representative from South Texas,” said Susan Holley-Lowe, COO of the Women’s Shelter. “It will mean a tremendous amount in allowing jurors to really understand how power and control is used over a period of time and not just in one instance. And that’s what domestic violence is all about."
Gloria Aguilera Terry, CEO of the TCFV, said, "Power and control over a victim in a family violence offense represents a long path of abuse that too often escalates to more violent acts. But for far too long, juries only get part of the story because the current rules only allow them to hear about the one isolated instance in front of them. The Texas Council on Family Violence applauds Representative Abel Herrero’s leadership. His bill will allow juries to hear more information in determining the guilt or innocence of the offender. This will be transformational to victims seeking justice.”
Rep. Herrero is now serving in his fifth term as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. He currently chairs the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence and serves on the House Committee on Energy Resources. He represents District 34, which includes Robstown, Bishop, Banquete, Petronila, Agua Dulce, Driscoll and parts of Corpus Christi and Sandia.