Governor sets survivor clemency

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 20 established a clemency application specifically for survivors of human trafficking or domestic violence.

The application, crafted in coordination with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, includes a section that affords the applicant an opportunity to provide a statement to the board regarding their human trafficking or domestic violence victimization.

Human trafficking and domestic violence, according to the governor’s office, often lead victims down a path of offenses that entraps them in a vicious cycle of abuse and associated crime. Abbott’s announcement coincides with the launch of a new public awareness campaign informing survivors that they can submit an application for Board of Pardons and Paroles to review and consider recommending that the governor grant a full pardon for crimes committed while under the grips of a trafficker or an abusive partner.

“Texas is committed to empowering the survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking, and one of the surest signals of that goal is laying out a true path to redemption and restoration,” Abbott said.

“The gubernatorial pardon plays an important role in this redemption process, because it offers a second chance to survivors with criminal convictions resulting from their abuse or exploitation. I am grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles as we work together to develop a stronger justice system that promotes redemption, restoration and transformation,” Abbott added.

In his recent announcement proclaiming January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Abbott applauded state lawmakers for passing legislation to provide survivors with “streamlined access to a clean criminal record and a fresh start.”

AG supports bankruptcy

Some 42 state attorneys general joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a Feb. 20 letter expressing support of the Bankruptcy Venue Reform Act of 2019.

If passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, the federal legislation would prevent forum shopping during bankruptcy litigation. Paxton said such a law would provide protection to consumers, workers, retirees, shareholders and small business vendors “who are currently harmed by the onesided right for corporate debtors to choose whichever court they prefer.”

Currently, Paxton said, individuals can only file bankruptcy in their district of residence. Corporations, on the other hand, have a wide choice of possible venues, which can be manipulated to their own advantage, he added.