Attorney General Opinions

November 06, 2015

Legislative News

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TAC has highlighted recent Attorney General Opinions and Requests for Opinions of interest to counties.

Attorney General Opinions

KP-0041 Discoverability under Brady v. Maryland and the Michael Morton Act of recordings of inmate telephone calls to which the criminal district attorney's office has access without a warrant. (RQ-0025-KP) Summary: Brady v. Maryland and its progeny do not impose a general duty upon a prosecutor to listen to all recordings of inmate telephone calls held by the county telecommunications provider to search for exculpatory evidence for a defendant if the prosecutor would not do so otherwise. To the extent the investigators and other employees of the prosecutor listen to any recorded inmate telephone call, Brady does impose upon the prosecutor a duty to discover whether the investigators and employees find evidence favorable to a defendant in the recordings and, if so, to disclose that evidence to the defendant. Considering the Texas Supreme Court's definition of "possession, custody, or control" in an analogous context, a court construing the phrase in article 39.14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure would have a basis on which to determine that a contract providing a criminal district attorney's office with unfettered access to recordings of inmate telephone calls gives the criminal district attorney's office possession, custody, or control of the recordings.

KP-0042 Whether a police department or sheriff's office may display the national motto, "In God We Trust," on its patrol vehicles. (RQ-0059-KP) Summary: A court is likely to conclude that a law enforcement department's display of the national motto, "In God We Trust," on its patrol vehicles is permissible under the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions


RQ-0057-KP: Mr. David Reilly, Executive Director, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Applicability of expunction orders under section 54.0541 of the Family Code to juvenile records.

RQ-0058-KP: The Honorable Micheal E. Jimerson, Rusk County & District Attorney, Whether section 202.052 of the Estates Code requires citation by publication in all actions to determine heirship.

RQ-0059-KP: The Honorable Charles Perry, Chair, Committee on Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs, Whether a police department or sheriff’s office may display the national motto, “In God We Trust,” on its patrol vehicles.

RQ-0060-KP: The Honorable Harold Dutton, Chair, Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, Constitutionality of SB 1876, relating to the appointment of attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem, and mediators.

RQ-0061-KP: The Honorable Jim Keffer, Chair, Committee on Natural Resources, Whether a county that has accepted a public dedication of a right-of-way is obligated to maintain the sidewalks in that right-of-way.

RQ-0062-KP: The Honorable Jerry Rochelle, Bowie County Criminal District Attorney, Whether Texas law allows photographic insurance enforcement systems.

RQ-0064-KP: Mr. Richard A. Hyde, Executive Director, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Administration of funds received through the federal Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act.

RQ-0065-KP: The Honorable C.R. (Kit) Bramblett, Hudspeth County Attorney, Administration and audit of accounts maintained by a county sheriff.