AG Opinions and Requests

May 24, 2019

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-0249 Whether a local law enforcement agency's "no-chase" policy limits a peace officer's duty to prevent and suppress crime and exposes the peace officer to civil liability for later harm caused by the offender the peace officer failed to chase (RQ-0255-KP) Summary: While Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 2.13 imposes a duty on peace officers to prevent and suppress crime, policies that encourage officers to seek alternative methods of pursuit in an attempt to ensure the safety of the public and law enforcement officers generally do not conflict with this duty.

An officer observing a governmental employer's no-chase policy is unlikely to incur personal liability for harm caused by a fleeing offender. In instances when an officer exercises discretion under a no-chase policy, the officer will likely qualify for official immunity. In circumstances where official immunity does not apply, an officer will have other defenses, as courts have generally held that an officer has no legal duty to arrest a suspect to prevent third-party injury. Further, subsection 101.106(f) of the Texas Tort Claims Act entitles a governmental employee to dismissal if a suit is based on conduct within the scope of their employment and could have been brought under the Act against the governmental unit.

KP-0251 Whether individuals convicted of a felony are eligible to run for office in Texas after completing their sentence and having their voting rights restored (RQ-0257-KP) Summary: Subsection 141.00I(a)(4) of the Election Code provides that to be eligible as a candidate for public office a person must "have not been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities."

The restoration of a convicted felon's qualification to vote under Election Code subsection 1l.002(a)(4)(A) after fully discharging a sentence does not restore his or her eligibility to hold public office under Election Code subsection 141.001(a)(4).

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0288-KP The Honorable William James Dixon, Navarro County Criminal District Attorney, Whether probable cause affidavits that identify child victims may be released to the public upon a request made to the Justice of the Peace.

RQ-0289-KP The Honorable Bill Moore, Johnson County Attorney, Whether section 43.106 of the Local Government Code, requiring municipal annexation of county roads adjacent to annexed property, applies to voluntary annexations initiated pursuant to section 43.028 of the Local Government Code.