This is a specialized course for students interested in practicing criminal law in Texas. It focuses on state law aspects of criminal procedure, and especially on the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the Texas Constitution. The cases read are almost exclusively decisions of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and other Texas appellate tribunals.
This course covers those aspects of criminal procedure that arise before trial actually begins. Some of these aspects relate to the investigation of the crime and procedural consequences of this. Thus, there is coverage of search warrants, arrests, police interrogations, and the admissibility of confessions under the Texas "confession statute." In addition, there is consideration of various preliminary aspects of the litigation process itself, such as the grand jury indictment process and the requirement for (and defects in) indictments and other charging instruments. Coverage also includes such matters as pretrial discovery, the Texas "Speedy Trial" statute and its requirements, competence to stand trial, and similar matters. In terms of the progression of a typical criminal case, this course leaves off where coverage of Texas Criminal Procedure: Trial and Beyond begins.