Brown County Commissioners Court members on Monday authorized District Attorney Micheal Murray’s office to spend just over $94,000 in forfeiture funds to buy software and equipment that will streamline the process of providing discovery to defense attorneys.
No taxpayer funds will be involved in the purchase of the software from a Texas company called Document Logistix, Murray told the commissioners court. The $94,000 includes a prepaid 12-year software maintenance agreement and the purchase of equipment from Apollo Computers, Murray said.
The new software will help prosecutors do a more efficient job complying with 2013 legislation known as the Michael Morton Act, Murray said.
The Morton Act aims to avoid wrongful convictions by preventing prosecutors from suppressing evidence, the Texas Tribune reported in a May 2013 article.
Murray said his office provided discovery to defense attorneys before the Morton Act but has not had a way to track when defense attorneys view and make printouts of discovery. Sometimes during court cases, Murray said, a question arises as to whether a defense attorney has received a particular piece of evidence from prosecutors.
The new software will also enable prosecutors to electronically receive reports and other evidence including videos and recordings from law enforcement agencies, rather than receiving them manually.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
n Approved the sale and use of fireworks for San Jacinto Day between April 16 and midnight April 21.
n Approved the 2016 financial statement from County Attorney Jennifer Robison’s office, which showed a beginning fund balance for 2017 of $5.3 million.