Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

Governor Abbott Vetoes House Bill 3184

Saturday, June 20, 2015  •  Austin, Texas  •  Veto Statement
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Pursuant to Article IV, Section 74, of the Texas Constitution, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto House Bill No. 3184 as passed by the Eighty- Fourth Texas Legislature, Regular Session, because of the following objections:

Mediation is a process available in civil lawsuits by which parties can work out their disputes without using courts. House Bill 3184 imports the civil law process of mediation into criminal law, allowing for mediation between the victim of the crime and the criminal to take the place of prosecution by the State, even in some violent felony cases. This "victim-offender mediation" leaves out a key party in criminal litigation-the State of Texas. Criminal indictments in Texas allege that a crime has been committed "against the peace and dignity of the State." The State, not the victim of crime, brings criminal litigation against the defendant. And while prosecutors do seek justice for victims, their primary duty is to represent the broader public interest in deterring and punishing crime for the good of all Texans. Making amends with the victim of a crime does not absolve the criminal of his legal debt to the State. Mediation is not well-suited to the criminal context and should be reserved for civil cases.

Since the Eighty-Fourth Texas Legislature, Regular Session, by its adjournment has prevented the return of this bill, I am filing these objections in the office of the Secretary of State and giving notice thereof by this public proclamation according to the aforementioned constitutional provision.