Sec. 203.008: Authority to Issue Subpoena, Administer Oath, Receive Evidence, and Gather Information

(a) In this section, "evidence" means any record, book, paper, document, data, or other evidence maintained by electronic or other means.

(b) The department may issue a subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness or the production of evidence that the department considers necessary for the investigation of:

(1) abuse, neglect, or exploitation allegations;

(2) complaints;

(3) financial and programmatic audits of juvenile probation programs, services, and facilities, including juvenile justice alternative education programs; or

(4) any other matter under the authority of the department, including a determination of treatment under Section 244.005.

(c) The department may issue a subpoena under Subsection (b) only if the subpoena is signed by:

(1) the presiding officer of the board or, if the presiding officer is unavailable, the presiding officer's designee; and

(2) at least two other members of the board, including a board member who is a judge.

(d) A hearings examiner appointed by the department may issue a subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness or the production of any record, book, paper, or document the hearings examiner considers necessary for a determination of treatment under Section 244.005. The hearings examiner may sign a subpoena.

(e) Any peace officer, department investigator, other department official, or person authorized under Article 24.01, Code of Criminal Procedure, may serve the subpoena in the same manner that similar process in a court of record having original jurisdiction of criminal actions is served.

(f) A subpoena under this section shall be served and witness fees and mileage paid as in civil cases in the district court in the county to which the witness is called, unless the proceeding for which the service or payment is made is under Chapter 2001, Government Code, in which case the service or payment shall be made as provided in that chapter. Witnesses subpoenaed at the instance of the department shall be paid their fees and mileage by the department out of funds appropriated for that purpose.

(g) On application of the department, a court of record having original jurisdiction of criminal actions may compel the attendance of a witness, the production of material, or the giving of testimony before the department, by an attachment for contempt or in the same manner as the court may otherwise compel the production of evidence.

(h) The presiding officer or a member of the board may administer an oath to a witness in attendance before the department or before an authorized representative of the department.

(i) If a witness in attendance before the department or before an authorized representative refuses without reasonable cause to be examined or answer a legal or pertinent question, or to produce evidence when ordered by the department, the department may apply to the district court for a rule or order returnable in not less than two or in more than five days, directing the witness to show cause before the judge why the witness should not be punished for contempt. The department may apply to the district court of any county where the witness is in attendance, on proof by affidavit of the fact, unless the order of contempt is sought under Chapter 2001, Government Code, in which case the department shall apply to a district court of Travis County, as provided by that chapter. On return of the order, the judge hearing the matter shall examine the witness under oath and the witness shall be given an opportunity to be heard. If the judge determines that the witness has refused, without reasonable cause or legal excuse, to be examined or answer a legal or pertinent question, or to produce evidence that the witness was ordered to bring or produce, the judge may immediately find the witness in contempt of court.

(j) The department shall be granted access at any reasonable time to any evidence that is related to any matter the department or executive director considers necessary to administer the department's functions, powers, and duties.

Comments

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 85 (S.B. 653), Sec. 1.002, eff. September 1, 2011.