General Counsel – Execution Files

Texas Governor Rick Perry:

An Inventory of Governor Rick Perry General Counsel Execution Files at the Texas State Archives, 1970-2014, bulk 1992-2014

Organization History Scope and Contents Restrictions Related Materials

Overview

govPerrylogoCreator: Texas. Governor (2000-2015 : Perry)
Title: Governor Rick Perry General Counsel execution files
Dates: 1970-2014
Dates: bulk 1992-2014
Abstract: These are execution files that the Office of the General Counsel for Texas Governor Rick Perry created to track the cases of death row inmates and document actions by the courts and the governor through appeals, requests for stays of execution, or clemency. The files consist of execution summaries by the governor’s general counsel and summaries by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) (or by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the BPP), memos and correspondence, clemency petitions, affidavits, court documents, notes, records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate files, Texas Department of Public Safety criminal history records, news clippings, case summaries from the South Western Reporter or similar court reports, citations from online legal sources, video tapes, and internal office files for General Counsel staff. Dates covered are 1970-2014, bulk 1992-2014. This series includes both paper and electronic record types.
Quantity: 37 cubic ft. and 79.2 MB (50 files)
Language: These materials are written predominately in English with scattered Spanish and other foreign languages throughout.
Repository: Texas State Archives
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Other Finding Aids

A description of non-electronic records described in this finding aid are available at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/50120/tsl-50120.html.


Organization of the Records

These records are organized into two series:


Agency History

The General Counsel position within the Texas Office of the Governor was created in October 1973 when the Executive Director of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division appointed an individual as General Counsel, to assist him in providing statute interpretations and in other matters relating to policies and procedures. Today the Office of the General Counsel is a separate division in the Governor’s Office.

Duties of the General Counsel include providing statute interpretations; tracking inmates on death row as their cases move through the judicial process including all appeals to the governor for commutations or stays of execution; handling pardon requests sent to the governor; reviewing proposed settlements, land patents, grant requests, contracts, easements, and deeds for the governor; analyzing proposed legislation and regulations for validity and legal effect; assisting appointments staff in determining eligibility and other legal issues related to proposed appointments; handling extradition and requisition matters; coordinating ethics guidelines and training for the governor’s office; advising the governor on federal programs administered by the state; coordinating the governor’s criminal justice policy with the governor’s Policy Director; and providing legal advice and handling litigation filed against the governor or the Governor’s Office, in conjunction with actions of the Attorney General on the governor’s behalf.


Scope and Content of the Records

These are execution files that the Office of the General Counsel of Texas Governor Rick Perry created to track the cases of death row inmates and document actions by the courts and the governor through appeals, requests for stays of execution, or clemency. The files consist of execution summaries by the governor’s general counsel and summaries by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) (or by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the BPP); memos and correspondence; clemency petitions; affidavits; court documents (judgments, opinions, appeals, motions, orders, etc.); notes; records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate files, including medical or psychological summaries or reports, disciplinary reports, social histories, other internal reports about specific inmates, police reports, investigative reports of detectives, crime lab reports, fingerprint records, and occasionally, crime scene and/or autopsy photos; Texas Department of Public Safety criminal history records; clippings; case summaries from the South Western Reporter or similar court reports; citations from online legal sources; video tapes; and internal office files for General Counsel staff such as spreadsheets, databases and template response forms. Select cases are from Governor Clements, Governor Richards or Governor Bush’s terms as governor. This series includes both paper and electronic record types. Dates covered are 1970-2014, bulk 1992-2014.

The majority of the records are within the series Execution case files. This includes the individual files for most of the inmates executed during Perry’s term, dating 1970-2014, bulk 1992-2014. The series Administrative records and reports are records created by General Counsel staff to help track and facilitate execution case review and decisions within the General Counsel’s office, dating 2001-2012.

Formats of the original electronic files include word processing files (.doc, .docx), spreadsheets (.xls, .xlsx), databases (.mdb), and PDFs. Digital files presented for public use will generally be PDF for text documents or spreadsheets. Files in their original format are available on request; restrictions may apply. Electronic records described in this finding aid that are part of the Texas Digital Archive are indicated as such in the inventory. Restrictions on access to the content of records are applicable to physical and electronic records.


Restrictions and Requirements

Restrictions on Access
Physical materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to: social security numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.147); common law privacy (Texas Government Code, Section 552.101); names of recipients of social services (Texas Human Resources Code, Title 2, Section 12.003 and/or Texas Government Code, Section 552.101); personal email addresses (Texas Government Code, Section 552.137); driver’s license numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.130); names of juvenile offenders (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005 and/or Texas Government Code, Section 552.101); names of victims of sexual assaults (Texas Government Code, Section 552.101); criminal histories prepared by the Texas Department of Public Safety, information about inmates incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice received from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and information created by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (Texas Government Code, Section 552.101 (information confidential by law, Texas Government Code, Section 508.313)); grand jury records (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 20.02); juror information (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 35.29), crime victim impact statement (Texas Government Code, Section 552.1325); autopsy photographs (Texas Code of Criminal Procedures, Article 49.25 [989a]); agency memoranda (Texas Government Code, Section 552.111); attorney client privilege (Texas Government Code, Section 552.107) and psychiatric evaluations (Health and Safety Code, Section 611.002), an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552).

The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P. O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (director.librarian@tsl.texas.gov), or see our web page (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/customer/pia.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information. If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.

Types of restricted information as listed above apply to paper and electronic records. Some electronic records will not be available through our portal due to such restrictions. Please see Archives staff for further information.

Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements
To view VHS videotapes please contact Archives staff for appropriate hardware.


The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.
Texas State Archives
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals execution case files, 1968-2012, 1349 cubic ft.
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Records (see the series Execution Case files, 1974-2010, 1,141.75 cubic ft.)
Texas Governor George W. Bush General Counsel execution files located at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, 1886, 1892, 1903, 1912-1921, 1925, 1932, 1939-2000, bulk 1986-2000
Texas Governor Mark White records, 1947, 1962-1987, undated, bulk 1983-1986, 424.75 cubic ft. (see the series General Counsel files, 1947, 1962-1986, 4.3 cubic ft.)
Texas Office of the Governor General Counsel execution case files, 1946-1994, 2.75 cubic ft.
Texas Office of the Governor Criminal Justice Division records, 1973-1990, bulk 1987-1990, 28 cubic ft. (see the series General Counsel Executive Clemency files, Execution case files, 1978-1990, 1.5 cubic ft.)
Texas Secretary of State executive clemency records, 1840, 1845-2009, 111.18 cubic ft., 166 reels of microfilm (originals), 21 reels of microfilm (duplicates)
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
Ann W. Richards Papers, 1933-2000, about 1500 cubic ft. (specifically the General Counsel files)
Texas A&M University
Records of William P. Clements, 1978-1983, 663.1 cubic ft.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation
(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas Governor Rick Perry General Counsel execution files. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information
Accession numbers: 2015/067, E2015/117

Paper records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Office of the Governor on December 19, 2014 through March 2015. Electronic records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Office of the Governor on January 29, 2015.

Processing Information
Processed by Halley Grogan, November 2015