Tarrant District Court Plan
Preamble
1/22/2016

 


The judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County, Texas, are committed to timely providing quality legal representation to indigent criminal defendants, to ensuring fair and neutral procedures for attorney selection, and to establishing minimum competency standards for court-appointed attorneys; while at the same time ensuring that public funds are wisely spent.  In administering the Tarrant County District Courts Felony Court-Appointment Plan (hereinafter the “Plan”), the judges  of the district courts trying criminal cases seek to comply with applicable provisions of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure as well as the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. This Plan supersedes all other plans and guidelines promulgated by the judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County.


The judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County will administer the Plan in accordance with the rules set out herein.

The judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County expect that attorneys appointed to represent indigent defendants will continuously adhere to the rules of the Plan.

The County shall submit to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC), on a form prescribed by the TIDC, the number of appointments made to each attorney accepting appointments, and the information provided to the county by those attorneys under Article 26.04(j)(4), Code of Criminal Procedure.  This is due no later than November 1st each year.

The judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County have created an Office of Attorney Appointments (OAA), and within the OAA employ a Coordinator of Attorney Appointments (CAA) and staff to administer the Plan.

The judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County also employ a magistrate and financial investigation officers (FIOs) to interview arrested persons and collect detailed financial information from those who request appointment of counsel. The information collected by an FIO shall be utilized solely by the court in determining indigency.


           

Prompt Magistration
11/9/2016


All arrested persons shall be brought before a magistrate without unnecessary delay, but no later than 48 hours after arrest for the purpose of determining if the person is indigent for purposes of appointment of counsel. 

A magistrate will inform and explain the right to counsel and right to appointed counsel to the accused.  A magistrate will also ensure that reasonable assistance is provided to the accused in completing forms necessary to request counsel. 

Record will be made of the magistrate’s informing the accused of the right to request appointment of counsel and whether the accused requested appointment of counsel.

If the accused requests an appointed lawyer, within 24 hours the magistrate will transmit or cause to be transmitted to the Office of Attorney Appointments an accused’s request for counsel.

For persons arrested on out-of-county warrants, the magistrate will ask the defendant if he/she would like to request appointed counsel. The magistrate will record the response, and if counsel is requested, the magistrate will provide the arrestee with the appropriate forms for requesting counsel. The magistrate will ensure assistance in completing the forms at the same time. The forms will be transmitted to the appointing authority in the county issuing the warrant within 24 hours of the request being made

If the accused does not request an appointed lawyer, the magistrate shall retain the record of this decision pursuant to the rules adopted by the magistrate
Indigence Determination Standards
1/22/2016


A defendant desiring a court-appointed attorney shall truthfully complete an “Affidavit of Indigency” financial questionnaire, stating under oath that he or she is without means to retain counsel. The defendant will provide supporting documentation, if ordered to do so. The defendant may be assisted in this process by an FIO. The district judge or the judge’s designee will next review the Affidavit of Indigency form and any supporting documentation and decide if the defendant is indigent. If the defendant is found to be indigent, counsel will be appointed under the Plan to represent the defendant.

In determining whether a defendant is indigent, the court or court’s designee my consider the defendant’s income, source of income, assets, property owned, outstanding obligations, necessary expenses, the number and ages of dependents, and spousal income that is available to the defendant.  The court or court’s designee may not consider whether the defendant has posted or is capable of posting bail, except to the extent that it reflects the defendant’s financial circumstances.

Definitions – Terms used to determine eligibility for an indigent’s defense services shall have the following meanings:

“Income” shall include the total cash receipts, before taxes, from all resources, including money wages and the net receipts from non-farm or farm self-employment. Further, “income” shall include regular payments from a governmental income maintenance program, public or private pensions, annuities, and income from dividends, interest, rents, royalties or periodic receipts from estates or trusts, regular payments from Social Security, strike benefits from union funds, veteran’s benefits, training stipends, alimony, child support and military family allotments, or other regular support from an absent family member or someone not living in the household, or foster care payments, benefits from a governmental income maintenance program (AFDC, SSI, unemployment compensation, or state or county general assistance or home relief), food or rent received in lieu of wages, money which is received from sale of real or personal property or received from tax refunds, gifts, one-time insurance payments or compensation for injury, non-cash benefits (food stamps, etc.).

“Liquid assets”: Liquid assets shall include, but are not limited to, cash, savings and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and equity in real and personal property, as well as any interest in retirement accounts.

An “indigent” is any person with a household income at or below the Living Wage Calculator guidelines as established and revised periodically by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and whose liquid assets do not exceed $15,000.

A defendant whose household income is at or below the latest Living Wage Calculator guideline shall receive a felony court-appointment, authorized by the OAA and made pursuant to the felony appointment wheel.

A defendant whose household income exceeds the latest Living Wage Calculator guideline may still qualify for a court-appointed attorney if the court or its designee determines special circumstances exist.  In determining whether special circumstances exist, the court or its designee may consider unusual, excessive, or extraordinary medical expenses, the age or physical infirmity of household members, or other expenses.  The court or its designee may also consider the complexity of the case, the estimated cost of presenting a legal defense, the fees charged by lawyers in the community for providing defense services in similar cases, whether the defendant has retained counsel in related legal matters (e.g., administrative license revocation, forfeiture, etc.), any efforts the defendant has made to retain an attorney, and any other factor impacting the ability of the defendant to retain private counsel.

As set forth in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 26.04(p), a defendant who is determined by the court to be indigent is presumed to remain indigent for the remainder of the proceedings in the case unless a material change in the defendant's financial circumstances occurs. If there is a material change in financial circumstances after a determination of indigency or nonindigency is made, the defendant, the defendant's counsel, or the attorney representing the state may move for reconsideration of the determination.

The court or the court’s designee may not consider whether the defendant has posted or is capable of posting bail, except to the extent that it reflects the defendant’s financial circumstances as measured by the considerations herein.

A defendant may be required to reimburse Tarrant County in whole or in part the cost of legal services provided as set forth in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 26.05. If a defendant is placed on probation or deferred adjudication, the court may impose as a condition of probation repayment of all or a portion of the county’s cost for providing legal representation, if it does not impose a substantial financial hardship upon the defendant or dependents.  Payments are to be made through the Tarrant County Supervision and Corrections Department to the Fund for Indigent Defense of Tarrant County.

The guidelines established herein for the appointment of counsel also apply to the reimbursement of expenses incurred for the purposes of investigation or expert testimony, as approved by the court.

Any person who is not defined as indigent in accordance with the Plan, but who has received court appointed counsel, shall be required to make payments for the reimbursement of the cost of legal services at the discretion of the court.


Minimum Attorney Qualifications
4/18/2018

     A critical review of the quality of representation actually provided by attorneys applying to be on the wheel is a factor in providing high quality representation to indigent defendants.  In addition to the objective criteria outlined herein, the statutes of the State of Texas provide for a subjective review of the qualifications of the attorneys applying for inclusion on the wheel.  While recognizing that there is a need for an open attorney appointment wheel, the judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County have an obligation to closely monitor those seeking approval to be on the wheel.


   Attorneys who are approved to receive appointments pursuant to this system of qualifications must file an application for re-approval before the end of their birth month each year.


Attorneys seeking to recertify for felony court appointments must demonstrate that the attorney has had substantial and active participation within the last 5 years in 5 non-class C criminal jury trials on the merits, at least two of which must have been felony cases.  Current board certification in criminal law eliminates the need for the attorney to provide proof of active participation in trials and cases at the time of application.An attorney who is not approved on reapplication to the appointment wheel for failure to demonstrate active particpation in the required number of criminal jury trias may reapply upon providing proof that the attorney has completed the required number of criminal jury trials, so long as the attorney otherwise meets the qualifications under the Plan.


Unless the district court judges trying criminal cases have removed the attorney for any cause, the attorney may reapply for the appointment wheel after the expiration of one year following an application that is not approved.  
    The establishment of this system of qualifications confers to no attorney a property interest in receiving felony court-appointments.

A.  General Objective Qualifications to Receive Appointments
In order to be considered to receive appointments and, once approved, to continue to receive appointments to represent indigent felony defendants in Tarrant County, an attorney must:
1) be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas;
2) be familiar with the Texas Penal Code, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Texas Rules of Evidence, Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Texas case law, and the local rules of practice for the criminal and appellate courts of Tarrant County, Texas;
3) must complete the Annual Mental Health and Criminal Law training approved by the Tarrant County Criminal Courts. Different training that covers mental health issues in the criminal justice system may be substituted with approval of the Criminal District Judges.
4) consistently demonstrate commitment to providing effective assistance of counsel and quality representation to criminal defendants;
5) consistently demonstrate professionalism, proficiency, and reliability in representing criminal defendants, and in dealing with the courts and opposing counsel;
6) be of sound mind, as well as good moral and ethical character;
7) not have been sanctioned by a court for failure to appear;
8) not have been sanctioned by a court for any type of unprofessional conduct or abusive conduct;
9) maintain his or her principal office in Tarrant County. (A principal office is the commercial location where the attorney conducts the majority of his or her criminal law practice that is the listed work address recorded with the State Bar of Texas and published on the State Bar of Texas website, and does not consist of a post office box address); 
10) maintain a secretary, receptionist, answering service, or daily monitored answering machine or voice mail system at his or her principal office; 
11) maintain a current listing in the attorney’s name in the Fort Worth telephone book, on-line directory, and/or directory assistance;
12) maintain a functioning fax machine on a dedicated telephone line and an e-mail address, both available twenty-four hours a day and monitored on a daily basis;
13) timely and promptly respond to telephone, e-mail, regular mail, or fax requests from each court and OAA;
14) maintain the capacity to access and review district attorney files on appointed cases that are available through the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office electronic case filing system;
14) file with the OAA a complete, accurate sworn “Application for Felony Court-Appointments,” including all required attachments;
15) promptly notify the OAA in writing of any changes to the information contained in any filed Application for Felony Court-Appointments;
16) promptly notify the OAA in writing of any matter that may disqualify the attorney by law, regulation, rule, or this Plan from receiving appointments to represent indigent defendants;

17) promptly notify the Court or OAA of any case for which he or she is no longer qualified due to any punishment enhancement or change of offense level after appointment;
18) annually file with the OAA, by the last day of the attorney’s birth month, an accurate copy of his or her State Bar of Texas Minimum Continuing Legal Education Annual Verification Report and a sworn “Annual Certification of Attorney” that he or she is in compliance with the general and specific qualifications required under this Plan;
19) represent the defendant until charges are dismissed, the defendant is acquitted, appeals are exhausted, or the attorney is permitted or ordered by the court to withdraw as counsel for the defendant after a finding of good cause is entered on the record.
20) with respect to a defendant not represented by other counsel, before withdrawing as counsel for the defendant after a trial or the entry of a plea of guilty:
(A) advise the defendant of the defendant’s right to file a motion for new trial and a notice of appeal;.
(B) if the defendant wishes to pursue either or both remedies described by Paragraph (A), assist the defendant in requesting the prompt appointment of replacement counsel.
(C) if replacement counsel is not appointed promptly and the defendant wishes to pursue an appeal, file a timely notice of appeal.
21) not later than October 15 of each year and on a form prescribed by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, submit to the OAA information, for the preceding fiscal year, that describes the percentage of the attorney’s practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in Tarrant County under Article 26.04 and Title 3, Family Code.
22) timely appear and represent each appointed client at each and every court date scheduled by the court according to the Differentiated Felony Case Management system.  The only exceptions for a designated substitute attorney to appear for the appointed attorney will be for a docket appearance where previously approved by the trial court and with the approval of the defendant, and to consummate a previously negotiated case settlement with the approval of the trial court and the defendant; 
23) make every reasonable effort to contact the defendant no later than the end of the first working day after the date on which the attorney is appointed and to interview the defendant as soon as practicable after the attorney is appointed;
24) timely request discovery from the State pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 39.14;
25) make every reasonable effort to timely review each and every disclosure made by the State pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 39.14 or otherwise regarding any matter to which counsel is appointed;
26) promptly provide written notification of any court setting to each appointed client within three business days of receipt of such notice;
27) submit only a properly documented and accurate “Defense Claim for Fee Payment/Expense” form or submit to the court via the Tarrant County electronic voucher program on an appointed case;
28) accept responsibility for all actions taken on each appointed case; and
29) meet any additional requirement(s) that may be later imposed by the district court judges hearing felony cases with notice to the attorneys as an addendum to this Plan.

B.  Specific Objective Qualifications for Degrees of Felony Cases
In addition to the general qualifications outlined above, an attorney seeking felony court-appointments must possess the following qualifications.  Current board certification in criminal law eliminates the need for the attorney to provide proof of active participation in trials and cases at the time of application. 
State Jail Felony and Extradition Cases: licensed to practice in Texas for at least one year, the completion of at least fifteen hours of State Bar of Texas approved Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) in the area of criminal law within the preceding twelve months and in each MCLE reporting year thereafter, and substantial and active participation within the last ten years in five criminal jury trials on the merits, and twenty pleas of guilty or five contested probation revocations, all in non-class C cases.
Second and Third-Degree Felony and Motion to Revoke or Adjudicate Community Supervision Cases: must possess the qualifications necessary to receive state jail felony appointments and be licensed to practice in Texas for at least two years, have completed at least twenty hours of approved MCLE in the area of criminal law in the preceding twelve months and in each MCLE reporting year thereafter, and have substantial and active participation within the last ten years in ten non-class C criminal jury trials on the merits, at least two of which must have been felony cases.
First-Degree Felony Cases: must possess the qualifications necessary to receive second and third-degree felony appointments and be licensed to practice in Texas for at least three years, have completed at least twenty hours of approved MCLE in the area of criminal law in the preceding twelve months as well as in each MCLE reporting year thereafter, and have substantial and active participation in ten felony criminal jury trials on the merits within the last ten years; or be board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Appeals : licensed to practice in Texas for at least three years, completion of at least twenty hours of approved MCLE in the area of criminal law in the preceding twelve months and in each MCLE reporting year thereafter, and must have briefed and prosecuted five separate criminal appeals within the last five years; or must be board certified in criminal law or appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  If the defendant states on the record that he or she wishes for the trial attorney to prosecute the appeal, and the trial attorney agrees to prosecute the appeal, the trial court may appoint the trial attorney to represent the defendant on appeal.
Post-Judgment Writs and Post-Conviction DNA Motions:  licensed to practice in Texas for at least three years, completion of at least twenty hours of approved MCLE in the area of criminal law in the preceding twelve months and in each MCLE reporting year thereafter, and must have briefed and prosecuted five separate criminal appeals within the last five years; or must be board certified in criminal law or appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  In addition, must complete the Annual Post-Conviction Writs and DNA training approved by the Tarrant County Criminal Courts. Different training that covers forensic evidence, specifically, DNA, may be substituted with approval of the Criminal District Judges.

Qualification for appointments to offense by felony wheel is based on the punishment level of the offense after any enhancements or filing changes.


C.  Specific Objective Qualifications for Special Language Skills Cases:
In addition to the above general objective qualifications to receive   appointments and specific objective qualifications for degrees of felony cases, any attorney applying for appointments for non-English speakers must annually attend a one hour CLE about special issues in representing non-English speaking clients approved by the judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County.   The required one hour CLE in special issues in representing non-English speaking clients is included in the MCLE requirements for approval and annually thereafter. 








Prompt Appointment of Counsel
11/9/2016

If the person is entitled to and requests appointed counsel, the court or the court’s designee shall appoint counsel no later than the end of the first working day after the date on which the court or court’s designee receives the request for appointment of counsel; except that if the accused is arrested on an out-of-county warrant, the magistrate will ask if the person wants to request counsel, inform the person of the procedures for requesting counsel, and ensure the person is provided reasonable assistance in completing the necessary forms for requesting counsel in the county issuing the warrant.  The requests for counsel made by the person arrested on out-of county warrants will be transmitted to the appointing authority of the county issuing the warrant within 24 hours of the request being made.

If an indigent defendant is arrested in another county based on this county’s warrant, counsel will be appointed within one working day of the county’s receipt of the request for counsel.  If a defendant is arrested in this county based on another county’s warrant, counsel will be appointed for the defendant if, on the eleventh day after the arrest, the defendant is still in this county’s custody and the other county has not appointed counsel.

If a defendant wishes to request counsel prior to the initial appearance, directions will be provided on the form “Notice to Defendant Released Prior to Appointment of Counsel” located on the Tarrant County Criminal Courts website.

If the defendant is released from custody prior to the appointment of counsel, appointment of counsel is not required until the defendant’s first court appearance or when adversarial judicial proceedings are initiated, whichever comes first.

A defendant desiring a court-appointed attorney shall truthfully complete an “Affidavit of Indigency” financial questionnaire, stating under oath that he or she is without means to retain counsel. The defendant will provide supporting documentation, if ordered to do so. The defendant may be assisted in this process by an FIO. The judge or the judge’s designee will next review the Affidavit of Indigency form and any supporting documentation and decide if the defendant is indigent. If the defendant is found to be indigent, counsel will be appointed under the Plan to represent the defendant.

Any accused who remains unrepresented after 14 days of confinement shall be appointed counsel.

If it comes to the attention of an appointed attorney that a defendant may no longer be indigent, the attorney shall inform the judge for further proceedings.
If a defendant appears without counsel in any adversary judicial proceeding that may result in punishment by confinement, the court may not direct or encourage the defendant to communicate with the attorney representing the state until the court advises the defendant of the right to counsel and the procedure for requesting appointed counsel, and the defendant has been given a reasonable opportunity to request appointed counsel

Attorney Selection Process
1/22/2016


Distribution of Appointments via “The Wheel”

A qualified attorney will be appointed to each indigent defendant based on a rotating felony appointment wheel consisting of the names of qualified attorneys approved by a majority of the judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County.

An attorney may receive appointments for each level of offense for which he or she is qualified.

Each qualified attorney will be appointed to represent one indigent defendant per rotation through the felony appointment wheel as maintained by the OAA.

Attorneys approved to receive felony appointments will be added to the end of the wheel, as it exists at that time, on a monthly basis.

A separate list of qualified Spanish-speaking attorneys will be maintained by the OAA for appointment to cases where the defendant’s primary language is Spanish. In order to be placed on the list, attorneys must complete a one-hour CLE about special issues in representing non-English speaking clients approved by the judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County.

Ad Hoc Distribution of Appointments in the Trial Court

The district judge or the judge’s designee may deviate from the rotation system and appoint an attorney in that court who is specifically qualified under the Plan on an ad hoc basis to represent indigent defendants, upon a finding of good cause on the record.
 
The district judge or the judge’s designee upon a finding of good cause on the record may deviate from the rotation system and appoint an attorney in that court who is specifically qualified under the Plan on an ad hoc basis to represent indigent defendants who are charged in a motion to revoke or adjudicate community supervision in that court.

Fee and Expense Payment Process
10/11/2016

 The district court judges trying criminal cases in Tarrant County have adopted a schedule of compensation for court-appointed services.  In arriving at this schedule, the judges have considered the service performed, the time and labor required to perform the service, the complexity of the case involved, and the experience and ability of the individuals performing the service.
 All requests for compensation for all court-appointed services must either be documented on the form entitled “Defense Claim for Fee Payment/Expenses” or submitted to the court via the Tarrant County electronic voucher program.
Court-appointed attorneys will not be compensated for the initial client notification letter and should not include this service on their submission for payment.
Payment can vary from the fee schedule in unusual circumstances or where the fee would be manifestly inappropriate because of circumstances beyond the control of the appointed counsel.
A.  Compensation for Attorney Services
Counsel appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants in non-death capital cases and first degree felony shall be compensated for their services as follows:
     Court appearance (including uncontested disposition): $50-300/appearance
     Evidentiary court appearance (including jury trial): $500-1500/day
     Out-of-court time:     $50-150/hour
     Appellate time:      $50-125/hour
     Post-Conviction Writ/DNA    $50-125/hour
     64.01(c) DNA Review     $300 flat

Counsel appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants in all other felony cases shall be compensated for their services as follows:
    Court appearance     $50-300/appearance 
    Evidentiary court appearance    $500-1,250/day
    Out-of-court time     $50-125/hour
    Appellate time      $50-125/hour

For purposes of calculating the amount to be paid for an evidentiary court appearance, a day is considered to be a calendar day even if it exceeds eight hours.  Where time spent in an evidentiary court appearance is less than eight hours, the judge may authorize payment for a pro rata share of a day’s compensation.  Time spent out of court on the same day as an evidentiary court appearance may be billed under the category of “out-of-court time.”

B.  Compensation for Expenses
 Counsel appointed to represent indigent defendants shall be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses, including expenses for investigation and expert witness services.  Expenses incurred with or without prior court approval shall be reimbursed according to the procedures described herein.  When possible, prior court approval shall be obtained before incurring expenses for investigation and expert witness services.

1. Procedure for Prior Court Approval of Expenses

Appointed counsel shall file with the court a pretrial request for payment of investigative expenses, expert witness expenses, or both.  In the discretion of the attorney, this request may be filed as an ex parte confidential request. 
The request for approval of expenses must state the type of investigation to be conducted or the type of expert witness to be retained, must set out specific facts that suggest the investigation will result in admissible evidence or that the services of an expert witness are reasonably necessary to assist in the preparation of a potential defense, and shall include an itemized list of anticipated expenses for each investigator, expert witness, or both.
The judge shall grant the request for payment of expenses in whole or in part as far as the request is reasonable.  If the judge denies the request in whole or in part, the judge shall state the reason for the denial in writing, attach the denial to the request, and file them in the record.

2. Procedure Without Prior Court Approval

Appointed counsel may incur investigative or expert witness expenses without prior approval of the court.  On presentation of a claim for reimbursement, the judge shall order reimbursement of counsel for the expenses, if the judge determines that the expenses were necessary and reasonable.
C.  Compensation of Court-Appointed Investigators
Investigators appointed to assist in the defense of indigent criminal defendants shall be compensated for their services at the rate of $50 per hour.  Investigators shall also be compensated for necessary and reasonable expenses, and for mileage at the mileage reimbursement rate set by the Tarrant County Commissioners Court.



Miscellaneous
4/10/2017

 Counsel will be appointed in death penalty cases pursuant to the most recent Eighth Administrative Judicial Region plan promulgated under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 26.052.

REMOVAL FROM FELONY APPOINTMENT WHEEL
The judges of the district courts trying criminal cases in Tarrant County recognize the obligation to closely monitor those attorneys approved to be on the wheel and to carefully consider the removal of attorneys from the wheel who provide substandard representation to their clients.  A critical review of the quality of representation provided by attorneys on the wheel is an obligation of the judges under this Plan.

A.  Grounds for Removal
 An attorney shall be immediately removed by the CAA from the felony appointment wheel and may be removed from any case to which the attorney has been appointed for any of the following:
1) the attorney is convicted or receives deferred adjudication for any felony, including controlled substance offenses;
2) the attorney is convicted or receives deferred adjudication for any crime of moral turpitude;
3) the attorney is under indictment, information, criminal complaint or other formal charge for a felony or crime of moral turpitude;
4) the attorney intentionally misrepresents any information on an Application for Felony Court-appointments, on any Defense Claim for Fee Payment/Expenses or on any Annual Certification of  Attorney;
5) the attorney fails to meet any of the general or specific objective qualifications;
6) the attorney fails to file with the OAA, by the last day of the attorney’s birth month, an accurate copy of his or her State Bar of Texas Minimum Continuing Legal Education Annual  Verification Report and a sworn “Annual Certification of Attorney”;
7) the attorney fails to submit to the OAA by October 15 of each fiscal year the information for the preceding fiscal year that describes the percentage of the attorney’s practice time that  was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in Tarrant County under Article 26.04 and Title 3, Family Code;
8) the attorney is sanctioned by the State Bar of Texas.

At the discretion of a majority of the district judges trying criminal cases, an attorney shall be removed by the CAA from the felony appointment wheel and may be removed from any case to which the attorney has been appointed for any of the following:
1) the attorney fails to make every reasonable effort to contact the defendant not later than the end of the first working day after the date on which the attorney is appointed and to  interview the defendant as soon as practicable after the attorney is appointed;
2) The attorney fails to timely request discovery pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 39.14;
3) the attorney fails to make every reasonable effort to timely review each and every disclosure made by the State pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 39.14 or otherwise  regarding any matter to which counsel is appointed;

4) the attorney fails to promptly notify the Court or OAA of any case for which he or she is no longer qualified due to any punishment enhancement or change of offense level after appointment;
5) for any other cause as determined by a majority of the district judges trying criminal cases.

B.  Reinstatement to the Felony Appointment Wheel

An attorney who was removed from the appointment wheel for the alleged commission of a felony or crime of moral turpitude may be immediately reinstated by the CAA upon providing proof that the charges were dismissed or that the attorney was acquitted, so long as the attorney otherwise meets the qualifications under the Plan.  In addition to dismissal of the case, the attorney shall provide written proof that all conditions antecedent to the dismissal or acquittal have been completed before reinstatement will occur.

An attorney who was removed from the appointment wheel for non-completion of MCLE will be suspended from receiving appointments for thirty days, but  may be  reinstated by the CAA upon providing proof within those thirty days that the attorney has completed the required hours, so long as the attorney otherwise meets the qualifications under the Plan. 

An attorney who was removed from the appointment wheel for not submitting their the information for the preceding fiscal year that describes the percentage of the attorney’s practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in Tarrant County under Article 26.04 and Title 3, Family Code will  be suspended from receiving appointments for thirty days, but  may be  reinstated by the CAA upon submitting the information within those thirty days, so long as the attorney otherwise meets the qualifications under the Plan..

An attorney who has been removed from the appointment wheel for any other reason and who wishes to be reinstated must apply through the original application process.
Unless the district court judges trying criminal cases have removed the attorney for any cause, the attorney may reapply for the appointment wheel after the expiration of one year following an application that is not approved. 

In addition to the other requirements for application, the attorney shall include a written description of all measures taken by the attorney to correct the problem(s) for which the attorney was removed from the felony appointment wheel.

C.  Voluntary Removal from Felony Appointment Wheel

A qualified attorney may at any time request, in writing, a period of temporary voluntary removal from the felony appointment wheel.  At the end of any period of less than one year, upon written request, the attorney will be returned to the felony appointment wheel if he or she otherwise remains qualified. If the period of voluntary removal exceeds one year, the attorney must reapply for felony appointments through the original application process.

Plan Documents
Tarrant District Court Affidavit of Indigence.doc (11/2/2009 2:49:21 PM) view
Tarrant District Court Attorney Application for Appointment.pdf (2/9/2016 9:26:17 AM) view
Tarrant District Court Attorney Fee Schedule.doc (10/11/2016 2:18:03 PM) view
Tarrant District Court Attorney Fee Voucher.pdf (11/2/2009 4:39:46 PM) view
Tarrant District Court Election of Counsel.doc (11/2/2009 2:53:46 PM) view
Tarrant District Court Instructions for Applying for Appointed Counsel.doc (11/2/2009 4:33:31 PM) view
Tarrant District Court Magistrates Warning Form.doc (11/2/2009 2:49:06 PM) view
Tarrant District Court Notice to Defendant Released Prior to Appointment of Lawyer.doc (11/3/2016 3:48:52 PM) view