Callahan, Coleman and Taylor District Court and County Court Plan
Prompt Magistration
10/27/2015

I.    Prompt Magistration

                                

       A.  Arresting Officer Responsibilities

            1. The arresting officer, or the person having custody of the arrestee, shall ensure that every arrestee shall be brought before magistrate

                without unnecessary delay, but not later than 48 hours after the person is arrested.

            2.  Unless arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant, bench warrant, capias, or other order of a magistrate or judge, necessary forms

                 establishing probable cause must be completed and filed at the time an arrestee is booked into jail for any felony or misdemeanor

                 punishable by incarceration.

    

     B.     Magistrate Duties

         1.   The Justices of the Peace of Taylor County, Texas, shall establish a plan and rotate holding magistrate’s hearings each and every morning

               except for those days where the Taylor County District and County Court at Law judges have by written order assigned a sitting judge or

               a visiting judge to handle such magistrate’s hearings. Notification of such assignments shall be given to the Justices of the Peace Precinct 1 of

              Taylor County, Texas, who shall coordinate the daily availability of a judge or justice of the peace to handle the magistrate’s hearings and

              probable cause hearings.

         2.  At the Magistrate’s hearing, the magistrate should determine if accused can speak and understand English, or if the defendant is deaf.

         3.  After making such determination, the magistrate shall, in an appropriate manner consistent with Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Articles

              38.30 and 38.31, do the following:

              a.  Advise the accused of the accusation against him/her and any affidavit filed therewith;

              b.  Admonish the accused of:

                   -- The right to retain counsel;

                   -- The right to remain silent;

                   -- The right to have an attorney present during any interview with peace officers or attorneys representing the state;

                   -- The right to terminate an interview at any time;

                   -- The right not to make a statement and that any statement made by the accused may be used against him/her; and

                   -- The right to examining trial.

              c.  Inform the accused of the right to appointed counsel if the person cannot afford counsel and the procedures for requesting appointment of

                  counsel. 

              d.  Inquire as to whether accused is requesting that counsel be appointed.

              e.  Provide accused persons requesting appointed counsel with necessary forms for requesting appointment of counsel and ensure that

                  reasonable assistance in completing required forms is provided to the accused at the time of the magistrate's hearing.

              f.  If the magistrate has reason to believe the accused is not mentally competent, the magistrate shall enter a request for counsel on behalf of

                  the accused. Such a request will alert the appointing authority that counsel competent to represent mentally ill persons should be appointed. 

         4.  The magistrate shall record the following: 

               a.  Whether the magistrate informed the accused of the right to request appointment of counsel and asked the accused whether he/she wants

                     to request counsel.

               b.  Whether the accused requested appointment of counsel 

         5.  If the magistrate is not authorized to appoint counsel and if the accused requests appointment of counsel, the magistrate shall transmit or cause

              to be transmitted the magistrate form and any other forms requesting appointment of counsel to the Indigent Defense Coordinator or the

              appropriate County Court at Law or District Judge.  The forms requesting appointment of counsel shall be transmitted without unnecessary

             delay, but not later than 24 hours after the person arrested requests appointment of counsel.

         6.  If the magistrate is authorized to appoint counsel, the magistrate shall make a determination of indigence and appoint counsel if the defendant is

              indigent within three working days.   

         7.  If a request for counsel was made at magistration, the appointing authority shall forward the magistrate form and any other forms requesting

              appointment of counsel to the appropriate clerk to be put into the case file.

         8.  If a request for counsel was not made at magistration, the magistrate will forward the magistrate form to the clerk to be put into the case file.

         9.  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.  Regarding the appointment of counsel, persons arrested in other counties on local warrants must be appointed counsel in the county that issued the warrant within

              one (1) working day of receipt of the request in counties with a population of 250,000 or more, and within three (3) working days of receipt of the request in counties

              under 250,000.  Persons arrested on out-of-county warrants must be appointed counsel in the county of arrest if the person has not been transferred or released to the

              custody of the county issuing the warrant before the 11th day after the date of the arrest [Art. 1.051(c-1), CCP].

         10.  Court Supervised Release Program

              a.  If an accused person would otherwise be released on a misdemeanor personal bond under the terms of Art. 17.033, Tex. Code of

                  Crim. Proc., the Court Supervised Release Program will make a bond for that person.

              b.  If an accused person charged with a felony offense after an on-sight arrest and not pursuant to a warrant for that offense has been

                   in custody more than 20 hours and has not posted a bond, the Court Supervised Release Program will notify an Assistant District

                  Attorney as designated by the Criminal District Attorney.  If such accused person would otherwise be released on a felony personal

                  bond under the terms of Art. 17.033 Tex. Code Crim. Proc., the Court Supervised Release Program will make a bond for that

                  person in the amount of $10,000 or any lesser bond set by the magistrate. 

                         
 

 

 

                       

 

                

                       

     

Indigence Determination Standards
11/24/2009

II.  Indigence Determination Standards  

     A.  Definitions, as used in this rule:

                                1.            “Indigent” means a person who is not financially able to employ counsel.

                                2.            “Net household income” means all income of the accused and spousal income actually available to the accused. Such income shall include: take-home wages and salary (gross income earned minus those deductions required by law or as a condition of employment); net self-employment income (gross income minus business expenses, and those deductions required by law or as a condition of operating the business); regular payments from a governmental income maintenance program, alimony, child support, public or private pensions, or annuities; and income from dividends, interest, rents, royalties, or periodic receipts from estates or trusts. Seasonal or temporary income shall be considered on an annualized basis, averaged together with periods in which the accused has no income or lesser income.

                                 3.            “Household” means all individuals who are actually dependent on the accused for financial support.

                                 4.                 “The cost of obtaining competent private legal representation” includes the reasonable cost of support services such as investigators and expert  
                         witnesses as necessary and appropriate given the nature of the case.

                5.      "Non-exempt assets and property" means cash in hand, stocks and bonds, accounts at financial institutions, and equity in real or personal property that can be readily converted to cash, other than assets and property exempt from attachment under state law. 

     B.     Eligibility for Appointment

            1.  An accused is presumed indigent if any of the following conditions or factors are present:

                 a.  At the time of requesting appointed counsel, the accused or accused's dependents are eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary

                      Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or public housing;

                 b.  The accused's net household income does not exceed 125% of the Poverty Guidelines as revised annually by the United States Department of

                      Health and Human Services and published in the Federal Register and the value of the non-exempt assets and property owned by the accused:

                           (a) does not exceed $2,500.00;

                           (b) does not exceed $5,000.00 in the case of a suspect whose household includes a person who is age 60 or over, disabled, or

                                 institutionalized;

                            or

                            (c) does not exceed double the estimated cost of obtaining competent private legal representation on the offense(s) with which the defendant

                                  is charged. 

                   c.      The accused is currently serving a sentence in a correctional institution, is currently residing in a public mental health facility, or is subject to a

                         proceeding in which admission or commitment to such a mental health facility is sought.

     CAn accused who does not meet any of the standards above shall nevertheless be considered indigent if the accused is unable to retain private counsel without

           substantial hardship to the accused or the accused’s dependents. In considering if obtaining private counsel will create a substantial hardship, the appointing

            authority shall take into account:

            1.  the nature of the criminal charge(s),

            2.  anticipated complexity of the defense,

            3.  the estimated cost of obtaining competent private legal representation for the matter(s) charged;

            4.  the amount needed for the support of the accused and the accused's dependents;

            5.  accused's income,

            6.  source of income,

            7.  assets and property owned,

            8.  outstanding obligations,

            9.  necessary expenses,

            10. the number and ages of dependents, and

            11. spousal income that is available to the accused.

     D.  Factors NOT to be considered in determining indigence:

            1. The accused's posting of bail or ability to post bail may not be considered in determining whether the accused is indigent.

            2. The resources available to friends or relatives of the accused may not be considered in determining whether the accused is indigent.

     E.  Only the accused's financial circumstances as measured by the financial standards stated in this rule shall be used as the basis for determing indigence.

     F.  Indigence Proceedings:

            1. The appointing authority can require the accused to respond to questions about the accused’s financial status, produce documentation supporting financial

                 information provided, and/or order a court official to verify financial information provided.

            2.  Information gathered for determining indigence, both in the affidavit of indigence and through oral examination, may not be for any purpose other than:

                a. Determining if accused is (or is not) indigent; or

                b. Impeaching direct testimony of accused regarding the accused's indigence.

            3.  A request by the appointing authority for additional information, documentation, and/or verification cannot delay appointment of counsel beyond the

                 timelines specified in Parts I and IV of these rules and contained in Code of Criminal Procedure article 1.051.

            4.  An accused determined to be indigent is presumed to remain indigent for the remainder of the case unless a material change in the accused’s financial

                 circumstances occurs.

                 a.  An accused’s status as indigent or not indigent may be reviewed in a formal hearing at any stage of court proceedings, on a motion for reconsideration

                      by the accused, the accused’s attorney, or the attorney representing the state. The accused’s indigent status will be presumed not to have changed.

                      The presumption can be rebutted in the review proceedings based on the following:  

                      -- Evidence of a material change in the accused's financial circumstances, as a result of which the accused does not meet any of the standards for

                          indigence contained in these rules; or

                      -- Additional information regarding the accused's financial circumstance that shows that the accused does not meet any of the standards for indigence

                          contained in these rules.

                 b.  If an accused previously determined to be indigent is subsequently determined not to be indigent, the attorney shall be compensated by the county

                      according to the fee schedule for hours reasonably expended prior to the determination of non-indigency. 

            5.   If the court determines that a defendant has financial resources that enable him to offset in part or in whole the costs of the legal services provided,

                  including any expenses and costs, he shall be eligible for appointment of counsel only upon payment to the county of an appointment fee of $100

                  if charged with one or more misdemeanors, or $200 if charged with one or more felonies.  If a defendant determined to be partially indigent

                  pleads or is found guilty, the court may order the defendant to comply with a payment schedule to reimburse the county for all indigent

                  defense costs in the case. 

 

    

                    

Minimum Attorney Qualifications
6/23/2020

III.  Minimum Attorney Qualifications

   

   A.  Standards   

 

Court appointed counsel shall meet the following standards:

 

--  Be a member in good standing with the State Bar of Texas;

--   Professionally perform duties and responsibilities of a licensed attorney for the State of Texas

 --     Complete annually the following continuing legal education:

 

      (a)        a minimum of 8 hours pertaining to criminal law; or

(b)        be currently certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

                      

B.  Reporting Period

 

     For purposes of documenting the completion of required continuing legal education hours, the reporting period shall begin on January 1st 

     of each calendar year and shall end on December 31st. Continuing legal education activity completed within the calendar year 

     immediately preceding an attorney's initial reporting period may be used to meet the educational requirement for the initial year.

 

    Continuing legal education activity completed during any reporting period in excess of the minimum 8 hour requirement for such period

    may be applied to the following year's requirement. The carryover provision applies to one year only.

 

    The Indigent Defense Coordinator for Taylor County shall promulgate forms and maintain records of compliance with the foregoing

    requirements, and report to the judges any instances of non-compliance for appropriate actions.

 

C.  Replacement for Non-Compliance

    

      A court may replace an attorney if the appointed attorney does not make an effort to contact the defendant by the end of the first working

      day or does not interview the defendant as soon as practicable as defined in this plan, or may sanction said attorney for violation of those

      provisions.

 

D.  Method of Appointment

    

     Attorneys shall be appointed to represent indigent defendants from public appointment lists using a system of rotation as described in

     Article 26.04(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure and as further specified in this rule.

 

E.  Public Appointment Lists

 

     The list shall consist of the names of all licensed attorneys residing in Taylor County or practicing law in Taylor County, Texas, except:

 

     1.  Those attorneys who have filed a statement on the approved form that they do not wish to accept appointment for any criminal cases;

   

     2.  Those attorneys who have retired from or no longer engage in the practice of law; 

 

     3.  Those attorneys who are employed with a governmental entity and whose employment is a disqualification from their being appointed

          to represent defendants in county or state criminal proceedings; and

 

     4.  Those attorneys who the Judges of the District Courts and County Courts at Law have found not to be qualified to represent

          defendants in criminal cases. 






F.  The judges hereby establish the following public appointment lists from which counsel for indigent defendants shall be appointed:

 

     1.  A Misdemeanor List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in class A and B misdemeanors.

 

     2.  A Misdemeanor Jail-Call List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointments in class A and B misdemeanors.

 


     3.  A State Jail Felony List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in state jail felonies.

 

     4.  A Third Degree Felony List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in third degree felonies.

 

     5.  A Second Degree Felony List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in second degree felonies.

 

     6.  A First Degree Felony List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in first degree felonies and 3(g) offenses.

 

     7.  A Capital Felony List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in capital murder felonies.

 

     8.  An Appellate List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment to direct appeals and writs of habeas corpus.

    

     9.  A Misdemeanor Motion To Revoke Community Supervision List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in misdemeanor cases.

 

   10.  A Felony Motion To Revoke Community Supervision List consisting of attorneys eligible for appointment in any felony case.

 

G.  Attorney Qualification

 

      Using the application for appointment approved by the council of judges, attorneys may apply to be included on one or more of the public

      appointment lists at any time.  The Council of Judges will review applications for inclusion as soon as possible.  To be eligible for placement

      on each list, attorneys must have met the following minimum qualifications.  An attorney holding a current certification in criminal law issued

      by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization is deemed to meet the qualifications necessary for each of the following lists except 1st chair

      death penalty cases.

 

      1.  Misdemeanor List:

           (a)  Currently Licensed and in good standing with the State Bar of Texas;

           (b)  Practiced in the area of criminal law;

           (c)  Exhibited proficiency and commitment to providing quality representation to criminal defendants;

           (d)  Exhibited professionalism and reliability when providing representation to criminal defendants;

           (d)  Averaged 10 hours a year of continuing legal education courses relating to criminal law as recognized by the State Bar of Texas.

 

       2.  Misdemeanor Jail-Call List:

            (a)  Currently Licensed and in good standing with the State Bar of Texas;

            (b)  Practiced in the area of criminal law;

            (c)  Exhibited proficiency and commitment to providing quality representation to criminal defendants;

            (d)  Exhibited professionalism and reliability when providing representation to criminal defendants;

            (e)  Averaged 10 hours a year of continuing legal education courses relating to criminal law as recognized by the State Bar of Texas.

            (f)  Person answering telephone able in most situations to state whether attorney will be available the following day at the time

                  established for the jail call docket.

 


       3.  State Jail Felony List:

            (a)  Currently Licensed and in good standing with the State Bar of Texas;

            (b)  Practiced in the area of criminal law for one year; 

            (c)  Exhibited proficiency and commitment to providing quality representation to criminal defendants; 

            (d)  Exhibited professionalism and reliability when providing representation to criminal defendants;

            (e)  Averaged 10 hours a year of continuing legal education courses relating to criminal law as recognized by the State Bar of Texas;

                   and

            (f)  Have tried to verdict at least one criminal jury trial, or, have sat "second chair" (approved in advance by the court) in a felony

                  criminal case tried to a jury verdict.  In such event, compensation for the attorney sitting "second chair" will be at the discretion of

                  the judge.

 

       4.  Third Degree Felony List

            (a)  Have met the qualifications for placement on the Misdemeanor List;

            (b)  Have practiced in the area of criminal law for at least two years; and

            (c)  Have tried to verdict at least one criminal jury trial as lead counsel (the minimum jury trial requirement may be waived by the District Judges if they find the Applicant otherwise qualifies and has sufficient experience).

 

      5.  Second Degree Felony List:

           (a)  Have met the qualifications for placement on the Misdemeanor List;

           (b)  Have practiced in the area of criminal law for at least four years; and

           (c)  Have tried to conclusion at least two criminal jury trials as lead counsel, including at least one felony trial (the minimum jury trial requirement may be waived by the District Judges if they find the Applicant otherwise qualifies and has sufficient experience).

 

      6.  First Degree Felony List:

           (a)  Have met the qualification for placement on the Misdemeanor List;

           (b)  Have practiced in the area of criminal law for at least five years; and

           (c)  Have tried to verdict at least three criminal jury trials as lead counsel, including at least two felony trials (the minimum jury trial requirement may be waived by the District Judges if they find the Applicant otherwise qualifies and has sufficient experience).

 

      7.  Capital Felony List:

            For appointment in capital felony cases where the death penalty is sought the attorney must be on the List of Attorneys Qualified for

            Appointment as First Chair in Capital Cases in which the Death Penalty is sought as published by the Local Selection Committee of the

            Seventh Administrative Judicial Region.

 

      8.  Appellate List:

           (a)  Have met the qualifications set forth in paragraph (a) through (e) of the  requirements for placement on the Misdemeanor List; and

           (c)  Have met at least one of the following criteria:

                 (1) be currently board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization;

                 (2)  have personally authored and filed at least 1 criminal appellate brief or post conviction writ of habeas corpus; or

                 (3)  have submitted an appellate writing sample approved by majority of the judges. 

 

       9.  Misdemeanor Motion To Revoke Community Supervision List:

            (a)  Have met the qualifications for placement on the Misdemeanor List.

 

      10.  Felony Motion To Revoke Community Supervision List:

             (a)  Have met the qualifications for placement on any Felony List.   

 

                                     

H.      Approval of Attorneys by the Judges

 

1.      In addition to meeting the objective qualifications described above, an attorney may be placed on one or more of the felony appointment lists only if a majority of the felony judges approves the attorney’s placement on each such list. In addition to meeting the objective qualifications described above, an attorney may be placed on the misdemeanor appointment list only if a majority of the misdemeanor judges approves the attorney’s placement on the misdemeanor list.

 

2.      At least twice a year, following the submission of attorney applications for the public appointment lists, the felony judges in the county shall evaluate the new applicants for each felony appointment list and the attorneys already on the lists. The judges will approve, by majority vote, those attorneys:

(a)  who meet the objective qualifications set forth for placement on the list; and

(b)  whom the judges consider to be actually competent to adequately handle cases associated with the list.

 

3.      At least once a year, following the submission of attorney applications for the public appointment lists, the misdemeanor judges in the county shall evaluate the new applicants for the Misdemeanor List, the Misdemeanor Jail-Call List, and the attorneys already on these lists.  The judges will approve, by majority vote, those attorneys:

(a)  who have met the objective qualifications set forth for placement on the Misdemeanor List; and

(b)  whom the judges consider to be actually competent to adequately handle misdemeanor cases.

 

4.      An attorney may be removed from one or more public appointment lists by a majority of the judges for the corresponding court level whenever the judges determine that the attorney no longer meets the objective qualifications for that list or is not fully competent to adequately handle the category of cases associated with that list. The judges may in their discretion remove an attorney from one or more lists, while continuing to approve the attorney for other lists.

 

5.      The Taylor County Council of County Court at Law Judges and the Taylor County Council of District Court Judges shall make available to:

(a)  All licensed attorneys residing in Taylor County, Texas; and

(b)  Such other licensed attorneys practicing law in Taylor County and residing in the Seventh Administrative Region of Texas as can be reasonably identified by the Taylor County Clerk and the Taylor County District Clerk a “Statement of Licensed Attorney Residing or Practicing Law in Taylor County, Texas” on request.

 


Prompt Appointment of Counsel
10/18/2017

IV.    Prompt Appointment of Counsel

      A.  Timely Appointment

                                1.      Counsel shall be appointed as soon as possible to indigent defendants, but no later than the end of the third working day after the date on which the appointing authority receives the defendant’s request for court appointed counsel. Working day means Monday through Friday, excluding official state holidays. Counsel must be appointed whether or not a case has been filed in the trial court.

                              2.        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.

                 3.    If an indigent defendant is arrested in another county based on this county's warrant, counsel will be appointed within three (3) working days of this 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. 

                 4.    If a defendant wishes to request counsel prior to the initial appearance, the forms required to request counsel may be obtained at the Texas Indigent Defense Commission's website at http://tidc.tamu.edu/public.net/; from the Taylor County Indigent Defense Coordinator, or from the 42nd District Court (for Callahan and Coleman County cases).  The defendant may submit these forms to:  Taylor County Indigent Defense Coordinator, 300 Oak St., Suite 504, Abilene, TX  79602; or 42nd District Court, 300 Oak St., Abilene, TX  79602 (Coleman and Callahan County cases).

                            5.            Appointment Authority

a.      If no case has been filed in the trial court, the appointing authority for misdemeanors is the Indigent Defense Coordinator or the County Court at Law Local Administrative Judge.

b.      If no case has been filed in the trial court, the appointing authority for felonies is the Indigent Defense Coordinator or the District Court Judge in charge of qualifying the jury panel for that week. 

c.      If the case has been filed in the trial court, the appointing authority for misdemeanors is the Indigent Defense Coordinator or either of the County Court at Law judges.  For felonies, the appointing authority is the Indigent Defense Coordinator or any of the District Court Judges who hear criminal cases.   

      B.     Defendants Appearing Without Counsel - If a defendant appears without counsel in any adversary judicial proceeding that may result in punishment by confinement:

                                1.            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.

                              2.            If the defendant has requested appointed counsel, the court may not direct or encourage the defendant to communicate with the attorney representing the state unless the appointing authority has denied the request and, subsequent to the denial, the defendant:

a.      Has been given a reasonable opportunity to retain and has failed to retain appointed counsel; or

b.      Waived or has waived the opportunity to retain private counsel.

                            3.            The attorney representing the state may not:

a.      Initiate or encourage an attempt to obtain from the defendant a waiver of the right to counsel; or

b.      Communicate with a defendant who has requested the appointment of counsel, unless the appointing authority has denied the request and subsequent to the denial, the defendant:

--       Has been given a reasonable opportunity to retain counsel; or

--      Waives or has waived the opportunity to retain private counsel.

     C.     Waiver of the Right to Counsel

                                1.            A defendant may voluntarily and intelligently waive the right to counsel.

                                2.            A waiver obtained in violation of section IV.B above is presumed invalid.

                                3.            If a defendant wishes to waive the right to counsel for purposes of entering a guilty plea or proceeding to trial, the court shall advise the defendant of the nature of the charges against the defendant and, if the defendant is proceeding to trial, the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation.  If the court determines that the waiver is voluntarily and intelligently waived, the court shall provide the defendant with a statement substantially in the following form, which, if signed by the defendant, shall be filed with and become part of the record of the proceedings.

“I have been advised this ___ day of ____, 2___, by the (name of court) Court of my right to representation by counsel in the case pending against me.  I have been further advised that if I am unable to afford counsel, one will be appointed for me free of charge.  Understanding my right to have counsel appointed for me free of charge if I am not financially able to employ counsel, I wish to waive that right and request the court to proceed with my case without an attorney being appointed for me.  I hereby waive my right to counsel. (signature of defendant)”

                                4.            A defendant may withdraw a waiver of the right to counsel at any time but is not entitled to repeat a proceeding previously held or waived solely on the grounds of the subsequent appointment or retention of counsel.  If the defendant withdraws a waiver, the trial court, in its discretion, may provide the appointed counsel 10 days to prepare.

          D.  Misdemeanor Appointment Procedures and Rules

               

A County Court at Law Judge or the Indigent Defense Coordinator, upon any finding of indigence and request for court appointed counsel, shall issue an Order Appointing Counsel and deliver it to the attorney. The staff of the County Court at Law Judge shall immediately contact the attorney by phone, fax, e-mail or in person and notify said attorney of the appointment and the last known location of the defendant. The list of qualified misdemeanor attorneys shall be maintained on the county’s computerized system by the Indigent Defense Coordinator or the Court Administrator for the Administrative Court at Law Judge. Each County Court at Law Judge and the Indigent Defense Coordinator shall use this list for appointment of persons who appear before them or in some other manner request an appointed attorney.  A separate list shall be maintained of the Misdemeanor Jail-Call List in the same manner. The Court Administrators for County Courts at Law shall use the Misdemeanor Jail-Call List for those persons who are in jail and have not made bond but will be brought on jail call. The same attorney from the list will be appointed for the next five to ten defendants receiving initial appointments for a Jail-Call setting and appearing first at the same docket setting. The attorney appointed for each such defendant will remain the attorney for that person until removed as set out in this document. Those defendants who are in jail and who have felonies will not be brought on jail call unless added to jail call with the consent of that attorney appointed to represent the defendant in both felony and misdemeanor cases.


When an attorney is appointed to represent an indigent defendant on a felony, that attorney will also be appointed to represent the defendant on all misdemeanors pending against the defendant.  

 

E.  Non-Capital Felony Appointment Procedures and Rules

 

The Indigent Defense Coordinator or District Court Judge, upon any finding of indigence and request for court appointed counsel, shall issue an Order Appointing Counsel and deliver it to the attorney. The Indigent Defense Coordinator or the staff of the District Court Judge shall immediately contact the attorney by phone, fax, e-mail or in person and notify the attorney of the appointment and the last known location of the defendant.

 

F.  Capital Felony Appointment Procedures and Rules

 

The District Court Judge or Indigent Defense Coordinator, upon any finding of indigence and request for court appointed counsel, shall issue an Order Appointing Counsel and deliver it to the attorney.  The Regional Public Defender's Office should be appointed if the state is seeking the death penalty.  If a co-defendant is determined to be indigent and requests appointment of counsel, the District Court Judge or the Indigent Defense Coordinator shall appoint counsel pursuant to the standards and procedures stated herein.  If an individual attorney rather the Public Defender's Office is appointed,  co-counsel will also be appointed using the same procedures. The staff of the District Court Judge or the Indigent Defense Coordinator shall immediately contact the attorneys appointed by phone, fax, e-mail or in person and notify the attorneys of the appointment and the last known location of the defendant.

 

 

Attorney Selection Process
10/24/2019

V.  Attorney Selection Process for Adults (Rotation and Participation in the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases)

     A.  Misdemeanor and Non-Capital Felony Cases   

                 i.  The appointing authority will identify which of the appointment lists, discussed in the Section III (attorney qualifications), is most appropriate based on the accusations against the defendant and will appoint the attorney whose name is first on the list, unless the court                 makes a finding of good cause on the record for appointing an attorney out of order.

                ii.  Good cause may include:

                                            1.  The defendant requesting counsel does not understand English, in which case the judge will appoint the lawyer whose name appears next in order and speaks the clients’ language, if one is available;

                                            2.  The defendant has an attorney already appointed on a prior pending or concluded matter.  The same attorney will be appointed to the new matter, unless the attorney is not on the list for the type of offense involved in the current case; or

                                           3.   Other good cause exists for varying from the list.

               iii.   Once appointed, an attorney’s name will be moved to the bottom of the appointment list. An attorney who is not appointed in the order in which the attorney’s name appears on the list shall remain next in order on the list.

      B.  Capital Felony Cases (This section is for Taylor County Only.  Callahan and Coleman Counties do not participate in a regional capital felony public defender program.)

                 i.  The Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases shall be appointed to all capital felony cases in which the state is pursuing the death penalty, unless good cause exists to appoint private counsel.  

                          1.  If a co-defendant requests appointment of counsel and is determined to be indigent, the Appointing Authority shall appoint counsel pursuant to the standards and procedures stated in this Section.  

                          2.  If private counsel is appointed to a co-defendant, rather than the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases, co-counsel will be appointed using the standards and procedures stated in this Section.  

                ii.  The Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases may refuse to accept appointment to a case if:

                          1.  A conflict of interest exists;

                          2.  The Office has insufficient resources to provide adequate representation;

                          3.  The Office is incapable of providing representation in accordance wiht the rules of professional conduct;

                          4.  Acceptance of the appointment would violate the maximum allowable caseloads established for the Office, or;

                          5.  The Office shows other good cause for refusing appointment.  

               iii.  The Appointing Authority shall immediately contact the attorneys appointed by phone, fax, e-mail or in person and notify the attorneys of the appointment and the last known location of the defendant.  

     C.     Judicial Removal from Case:

                                1.            The judge presiding over a criminal case may remove appointed counsel upon entering a written order showing good cause for such removal, including without limitation, the following:

a.      Counsel’s failure to appear at a court hearing;

b.      Counsel’s failure to comply with the requirements imposed upon counsel by this plan;

c.      Current information about the defendant and the charges against the defendant indicate that another qualified attorney is more appropriate for the defendant under these rules;

d.      Replacement of appointed counsel in a death penalty case is required under Article 26.052(e), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure;

e.      The appointed counsel shows good cause for being removed, such as illness, workload or scheduling difficulties;

f.      The defendant requests an attorney, other than trial counsel, for appeal; or

g.      The defendant shows good cause for removal of counsel, including counsel’s persistent or prolonged failure to communicate with the defendant.

                                  2.            Appointment of Replacement Counsel - Whenever appointed counsel is removed under this section, replacement counsel shall immediately be selected and appointed in accordance with the procedures described in this plan.

Fee and Expense Payment Process
7/1/2010

VI. COMPENSATION OF COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL 

 

 

A.  Court appointed counsel shall receive such reasonable compensation as established by Standing Order of the Council of  Judges

      for Taylor County, Texas.

 

      The fee schedule adopted by formal action of the Council of Judges for Taylor County, Texas shall comply with the Article 

      26.05 Tex. Code Crim. Proc. and all applicable law and shall be submitted to the Taylor County Commissioner’s Court.

 

B.  Each attorney shall prepare a detailed statement of the nature of the services performed, the date of such performance, and the  

      actual time spent on each such date and service, and shall submit said statement to the trial judge.  The statement shall be 

      submitted:

    

      1.  Within 30 days of disposition of a case by a plea or bench trial, or jury trial; or

      2.  Within 30 days of the date the mandate being returned in an appeal.

 

C.  For good cause shown, the trial judge may exercise discretion in the receipt of and payment for later submitted statements 

      and requests for payment.

 

D.  If the trial judge disapproves the requested amount the judge shall make written findings stating the amount of payment approved and the

      reasons for approving an amount different from the requested amount.  The attorney whose request for payment has been disapproved may,

      by written motion, file an appeal with the presiding judge of the administrative region.

 

E.  An attorney whose request for payment is disapproved or is not otherwise acted on by the 60th day after the date the request for payment

     is submitted, may appeal the disapproval or failure to act by filing a motion with the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region.

 

F.  Expenses incurred by attorneys without prior approval shall be reimbursed if they are reasonably necessary and reasonably incurred. 

       

    

 

Miscellaneous
10/22/2013

VII.  Miscellaneous

                        A.  Responsibility of Court Appointed Counsel

              

Court appointed counsel shall make every reasonable effort to contact the defendant not later than the end of the first working day after appointment and to personally interview the defendant as soon as practicable. It is presumed that a period of five (5) working days from the day of appointment is a practicable time in which to personally interview the defendant. An attorney contacting the defendant via the county's videoteleconference equipment will satisfy the personal interview requirement.

 

Court appointed counsel on the approved list must maintain an office with a phone which is answered by an individual from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (except for Taylor County holidays as set out in the official Taylor County calendar approved by the Taylor County Commissioner’s Court) and which person can promptly locate the attorney and notify the attorney of the appointment or hearing setting. Any change in address, telephone number, fax number, or e-mail address on an attorney on any list must be given in writing to the Indigent Defense Coordinator and each County Court at Law Judge and District Court Judge in Taylor County prior to the change.

 

Court appointed counsel shall comply with all laws, rules, procedures, and ethical provisions for providing reasonable assistance of counsel to their client. Court appointed counsel shall maintain a high standard of ethical conduct and always be completely candid with the trial court.

 

Court appointed counsel shall timely inform their client of matters relating to the preparation, trial and disposition of the case; appellate and writ rights; deadlines and procedures for proper processing; and such other matters as necessary to provide reasonable assistance of counsel.

 

Court appointed counsel shall represent a defendant until the defendant is acquitted, appeals are exhausted, or the court, after entering a finding of good cause on the record, relieves the attorney and/or replaces the attorney with other counsel.

 

An attorney shall submit by October 15th each year a statement that describes the percentage of the attorney's practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in this county for adult criminal cases and juvenile delinquency cases for the prior 12 months that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.  The report must be submitted through the online form to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.   

 

B.  Removal of Attorneys from Court Appointed List(s)

 

1.     Grounds for Removal

An attorney may be removed from the appointment list if the attorney:

a.      has twice or more failed to contact or interview clients in a timely manner as required by Article 26.04(j)(1), Code of Criminal Procedure and this plan;

b.      has submitted a claim for legal services not performed as specified in Article 26.05(e), Code of Criminal Procedure;

c.      fails to maintain compliance with each of the appointment list guidelines;

d.      has been found by a court to have provided ineffective assistance of counsel

e.      has violated a rule of professional responsibility;

f.      has been convicted of or received a deferred adjudication for any an offense, other than an offense punishable by a fine only;

g.      under indictment or being formally charged with an offense, other than an offense punishable by a fine only; or

h.      has intentionally misrepresented statements on the application for the appointment List.

 

An attorney may also be removed from the appointment list for another stated good cause.

 

2.     Referral

 

If a judge believes that an attorney has violated any of the provisions listed in the paragraph above, the judge may refer an attorney to the board of judges for removal from the appointment list. The referral must be in writing and shall clearly state the grounds that form the basis of the referral. No disciplinary action with respect to the attorney being retained or removed from the appointment list may be made without such a referral

                       

3.     Notification/Hearing

 

Upon receiving an attorney referral, the board of judges shall notify the attorney in writing of the referral and inform the attorney of the grounds that form the basis of the referral. The notice shall also inform the attorney of the time and place the board of judges will meet to discuss the referral and give the attorney an opportunity to respond to the referral in writing or in person or both.

 

4.     Action

 

After the judges meet and give the attorney an opportunity to be heard, the judges shall determine whether the attorney should:

a.   remain on the appointment list at the same level;

b.   be moved to an appointment list for indigent defendants charged with less serious offenses; or

c.   be removed from appointment list altogether

 

The attorney may be removed from the appointment list or moved to an appointment list for indigent defendants charged with less serious offenses by a majority vote of the judges present. In addition, the majority of the judges may also vote to require the attorney to take other rehabilitative measures. Removals from any list may be probated. For removal or probated removals, the judges ordering the removal may require the completing of rehabilitative measures as a condition of probation or reapplication. An order of removal should state in the order the earliest date at which the attorney may apply for reinstatement. An attorney who was removed from an appointment list under “Grounds for Removal”, number 7 or 8, shall be immediately reinstated upon providing proof that the charges were dismissed or that the attorney was acquitted, unless other grounds for removal exist against the attorney that would prohibit reinstatement.

 

The decision of the board of judges is final and may not be appealed.

 

C.  Annual Review of Lists of Court Appointed Counsel

      

           The Taylor County Court at Law Judges shall annually review and reform the list of eligible court appointed  

           counsel and post the list on the 5th floor and make the list available to the public upon request.

 

           The Taylor County District Court Judges shall annually review and reform the list of eligible court appointed       

           counsel and post the list outside the Taylor County District Clerk’s office and make the list available to the public 

           upon request.

 

 

 

Plan Documents
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Affidavit of Indigence.docx (10/24/2019 3:23:47 PM) view
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Attorney Application for Appointment.doc (10/24/2019 4:47:53 PM) view
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Attorney Fee Schedule.doc (10/23/2019 2:36:11 PM) view
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Attorney Fee Voucher.doc (11/17/2009 11:19:01 AM) view
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Callahan and Coleman County Fee Schedule.doc (11/23/2009 9:19:37 AM) view
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Magistrates Warning Form.doc (11/17/2009 11:03:30 AM) view
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Order to Pay Court Appointed Attorneys.doc (11/17/2009 11:37:22 AM) view
Callahan Coleman Taylor District and County Court Waiver of Counsel.doc (11/17/2009 11:32:40 AM) view