Gregg District Court and County Court Plan
Preamble
10/31/2019

The District Judges and County Court at Law Judges of Gregg County, Texas, hereby adopt orders and procedures for the appointment of counsel for indigent persons, accused of committing a crime in Gregg County, Texas.  This document is the Gregg County Plan for Appointment of Counsel, which complies with the requirements of Senate Bill 7, Title 1, Section 174.1-174.4 of the Texas Administrative Code, and the guidelines of the Office of Court Administration’s Task Force on Indigent Defense.  The effective date of this plan shall be October  31, 2019. 

 

 

Prompt Magistration
9/12/2017

A.        Arresting Officer Responsibilities

i.            The arresting officer, or the person having custody of the arrestee, shall ensure that every arrestee shall be brought before a magistrate without unnecessary delay, but not later than 48 hours after the person is arrested.                               

ii.            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

         i.            At the Magistrate’s hearing, the magistrate should determine if accused can speak and understand English, or if  

        the defendant is deaf.

        ii.            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:

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

2.      Admonish the accused of:

a.      The right to retain counsel;

b.      The right to remain silent;

c.      The right to have an attorney present during any interview    

         with peace officers or attorneys representing the state;

d.      The right to terminate an interview at any time;

e.      The right not to make a statement and that any statement

         made by the accused may be used against him/her; and

f.       The right to an examining trial.

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

         requesting appointment of counsel.

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

5.      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.  The magistrate shall advise the accused to contact Pre-Trial Services to make application for

        court-appointed counsel should the accused make bond.  The magistrate shall provide the accused with the address

        and telephone number of Pre-Trial Services and instructions for contacting the Pre-Trial Services Office.

6.    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

 

      iii.       The magistrate shall set the amount of bail and any conditions of bond for the accused, if bail is allowed by law and has not been set by the court or magistrate issuing a warrant.

      iv.       The magistrate shall record the following:

1.      The date and time the accused was arrested and the date and time when he/she was brought before the magistrate.

2.      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.

3.      Whether the accused requested appointment of counsel

 

      v.         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 court or court's designee.  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.

     vi.         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 unless the County has a U.S. Census population over 250,000, in which case counsel shall be appointed within one working day.

    vii.         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.

   viii.         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.


Appointing Counsel for Arrests on Out-of-county warrants:

      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 reasonable 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 [Art. 15.18(a-1), CCP].


 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 1 working day of receipt of the request in counties with a population of 250,000 or more and within 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 issuing the warrant before the 11th day after the date of the arrest [Art. 15.18(a-1), CCP].


.

 

Indigent Defense Coordinator Responsibilities

 

The Indigent Defense Coordinator will be responsible for receiving applications for court-appointed counsel, considering applicant financial eligibility, reporting requests for court-appointed counsel to the appropriate court, contacting the attorney appointed to represent the accused, verifying initial attorney-client contact, and other matters which would ensure compliance with the law.

 

To accomplish these responsibilities, the Indigent Defense Coordinator shall:

 

      1.  Regularly monitor the inmate population of the Gregg County Jail, assisting inmates in completing the application requesting court-appointed counsel.

      2.  Receive applications from both inmates confined in the Gregg County jail and those who are confined on Gregg County warrants, in other counties, if they request counsel.

      3.  Make recommendations to the appropriate judge as to whether applicants meet the financial eligibility requirements related to court-appointed counsel.

      4.  Notify attorneys who are appointed by the court as to whom they have been appointed to represent and verify that initial client-attorney contact occurred in a timely manner.

      5.  Pre-trial Services will then supervise defendants who have been appointed counsel and who have made bond.

      6.  Perform the responsibilities set out in this section in a timely manner, ensuring that attorneys are appointed within three (3) working 

           days of the date the request for appointed counsel is made.  

 

Indigence Determination Standards
9/12/2017

A.    Definitions, as used in this rule:

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

 ii.           “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.

 iii.           "Non-exempt assets and property” means cash on hand, stocks and bonds, and accounts at financial institutions.

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

 v.            “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.

 

B.     Eligibility for Appointment

 i.             An accused is presumed indigent if 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.

 ii.            An accused is also considered indigent if the accused meets any one of the following three criteria AND meets the asset test set out in subsection iii below:

1.   The accused’s net household income does not exceed 100% of the Poverty Guidelines as revised annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and published in the Federal Register;

2.   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; or

3.   The difference between the accused’s monthly net household income and reasonable necessary expenses is less than $200.00.  Reasonably necessary expenses should include but are not limited to: rent or mortgage, food/groceries, car payment, car insurance, health insurance, medical bills, and utilities (water, electric, gas, phone).

 iii.            In addition to meeting one of the criteria under section ii above, an accused is considered indigent only if the value of non-exempt assets and property owned by the accused does not exceed the greatest of the following:

a.   $2,500;

b.   $5,000 in the case of an accused whose household includes a person who is 60 years or older, disabled, or institutionalized; or

c.   Double the estimated cost of obtaining competent private representation for the offense with which the accused is charged.

 iv.            An 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.

 

v.     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.

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

 

C.     Indigence Proceedings:

i.             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.

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

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

      2.      Impeaching direct testimony of accused regarding the accused’s indigence.

iii.            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.

iv.            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.

      1.      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:

a.       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

b.      Additional information regarding the accused’s financial circumstances that shows that the accused does not meet any of the standards for indigence contained in these rules.

     2.      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 on the case.

v.           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, the court shall order the defendant to pay during the pendency of the charges or, if  

              convicted, as court costs the amount that it finds the defendant is able to pay.

 

Minimum Attorney Qualifications
9/12/2017
 

A.    The Judges hearing criminal cases shall establish attorney appointment lists for the following categories of offenses. Attorneys may apply for and be placed on multiple lists. To be eligible for an appointment list, an attorney must meet the following minimum requirements:

                                i.            Misdemeanor, State Jail Felony, Third Degree Felony and Revocations Qualification Requirements:

1.    All attorneys on the appointment list must ensure all information on their application is correct;

2.    An attorney must be a licensed practicing attorney and a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas;

3.    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.

4.    An attorney shall complete a minimum of 6 hours of CLE in the area of criminal law and procedure each year. All attorneys on the appointment list must file a certificate with the court administration office each year attesting to completion of the required CLE or submit documentation showing that the attorney is certified as a specialist in criminal law. Continuing legal education activity completed with-in a one year period immediately preceding an attorney’s initial reporting period may be used to meet the educational requirements for the initial year. Continuing legal education activity completed during any reporting period in excess of the minimum of 6 hours for such period may be applied to the following period’s requirement. The carryover provision applies to one year only.  The first reporting period began April 27, 2009, and then on the first day of each reporting period thereafter.  Continuing legal education may include activities accredited under Section 4, Article XI, State Bar Rules, self-study, teaching at an accredited continuing legal education activity, attendance at a law school class or legal research-based writing.  Current certification in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization is considered compliance to the requirement for continued legal education.

5.   An attorney must maintain an office capable of receiving email, fax, and telephone calls.  An attorney will be required to have a local telephone number; one that is capable of being called without a long distance charge;

6.  An attorney shall have their residency or primary office location in Gregg County.  A principal office is defined as the commercial location where the attorney conducts the majority of his or her criminal law practice, and does not include a post office address;

7.  An attorney must have the ability to produce typed motions and orders;

8.  An attorney shall be familiar with the Texas Rules of Evidence and shall have knowledge of the use of expert witnesses and evidence, including, but not limited to, psychiatric and forensic evidence. 

9.  An attorney must file a new application to be placed on either or both lists within 30 days of the adoption of this plan.

10.  An attorney shall file a request for re-certification between January 1 and January 31 of each year to remain on the list(s).  

11.   An attorney shall notify the judges promptly, in writing, of any matter that would disqualify the attorney by law, regulation, rule or under these guidelines from receiving appointments to represent indigent defendants.

                            ii.            First and Second Degree Felony Case Qualification Requirements

1.   An attorney must meet the general requirements for Misdemeanor, Third Degree Felony, State Jail Felony, and Revocations appointments.

2.   An attorney must have 2 years experience in criminal law;

3.   An attorney must have experience as 1st or 2nd chair in at least 3 criminal case(s) tried to verdict before a jury.  The styles and cause numbers of these cases must be listed in the application.

                            iii.            Capital Case Qualification Requirements:

1.      Lead trial counsel must be on the list of attorneys approved by the local selection committee of this Administrative Judicial Region for appointment as lead counsel in death penalty cases, as provided in Article 26.052, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

2.      Second chair counsel must be on the list of attorneys approved by the local selection committee of this administrative judicial region for appointment as lead trial counsel or second chair counsel in death penalty cases, as provided in Article 26.052, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

3.      Appellate counsel must be on the list of attorneys approved by the local selection committee of this administrative judicial region for appointment as appellate counsel in death penalty cases, as provided in Article 26.052, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

4.   An attorney must be a licensed practicing attorney and a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas.

                             

iv.                           Death Penalty Cases

1.      An attorney appointed as lead counsel in a death penalty case must meet the requirements of Article 26.052(d) of the Code of  Criminal Procedure and comply with all requirements of the First Administrative District.

 

                          v.            Appeal Qualification Requirements - An attorney must meet at least one of the following criteria:

                           1.      Be currently board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization; or

                           2.      Have personally authored and filed at least three criminal appellate briefs or post-conviction writs of habeas corpus; or

                  3.      Have submitted an appellate writing sample approved by a majority of the judges; or

                                             4.      Have worked as a briefing clerk of an appellate court for a period of at least one year.

 

Emergency Appointment

 

If no attorney who meets these continuing legal education or board certification requirements is available by the time an attorney must be appointed in a case, another attorney may be appointed.  The person making an appointment shall give priority to an attorney with experience in criminal law.

 

 

B.     Approval for Appointment Lists

        Only attorneys who request consideration and receive approval will be placed on the attorney rotation list and considered for appointment.  Attorneys

        will be selected based on the order in which their name appears on the rotation list.  The Board of Judges of Gregg County shall set standards for

        counsel for those attorneys who request placement on the rotation list and receive appointments to represent indigent defendants in Gregg County.  

        An attorney must be approved for each list by a majority of the Board of Judges hearing criminal cases in Gregg County, Texas.

 

 

C.    The majority of the judges may remove an attorney from the list(s) if the attorney intentionally or repeatedly does not fulfill the duties required by law, Attorney's Creed,  Cannons, local rules, or the provisions of this plan. An attorney removed from the list(s) will be given notice of the removal.  The decision of the board of judges on removal from the list(s) is final and may not be appealed.

 

 

    D.   Standards of Conduct by Attorneys

 

          Any attorney seeking to be included on the list for indigent appointments shall comply with all requirements of the State Bar of Texas and this Board of Judges for minimum continuing legal education.  Each attorney shall annually provide an affidavit to the Board of Judges that  

          he Or she has successfully fulfilled the CLE requirements.  Each attorney shall further comply with the Canon of Ethics and Rules of Discipline of the State Bar of Texas.  Each attorney shall conduct his business in a manner that would not demean the practice of law.  An attorney 

          should not, directly or indirectly, suggest that a defendant owes him anything in payment beyond the fee paid by the County, nor shall he collect any fees, favors, or gifts in exchange for legal services rendered.

 

E.     Duties of Appointed Counsel - Appointed Counsel shall:

                               i.            Make every reasonable effort to contact the defendant by the end of the first working day after the date the attorney is notified of the appointment. The initial contact can be made    in person or via telephone from the sheriff's department on the 5th floor of the courthouse; and

                              ii.            To interview the defendant as soon as practicable after the attorney is appointed.

                              iii.           Notify Indigent Defense Coordinator, via e-mail, that contact has been made.  If notification of the initial contact has not been received from appointed counsel within 72 hours, PreTrial services will send a second request for this information.  

                      iv.          Represent the defendant until:

                                    1.      Charges are dismissed;

                                    2.      The defendant is acquitted;

                                    3.      Appeals are exhausted; or

                                    4.      The attorney is relieved of his duties by the court or replaced by other counsel after a finding of good cause entered on the record.

                              v.            Investigate, either by self or through an investigator, the facts of the case and be prepared to present any factual defense(s) that may be reasonably and arguably available to the defendant;

                              vi.            Brief the law of the case and be prepared to present any legal defense(s) that may be reasonably and arguably available to the defendant;

                            vii.            Be prepared to negotiate with the prosecutor for the most favorable resolution of the case as can be achieved through a plea agreement;

                          viii.             Be prepared to try the case to conclusion either with or without a jury;

                            ix.             Be prepared to file post-trial motions, give notice of appeal and appeal the case pursuant to the standards and requirements of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure;

                             x.             Maintain reasonable communication and contact with the client at all times and keep the client informed of the status of the case; and

                              xi.          Advise the client on all matters involving the case and such collateral matters as may reasonably be required to aid the client is making appropriate decisions about the case; and

                            xii.           Perform the attorney’s duty owed to the defendant in accordance with these procedures, the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and applicable rules of ethics.

                          xiii.            Manage attorney’s workload to allow for the quality representation of defendants and the execution of the responsibilities listed in these rules in every case.  Attorneys with caseloads in multiple counties, which result in multiple requests for  

                                            continuances, failures to appear at Gregg County docket calls, or inability to timely dispose of cases will not be considered qualified for the Gregg County list(s).

 

Prompt Appointment of Counsel
9/12/2017
 

A.    Prompt Appointment of Counsel

                                i.            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 [Art. 1.051(c-1), CCP].

                              ii.            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.

                            iii.            Appointment Authority

1.      If no case has been filed in the trial court, the appointing authority for misdemeanors is: The Judges of the Statutory and Constitutional Courts.  The Judges of the Statutory and Constitutional Courts shall make the appointment of counsel to all defendants who  

         meet the financial eligibility requirements of indigence and are charged with misdemeanor offenses only.

2.      If no case has been filed in the trial court, the appointing authority for felonies is: The Judges of the District Courts.  The Judges of the District Courts shall make appointments of counsel to all defendants who meet the financial eligibility requirements of indigence

         and who are charged with felony offenses and those defendants who are charged with felony offenses in addition to misdemeanor offenses.  A determination of indigence will be based upon the information provided to the Court in the Request for Court Appointed

         Counsel.

3.      If the case has been filed in the trial court, the appointing authority is: The Judge presiding over the case.

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

                                i.            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.

                              ii.            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:

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

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

                            iii.            The attorney representing the state may not:

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

2.      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:

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

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

C.     Waiver of the Right to Counsel

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

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

                            iii.            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)”

                            iv.            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.


Appointment for out-of county warrants:


     i.  If an indigent defendant is arrested in another county based on this county's warrant, counsel will be appointed within 3 working days of this county's receipt of the request for counsel.

    ii.  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 [Art. 1.051(c-1), CCP].  The appointment will be terminated upon the defendant's transfer to the county that issued the arrest warrant.


     If the 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/ or from:  Gregg County Indigent Defense Caseworker (903) 237-2644.  The defendant my submit these forms to: Indigent Defense Caseworker at:  Fax (903) 757-7151 or Kathy.Poe@co.gregg.tx.us .  The court will rule on all requests for counsel submitted in this manner [1 TAC 174.51].


.

 

Attorney Selection Process
9/12/2017

A.    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. Good cause may include:

                                i.            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;

                              ii.            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

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

B.     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.

C.     Judicial Removal from Case:

                                i.            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:

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

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

3.      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;

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

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

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

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

                              ii.            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.

 

 

 

Attorney Selection Process for County Court at Law #1 

 

           An alternate plan for the appointment of counsel for indigent defendants with misdemeanor cases in the County Court at Law #1 may be adopted by the Board of Judges. The Board of Judges shall designate qualified attorneys, the number of which shall be decided by the Board of Judges, who shall work on a contract basis, and who shall be paid a monthly amount, as determined by the Board of Judges, per attorney for representation of indigent defendants in the County Court at Law #1.   

Fee and Expense Payment Process
9/12/2017

A.    Court appointed counsel in non-capital cases shall be compensated for all reasonable and necessary expenses and appropriate services rendered in representing the accused, including expenses for investigation and for mental health and other experts. Compensation shall be reasonable for time and effort expended and will be in accordance with a fee schedule adopted and approved by a majority of the judges hearing criminal cases in Gregg County on August 24, 2011, hereto attached.

B.     Payment Process:  No payment of attorney’s fees will be made other than in accordance with the rules set forth below.

                                i.            An appointed attorney shall fill out and submit a fee voucher to the court for services rendered.

                              ii.            The trial judge presiding over the proceedings shall review the request for compensation and either approve or disapprove of the amount requested.

1.      If a judge disapproves a request for compensation, the judge shall make written findings, stating the amount of payment that the judge approves and each reason for approving an amount different from the requested amount.

2.      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 this administrative judicial region.

C.     Payment of Expenses:

                                i.            Court appointed counsel will be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, including expenses for investigation and for mental health and other experts. Expenses incurred with and without prior approval shall be paid according to the procedures set forth below. Whenever possible prior court approval should be obtained before incurring expenses for investigation and for mental health and other experts.

                              ii.            Procedure With Prior Court Approval:

1.      Appointed Counsel may file with the trial court a pretrial ex parte confidential request for advance payment of investigative and expert expenses. The request for expenses must state the below, as applicable:

a.       The type of investigation to be conducted or the type of expert to be retained;

b.      Specific facts that suggest the investigation will result in admissible evidence or that the services of an expert are reasonably necessary to assist in the preparation of a potential defense; and

c.       An itemized list of anticipated expenses for each investigation and/or each expert.

2.      The court shall grant the request for advance payment of expenses in whole or in part if the request is reasonable. If the court denies in whole or in part the request for expenses, the court shall:

a.       State the reasons for the denial in writing;

b.      Attach the denial to the confidential request; and

c.       Submit the request and denial as a sealed exhibit to the record.

                            iii.            Procedure Without Prior Court Approval:  Appointed counsel may incur investigative or expert expenses without prior approval of the court. On presentation of a claim for reimbursement, the court shall order reimbursement of counsel for the expenses, if the expenses are reasonably necessary and reasonably incurred. Unreasonable or unnecessary expenses will not be approved.

 

Attorney Payment Form

 

The attached attorney payment form is adopted for use under the Gregg County Appointment of Counsel Plan.  It must be completed by the attorney and submitted to and approved by the presiding judge before payment may be made to the attorney.

 

The attorney payment form may be submitted with up to five (5) hours of attorney work without an itemized invoice.

 

If the attorney has more than five (5) hours of work for which the attorney desires to be compensated, the attorney must attach to the payment form an itemized invoice of the time expended on the case.

 

The itemized invoice must show the time billed in increments of six (6) minutes or one tenth (.1) of an hour, including the date, description of actions, and amount of time charged for each entry.

 

Invoices are due within thirty (30) days of case disposition, unless prior approval of the presiding judge has been obtained.

 

Miscellaneous
9/12/2017

 Contact Person for Out of County Arrests

 

The person who should be contacted to arrange for appointments of counsel when a person is arrested in another county, based on an arrest warrant or directive to apprehend which originated in Gregg County is the Gregg County Indigent Defense Caseworker.   They may be reached at 903-237-2644 or via email at Kathy.Poe@co.gregg.tx.us .

Plan Documents
Gregg District and County Court Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (9/12/2017 9:15:16 AM) view
Gregg District and County Court Attorney Application for Appointment.doc (9/23/2014 3:06:07 PM) view
Gregg District and County Court Attorney Fee Schedule.pdf (10/25/2011 4:59:18 PM) view
Gregg District and County Court Attorney Fee Voucher.pdf (9/23/2014 3:12:03 PM) view
Gregg District and County Court Contracts for Indigent Defense Services.pdf (2/5/2018 1:16:38 PM) view
Gregg District and County Court Gregg District Court Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (10/14/2015 3:31:59 PM) view
Gregg District and County Court Magistrates Warning Form.pdf (11/30/2009 3:44:01 PM) view
Gregg District and County Court Waiver of Counsel - District Cases.docx (10/30/2013 2:47:28 PM) view
Gregg District and County Court Waiver of Counsel.pdf (10/30/2013 2:32:12 PM) view