Bexar County Court Plan
Prompt Magistration
10/26/2022

Prompt Magistration

As of November 1, 2007, Bexar County Magistrates appointed by the Criminal District Court Judges will be performing all magistration duties.

Prompt Magistration

10/26/2022

  1. The person making the arrest or the person having custody of the arrested person shall take the arrested person before a magistrate within forty eight (48) hours after arrest, which is the current common practice in Bexar County.
  2. Whenever an arrested person is first brought before a magistrate, the magistrate shall perform the duties described in Article 15.17 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, conducting what will hereinafter be referred to as an Article 15.17 hearing, which will include the following:

 

  1. The magistrate shall specifically inform the person arrested of the person’s right to request assigned counsel if the person cannot afford counsel.
  2. The magistrate shall specifically ask the person arrested whether the person wants to request assigned counsel.
  3. The magistrate shall inform the person arrested of the procedures for requesting assigned counsel.
  4. The magistrate shall ensure that reasonable assistance in completing the necessary forms for requesting assigned counsel is provided to the person at the time of the Article 15.17 hearing.
  5. If the arrested person does not speak and understand the English language or is deaf, the magistrate shall inform the person in a manner consistent with Articles 38.30 and 38.31 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
  6. 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 the warrant.

 

  1. In each case in which an arrested person is taken before a magistrate for an Article 15.17 hearing, the magistrate will make a written record on a form titled “Magistrate Warning”. In the form, the following information will be made available in both English and Spanish:

 

  1. That the magistrate informed the person of the person’s right to request assigned counsel;
  2. That the magistrate asked the person whether the person wanted to request assigned counsel; and
  3. Whether or not the person requested assigned counsel.
  1. In accordance with SB6, the magistrate will ensure that a pre-sentence report is prepared and reviewed. Following review, the magistrate will ensure that a bail form is submitted.

 

  1. If the person requests assigned counsel, the magistrate shall transmit or cause to be transmitted to the Bexar County Pretrial Services Department the name of the arrested person requesting assigned counsel, for their assistance in filling out the necessary forms and to interview them to determine if they qualify for assigned counsel. This transmittal will occur no later than 24 hours after the request is made to the magistrate.

 

  1. For persons arrested on out-of-county warrants, the magistrate must ask the arrested person if he/she would like to request assigned 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 the person is provided with reasonable assistance in completing the necessary forms for requesting counsel in the county issuing the warrant. Requests for counsel made by persons arrested on out-of-county warrants must be transmitted to the appointing authority in the county issuing the warrant within 24 hours of the request being made.

 

 

  1. If after forty eight (48) hours, the arrested person has not made a bond, the arrested person shall be placed on a 48-hour bond docket and set for consideration of a personal recognizance bond, if eligible. The arrested person will have counsel at the hearing, if any. The following additional rules apply to this subsection:

 

  1. A person arrested for a misdemeanor without a warrant and who is detained in jail must be released not later than the 24th hour after arrest, on a bond not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), if a magistrate has not determined that probable cause exists to believe that the person committed the offense. If the person is unable to obtain a surety for the bond or unable to deposit money in the amount of the bond, the person must be released on a personal bond.
  2. If requested by the state, a magistrate may postpone the release of the arrested person for not more than 72 hours after the arrested person’s arrest if a probable cause determination has not been made, in compliance with Article 17.033 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
  3. The time limits set forth in rules 1 and 2 above do not apply to a person arrested without a warrant who is taken to a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility before a magistrate under Article 15.17.
  4. The Personal Recognizance Bond docket will be staffed by counsel specifically assigned by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program, using the “Attorney for the Day” panel curated in conjunction with SACDLA.


 

 

Indigence Determination Standards
10/27/2022


Indigence Determination Standards

10/26/2022

 

Procedures and Financial Standards for Determining Whether a Defendant is Indigent

 

These standards shall apply to each defendant equally, regardless of whether the defendant is in custody or has been released on bail.

 

A.    Definitions, as used in this section:

 

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; annuities; 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 as no income or lesser income.

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

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

5.      “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.     Procedure for Requesting Assigned Counsel

 

1.     After the Article 15.17 hearing, if the arrested person has informed the magistrate that he/she does not want to request a county assigned attorney,?this will be reflected on the Magistrate Warning form.? If at any time after magistration the arrested person decides that he/she would like to be interviewed after telling the magistrate that they did not want to request a county assigned attorney, he/she will be referred to the Pretrial Services Officer for an interview (see below).? If at any time after magistration the arrested person decides that he/she does?not?want to be interviewed for a county assigned attorney, after making the request with the magistrate, he/she will be referred to the Pretrial Services Office to sign a form reflecting the declination.??

2.    After the Article 15.17 hearing, if the arrested person has informed the magistrate that he/she wants to request an assigned attorney, the arrested person will be interviewed by the Pretrial Services Clerk regardless of whether they are able to make bond. If the arrested person makes bond, this interview will take place before the release on bond.

3.    As soon as possible following the Article 15.17 hearing, a Pretrial Services officer shall interview each arrested person who wants to request an assigned attorney, and the arrested person shall provide under oath the necessary information concerning the person’s financial resources. The Pretrial Services Clerk shall input this information into the County system in order to select an attorney for the arrested person.

4.   The financial data requested from the arrested person during the interview with the Pretrial Services Clerk will include but is not limited to the defendant’s income, source of income, assets, property owned, outstanding obligations, necessary expenses, the number and ages of dependents, and spousal income that is available to the defendant.?The financial data forms referenced in this plan will be the standardized forms for the county. Whether the defendant has posted or is capable of posting bail will not be considered in determining indigency, except to the extent that it reflects the defendant’s financial circumstances as measured by the considerations listed above.

5.      At the conclusion of the interview with the Pretrial Services Clerk, the arrested person will be asked to swear to and sign a “Financial Data Report Affidavit”.?

6.      The completed “Financial Data Report Affidavit” will then be sent back to the magistrate for signature to make an official finding of indigence.

 

C.     Eligibility for Assigned Counsel

 

1.      Based on the financial data given by the arrested person, the computer will calculate and determine whether the person meets the financial standard for indigence in Bexar County.? Pursuant to the Code of Criminal Procedure Article 26.04(o), before a determination of indigence is made the arrested person signs an “Indigent Attorney Appointment Affidavit”.? The standard for determining indigence is outlined as follows:

a.       The defendant’s necessary expenses will be subtracted from the defendant’s gross?income, including spousal income if applicable.? The resulting number will be referred to as the defendant’s “net income”

b.      “Necessary expenses” should include but are not limited to: rent or mortgage, food/groceries, car payment, car insurance, utilities.

c.       The defendant’s “net income” will be used to determine if the individual is indigent based on the income for one person under the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This amount will be adjusted annually pursuant to the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which are published in late January.

 

D.    The Presumption of Indigence

 

1.      An accused is presumed indigent if at the time of requesting assigned counsel, the accused or the accused’s dependents are eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or public housing.

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

a.       The accused’s net household income does not exceed one hundred twenty five percent (125%) of the Poverty Guidelines as revised annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Resources and published in the Federal Register.

b.      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

c.       The difference between the accused’s monthly net household income and reasonable necessary expenses is less than one thousand six hundred ten dollars ($1,610.00).  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).

d.      The Test:

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

                                                                    i.      $2,500;

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

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

3.      An accused who does not meet any of the financial standards set forth above may nevertheless be assigned counsel in the interest of justice if the accused is unable to retain private counsel without substantial hardship to the accused or the accused’s dependents, taking into account:

a.       The nature of the criminal charge(s);

b.      The anticipated complexity of the defense;

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

d.      The amount needed for the support of the defendant and the defendant’s dependents;

e.       The accused’s income;

f.        The source of income;

g.      Assets and property owned;

h.      Outstanding obligations;

i.        Necessary expenses;

j.        The number and ages of the dependents; and

k.      Spousal income available to the accused.

4.      A defendant who is determined to be indigent is presumed to remain indigent for the remainder of the proceedings in the case unless a material change in the defendant’s financial circumstances occurs.? If there is a material change in financial circumstances after a determination of indigency or non-indigency is made, the defendant, the defendant’s counsel, or the attorney representing the state may move for reconsideration of the determination.

a.       A written or oral statement elicited from the defendant during the process or evidence derived from the financial data provided may not be used for any purpose, except to determine the defendant’s indigency or to impeach the direct testimony of the defendant.

b.      A defendant may request assigned counsel at any time. Once this request has been made, the judge who presides over the defendant’s case shall contact the Managed Assigned Counsel Office and, after an interview, an attorney will be assigned according to the method of assignment outlined in the Prompt Assignment of Counsel section below.

5.      In accordance with Article 26.05(g) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, if the Court determines that a defendant has financial resources that enable him to offset in part or in whole the costs of 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.

 

E.     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.

 

F.      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.

 



Minimum Attorney Qualifications
10/26/2022

 

Minimum Attorney Qualifications

10/26/2022

Selection and Assignment of Counsel

For the Public Defender’s Office: The Chief Public Defender shall establish and maintain the specific attorney qualifications, standards of practice, and caseload standards for all PDO attorneys providing representation to those accused of criminal offenses in Bexar County.

For the Mental Health Division of the Managed Assigned Counsel Program: The mental health division of the Managed Assigned Counsel Program shall establish and maintain the specific attorney qualifications, standards of practice, and caseload standards for all mental health panel attorneys providing representation to people with serious psychiatric diagnoses who are accused of criminal offenses in Bexar County.

For the Managed Assigned Counsel Program: The Managed Assigned Counsel Program may establish additional criteria to determine which attorneys are qualified to represent persons charged with class A and B misdemeanors, 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree and state jail felonies, as well as appeals. The qualifications adopted by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program shall maintain or exceed the standards that are currently set forth below:

  1. All Attorneys must meet the following minimum qualifications to receive criminal case assignments:
  1. An attorney must have on file with authority from which they receive assignment a completed sworn application. Attorneys who submit an application to receive assignments must ensure all information on their application is correct and current by submission of an electronic oath or by oath before a notary.
  2. An attorney must be a licensed practicing attorney and a member in good standing with the State Bar of Texas.
  3. Attorneys must abide by the minimum CLE hour requirements adopted by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program. Attorneys must file a CLE report with the Managed Assigned Counsel Program each year attesting to the completion of required CLE.
  4. An attorney must have a secretary, receptionist, answering service, or a cell phone with texting capabilities. An attorney must have an active e-mail account to receive court assignments and notices regarding procedural changes. An attorney must register a phone number consistent with the requirement above with the Bexar County Sheriff to receive calls from incarcerated clients. Attorneys are encouraged to enable the use of video-conferencing. In addition, an attorney must respond promptly (within one business day) to a phone call or text from the court or from the Managed Assigned Counsel Office.
  5. An attorney shall notify the Managed Assigned Counsel Program promptly, in writing, of any matter that would disqualify the attorney by law, regulation, rule, or other guideline from receiving assignments to represent indigent defendants in Bexar County.
  6. After approval by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program, attorneys must attend a general orientation conference regarding the operation of the assignment process and first setting procedures for indigent representation.
  7. Pursuant to the Article 26.04 (j)(4) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, an attorney shall submit by October 15th of each year a statement that describes the percentage of the attorney’s practice time that was dedicated to work based on assignments accepted in Bexar County for adult criminal cases and juvenile delinquency cases for the prior 12 months that begins on October 1 and Ends September 30. The report must be submitted through the online form to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.
  8. An attorney must meet other standards adopted by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program that do not fall below the standards set forth in this plan.
  9. If an attorney does not meet the qualifications to accept cases of a certain degree or case type, but would like the Managed Assigned Counsel Program to consider qualifying him/her for that list under the provision above, he/she can fill out a form called “Exception to Qualifications to Receive Court Assignments” and turn that in with his/her application.

 

  1. All field specific requirements will be further outlined and made available in the Managed Assigned Counsel Standard Operating Procedures.

 

Prompt Appointment of Counsel
10/26/2022

Prompt Assignment of Counsel

10/26/2022

 

  1. Counsel shall be assigned in the manner specified below, as soon as possible, but not later than the end of the first working day after the date on which the Pretrial Services Department receives the defendant’s request for counsel. “Working day” means Monday through Friday, except for official county holidays.

 

  1. The magistrate or judge will advise all unrepresented defendants of the right to counsel and procedures for obtaining counsel in accordance with Article 1.051(f-2) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

 

  1. The Managed Assigned Counsel Program will receive a master list every working day containing the names of all defendants who were arrested the previous day or weekend and were assigned counsel by the Pretrial Services Clerk. This master list will include the assigned counsel’s name and state bar number, as well as the case number(s) and offense(s) charged. After review and signature of the Managed Assigned Counsel, all assignments will be official.

 

  1. Persons arrested in other counties on Bexar County warrants must be assigned counsel from the Managed Assigned Counsel Program’s Panel of qualified attorneys within one working day of receipt of the request for counsel.

 

  1. If a defendant is arrested in Bexar County based on another county’s warrant, the Managed Assigned Counsel Program will assign an attorney, using the approved algorithm, to represent the defendant in any matter under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 11 (Habeas Corpus) or 17 (Bail) if, on the eleventh day after arrest, the defendant is still in Bexar County’s custody.

 

  1. By standing order, the Bexar County Public Defender's Office is appointed to represent indigent arrested persons and/or arrested persons who suffer from a mental illness during the arrested person's appearance before the magistrate at the Central Magistration (CMAG) facility, if the arrested person requests counsel, does not already have counsel on record, and financially qualifies.? The appointment of the Bexar County Public Defender's Office shall be for the limited purpose of representation of the mentally ill and/or indigent arrested person during the magistration process and related solely to the determination of the bond and the conditions of the bond for the arrested person.? The limited appointment of the Bexar County Public Defender's Office is concluded upon the termination of the magistration proceedings and no motion to withdraw is necessary.? At that point the indigent arrested person shall be assigned counsel according to the procedures outlined in the Managed Assigned Counsel Plan of Operations, to represent that person for the remainder of the case.

 

  1. Procedures for Assignment of Counsel:

 

  1. Pursuant to Article 26.04 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the assignment of counsel to indigent defendants is facilitated through:
    1. Article 26.04 (f-1) - Managed Assigned Counsel: Pursuant to the TCCP Articles 26.04 (a), 26.04 (f-1) and 26.047 the criminal court judges by majority vote authorized the presiding criminal court judge to petition the Bexar County Commissioners Court to apply for a grant from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission to establish a Managed Assigned Counsel Office to administer the assignment of criminal cases to qualified attorneys for the Bexar County District, County, and Juvenile Courts. The Director of the Managed Assigned Counsel Office shall serve as the Program Administrator for the grant and implementation of the plan. The Managed Assigned Counsel Program will assume the duties of assigning counsel when the ECJIS program goes live in January 2023.
    2. Due to the adoption of a Managed Assigned Counsel program in Bexar County, The Public Defender’s office is no longer required to be given priority in receiving appointments under Art. 26.04(f)(4) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.The Managed Assigned Counsel and the Public Defender’s office are to work together as it relates to court appointments. 

 

  1. If at any time after magistration the arrested person decides that he/she would like to request assigned counsel, he/she may contact the Bexar County Pretrial Services Department or the court coordinator of the court where the case is set, to be interviewed and provided with the necessary forms.? If qualified, the arrested person will then be assigned counsel as provided by the Managed Assigned Counsel plan of operations.

 

  1. Motions to Revoke Probation and Motions to Enter an Adjudication of Guilt assignments will be made from a panel of qualified attorneys in the same manner as other criminal cases.

 

  1. At any time, a defendant may appear before the judge presiding over the defendant’s case and request a county assigned attorney, and the judge has the discretion to contact the Trial Division Chief of the Managed Assigned Counsel Program to assign a qualified?attorney.?The assigned attorney or member of the Bexar County Public Defender's Office must be qualified to take that degree of offense.?The Managed Assigned Counsel Program may assign any qualified, willing attorney. "Qualified" in the context of this rule means that the particular individual attorney filled out the appropriate application form, met all of the qualifying assignment requirements, and was approved by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program to participate in the assignment panel. ?

 

  1. If a defendant appears in court without counsel for a charge which may result in confinement, the Judge shall not encourage the defendant to engage in conversation with the attorney for the State without first advising the Defendant of his right to counsel. The Court shall ensure that the Defendant is given a reasonable opportunity to retain counsel or apply for assigned counsel. The Court should advise the defendant to refrain from communicating with the state without a written waiver of counsel. A Judge may also, in his discretion contact the Managed Assigned Counsel Program to assign an attorney in the interest of justice.

 

 

  1. Each attorney assigned under this subsection to represent the defendant shall represent the defendant through the investigation, pre-trial, and trial phase of the criminal case.

 

  1. If an attorney files a motion for good cause, and the court orders the attorney to withdraw from the case, they are excused from the aforementioned obligations to continue representation. In this event, replacement counsel will be assigned.
  2. Before withdrawing as counsel for the defendant after trial or the entry of a plea and sentencing where the right to appeal was not waived, the assigned trial attorney shall advise the defendant of the defendant’s right to file a motion for new trial and a notice of appeal.??If the defendant wishes to pursue?a motion for new trial and/or notice of appeal, it is?the trial attorney's responsibility to file the notice and pursue the motion for new trial.? If no motion for new trial is filed, it?is still the trial attorney's responsibility to file a notice of appeal if the defendant so wishes.? Once these steps have been completed, the assigned trial attorney's representation of the defendant is concluded, and a motion to withdraw should be filed.??The Managed Assigned Counsel Program may then appoint the Bexar County?Public Defender’s Office on the appeal.??If the?Bexar County Public Defender's Office?refuses the appointment pursuant to the Code of Criminal Procedure Article 26.044(j), the Managed Assigned Counsel Program may assign a lawyer from the next five names on the Appellate Panel. In specific instances of advanced complexity, the Managed Assigned Counsel Program may assign any qualified, willing attorney regardless of whether the attorney’s name is among the next five names on the appropriate panel.
  3. The Public Defender’s Office 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 with 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.



 

Attorney Selection Process
10/26/2022

Attorney Selection Process

10/26/2022

 

  1. The following method shall be used to assign attorneys from the approved panels to represent indigent defendants:
  1. After the defendant has been interviewed by the Pretrial services Clerk and the computer has completed the calculation and determined that the defendant meets the standard of indigency used in Bexar County, the Pretrial Services Clerk will used the Managed Assigned Counsel Program’s approved algorithm to determine the next attorney’s name on the appropriate panel.
  2. The computer will select and provide an attorney’s name using the Managed Assigned Counsel Program’s approved algorithm to the Pretrial Services Clerk, after analyzing the individual requirements of the request and utilizing the following filters:
    1. Language
    2. Degree of Offense
    3. Availability of Attorney
    4. Date of Last Assignment
  3. The attorney’s name selected by the computer to be assigned to the case should be one that meets any language requirement (if possible), is qualified to take assignments for that type of offense, is not unavailable, and has the oldest date of last assignment.? This will result in an unbiased system of rotation.
    1. If the defendant has an attorney already assigned on a prior pending or concluded matter, the same attorney will be assigned on the new matter so long as they are qualified on the appropriate panel.
  4. At any time, a defendant may appear before the judge presiding over the defendant’s case and request an assigned attorney, and the judge shall contact the Managed Assigned Counsel Program or a qualified member of the Bexar County Public Defender's Office to assign representation to that defendant.? The attorney or member of the Bexar?County Public Defender's Office?must be qualified to take that type of offense. "Qualified" in the context of this rule means that the particular individual attorney filled out the appropriate application form, met all of the qualifying assignment requirements, and was approved by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program.

 

Application and Removal from the Assignment Panel

10/26/2022

  1. Following the submission of attorney applications for the assignment panels, the Managed Assigned Counsel Program shall evaluate the new applicants for each panel and the attorneys already on the panels. The Managed Assigned Counsel Program will review the new applications and any newly filed exceptions to the qualifications received. Attorneys approved by the Program will be placed on the appropriate assignment panels.

 

  1. Involuntary Removal:

 

  1. An attorney may be removed from one or more of the assignment panels. Reasons for removal include, but are not limited to:

 

  1. Whenever the Managed Assigned Counsel Program determines that the attorney no longer meets the objective qualifications for a specific panel, or is not fully competent to adequately handle the category of cases associated with that list. Note, the Managed Assigned Counsel Program may, in its own discretion, remove an attorney from one or more panels while continuing to approve the attorney for the other assignment panels.
  2. When an attorney intentionally or repeatedly violates the requirement that the attorney may make every reasonable effort to contact the defendant not later than the end of the first working day after the date on which the attorney is assigned and to interview the defendant as soon as practicable after the attorney is assigned.
  3. When, after a hearing, it is shown that the attorney submitted a claim for legal services not performed by the attorney.
  4. When, after a hearing, it is shown that the attorney requested and/or received any money or anything else of value for representing the accused, other than what is paid or anticipated to be paid to them by the county, without approval from the court in writing.
  5. In certain extraordinary circumstances, such as incarceration or institutionalization, an attorney may temporarily be removed from assignment panels.
  6. If an attorney is arrested at any time while on an assignment panel, that attorney must report the arrest to the Managed Assigned Counsel Program by the end of the first business day after the arrest.
  7. In the event that the Judge sees behavior unbecoming of counsel, they are to report all infractions to the Managed Assigned Counsel Program. After such report, the attorney in question will be reviewed for correction or removal.

 

  1. Voluntary Removal:

 

  1. Participating panel attorneys have the right to request a temporary pause from receiving court assignments, as well as temporary reduction of caseloads upon request. The process for voluntary removal is located and made available in the Managed Assigned Counsel Program’s Standard Operating Procedures.
  1. In the event that an Attorney is unavailable due to vacation or personal necessity, that Attorney shall submit a vacation form to the managed assigned counsel notice. Following Managed Assigned Counsel’s approval, a courtesy copy will be sent to the District clerk and disseminated to the judges.The Managed Assigned Counsel Program makes the ultimate decision whether to approve vacation requests. A vacation letter does NOT obviate the need to independently file a motion for continuance, nor does it guarantee that a continuance will be granted. Attorneys are responsible for pre-existing trial settings regardless of vacation letters. Specifically, vacation requests may be denied if there are existing trial settings. All requests must comply with the local rules.

 

  1. Assignment of Replacement Counsel:

 

  1. Whenever assigned counsel is removed under this section, replacement counsel shall immediately be selected and assigned in accordance with the procedures described in the Managed Assigned Counsel plan of operations.

 

 

Fee and Expense Payment Process
10/26/2022

Fee and Expense Payment Process

10/26/2022

 

Attorney Fee Schedule and Compensation of Assigned Attorneys

 

   A. Other than the?Bexar County?Public Defender’s Office,?counsel assigned to represent a defendant in a criminal proceeding, including a pretrial habeas corpus hearing, shall be paid for all reasonable and appropriate services rendered while representing the accused. 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 County Court at Law Judges hearing criminal cases in the county.

  B. ?All payments shall be paid after Managed Assigned Counsel Program approval, in accordance with the appropriate fee schedule and guidelines, with copies sent to the Commissioners Court of Bexar County.?The Managed Assigned Counsel Program shall fully assume the duties of voucher review and approval once EVOUCHER goes live in February 2023. 

  C.  This fee schedule takes into consideration reasonable and necessary overhead costs and the availability of qualified attorneys willing to accept the stated rates. 

  D.  A voucher form and in-court and out-of-court itemization forms, where itemization is applicable, will be provided for assigned counsel to itemize the types of services performed.? The assigned counsel must submit this voucher to the Managed Assigned Counsel Program over the case for which the assigned attorney seeks compensation. 

  E.  An attorney who receives an assignment through the system outlined in this plan or through any other means is not allowed to receive any money or anything else of value for representing the accused, other than what is paid to them by the county, as approved by the Managed Assigned Counsel Program in writing. 

   F.   If the Managed Assigned Counsel Program disapproves the requested amount of payment, they shall make written findings stating the amount of payment that is approved and each reason for approving an amount different from the requested amount.?

  G.   Regardless of whether an attorney’s voucher has been reviewed by the voucher recommendation committee or not, an attorney whose request for payment is disapproved may appeal the disapproval by filing a motion with the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region, as provided under Article 26.05(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.? This motion must be filed within twenty-one (21) days from the date the attorney receives notice of the disapproval of payment.

 

  H.    On the filing of a motion, the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region shall review the disapproval of payment and determine the appropriate amount of payment.? In reviewing the disapproval, the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region may conduct a hearing.? Not later than the 45th?day after the date an application for payment of a fee is submitted, Bexar County shall pay to the assigned counsel the amount that is approved by the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region and that is in accordance with the adopted fee schedule.

I. Payment of Expenses 

       

a.       Assigned 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 the procedures set forth below.

                                                              i.      Assigned 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:

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

2.      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 defense; and

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

 

                                                            ii.      Bexar County will reimburse assigned attorneys in the event they incur reasonable investigation and expert witness expenses incurred without priot court approval if the following conditions are met:

1.      Submit a detailed report of the expenses incurred and explain their role in the investigation of the case. Only reasonable and necessary expenses will be reimbursed.

   J.    The Bexar County Public Defender's Office shall be compensated through its budget as approved by the Bexar County Commissioners Court.

 

Plan Documents
Bexar County Court Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (10/21/2015 3:17:56 PM) view
Bexar County Court Attachment Five-Financial and Indigent Affidavit Spanish.pdf (6/28/2010 2:52:36 PM) view
Bexar County Court Attachment Four-Financial and Indigent Affidavit English.pdf (6/28/2010 2:52:18 PM) view
Bexar County Court Attachment One-Magistrate Warning English.pdf (6/28/2010 2:51:54 PM) view
Bexar County Court Attachment Three-Accused Declined to be Interviewed.pdf (6/28/2010 2:51:25 PM) view
Bexar County Court Attachment Two-Magistrate Warning Spanish.pdf (6/28/2010 2:51:01 PM) view
Bexar County Court Attorney Application for Appointment.doc (4/11/2016 1:27:42 PM) view
Bexar County Court Attorney Fee Schedule.pdf (6/24/2020 11:51:20 AM) view
Bexar County Court Attorney Fee Voucher.pdf (6/24/2020 11:51:47 AM) view
Bexar County Court Attorney Visit Certification.pdf (6/24/2020 11:52:22 AM) view
Bexar County Court Bexar County Court Investigator Policy for County Courts.pdf (10/9/2017 2:28:12 PM) view
Bexar County Court Investigator Policy for County Courts.docx (10/26/2015 11:22:37 AM) view
Bexar County Court Managed Assigned Counsel Plan of Operation.pdf (11/8/2022 4:21:26 PM) view
Bexar County Court Mental Health Public Defender.pdf (10/31/2013 3:28:41 PM) view
Bexar County Court Public Defender Plan or Proposal.docx (10/28/2013 4:46:23 PM) view
Bexar County Court Waiver of Counsel.doc (11/6/2009 4:17:40 PM) view