Bexar Juvenile Board Plan
Prompt Detention Hearings
2/27/2015

A child taken into custody must either be brought to a juvenile processing office without unnecessary delay where they may not be detained for longer than six hours pursuant to §52.025, Family Code, or another disposition authorized by §52.02, Family Code, including referral to the office designated by the juvenile board as intake for the juvenile court.

If the child is detained, the court must hold a detention hearing by the second working day, or first working day if juvenile was detained on Friday or Saturday(§54.01(a). Tex. Fam Code).

Prior to the detention hearing the court shall inform the parties of the child’s right to counsel and to appointed counsel if they are indigent, and of the child’s right to remain silent as to the alleged conduct.

Unless the court finds that the appointment of counsel is not feasible due to exigent circumstances, the court shall appoint counsel within a reasonable time before the first detention hearing is held to represent the child at that hearing.

The detention hearing may be conducted without the presence of the child’s parent(s) or other responsible adult(s), however, in these cases the court must immediately appoint counsel or a guardian ad litem to represent the child.

The court shall provide the attorney for the child access to all written matter to be considered by the Court in making the detention decision.


Indigence Determination Standards
7/15/2010

Upon notification that their child has been detained, the person responsible for the child’s support will be notified of the  child’s right to counsel, and to be represented by court-appointed counsel if the person responsible for the child’s support will be financially unable to employ an attorney to represent the child. If the person responsible for the child’s support wishes to be interviewed to determine if they qualify for court- appointed counsel for their child, he/she/they will be referred to the Juvenile Courts’ pre-trial services personnel for completion of the financial information questionnaire (see Form # 1- Pre Trial Services Finiacial Data). The person responsible for the child’s support will be required to swear to the accuracy of the information provided and sign a statement so stating (see Form #2-Iindigent Attorney Appointment Affidavit).  Appointment of counsel shall not be made without the cooperation of the person responsible for the child’s support in completing the required financial information questionnaire.  If the person responsible for the child’s support does not wish to provide the information required to determine eligibility for court-appointed counsel, they will be asked to sign an affidavit so stating, and will be informed that their refusal to provide this information is an indication to the Court that they do not wish to seek court-appointed counsel for their child, but will instead retain counsel to represent their child at all court proceedings(see Form #3- Statement of Responsible Party Declining to be Interviewed for Court-Appointed Counsel for their Child) .  The determination of indigence will be made upon the submission of the financial information obtained in the financial interview into the computer system.  The system will have guidelines, established county-wide for the determination of indigence, pre-programmed (see Form #4- Guidelines to Determine Indigence).

 

In order to determine whether a child's parent(s) or other person(s) responsible for child's support is indigent several factors will be considered, the child's parent(s) or other person(s) responsible for child's support's "necessary expenses" will be calculated.  Once that figure is determined it will be subtracted from the child's parent(s) or other person(s) responsible for child support's gross income (including spousal income if applicable).  Once that number, which for the purposes of this determination will be called the "net income," is determined that figure will be used to determine if the child's parent(s) or person(s) responsible for child's support is (are) indigent based on the income for one person under the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  "Necessary Expenses" should include: rent or mortgage; food/groceries; car payment; car insurance; utilities (water, electric, phone).

 

 

 

Minimum Attorney Qualifications
10/31/2017

QUALIFICATIONS FOR ATTORNEYS TO RECEIVE COURT APPOINTMENTS IN BEXAR COUNTY JUVENILE DISTRICT COURTS

 

Attorneys who are interested in qualifying as court-appointed counsel for children under Title 3 of the Family Code must meet certain qualifications.  The qualifications necessary to represent children under Title 3 of the Family Code are set out below. The Texas Indigent Defense Commission may impose additional qualifications, which must be met by attorneys, in order to remain on the list.

 

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 October 1 and ends on September 30.  The report must be submitted through the online form to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.

 

In addition to the requirements for CLE set out below, attorneys must attain a minimum of six hours of CLE in juvenile law annually to be eligible for appointment in juvenile cases.  As an alternative to meeting the CLE requirements, an attorney may be currently certified in juvenile law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Continuing legal education activity completed within a one-year period immediately preceding the initial reporting period may be used to meet the educational requirement for the initial year.

 

The following provisions are also included in the rules to add flexibility so that attorneys may meet the requirements without causing an undue burden:

Ø     All of the required juvenile law hours in this six hour requirement may be earned through any method authorized by the State Bar, including self-study.  Attendance at a State Bar accredited CLE training is NOT required.

Ø     Carryover provision allows an attorney to earn 12 hours at one conference and carry forward 6 hours to the next year’s reporting period.

Ø     Emergency appointment allowed when no attorney meeting the CLE requirements is available by the time an attorney must be appointed in a case.

 

If board Certified in Criminal Law or Juvenile Law, you are automatically qualified to receive court appointments in every category of juvenile offense described below.

 

Determinate or Habitual felonies, Certification and Transfer cases, 3g offenses including Capital Murder, and First degree felonies:

 

(1)        Have at least four years prior experience in criminal litigation; and

(2)        Prior experience as trial counsel in four felony (district court or juvenile district court) jury trials in the last five years; must have served as lead counsel in two of these trials; and

(3)        Have completed 12 hours in CLE in Criminal Law in the last calendar year.  In addition, the Legislative Update Seminar must be attended in any year the Legislature meets. Suggested courses are; the Criminal Law Institute (offered annually by the SABA, Advanced Criminal Law Course (offered annually by the State Bar of Texas), The Short Course (offered annually by the TCDLA) or the Juvenile Law Course (offered annually by the State Bar of Texas).  Other courses authorized by the State Bar in Texas Criminal law or procedure are acceptable.

 

 

Note:   To qualify for any of the following appointments, including appeals, you must have completed 10 hours of CLE in criminal law or procedure or juvenile law or procedure, or any combination thereof, in the past year, including carry over.  In addition, the Legislative Update Seminar must be attended in any year the Legislature meets.

 

Other Felonies:

 

(1)        Have at least two years prior experience in criminal litigation; and

(2)        Prior experience as lead or co-counsel in at least two felony (district court or juvenile district court) jury trials.

 

Misdemeanor & CINS (Child In Need of Supervision):

 

            Observed the following procedures in the 289th, 386th, and 436th District Courts:

(a)        Docket Call;

(b)        Detention hearings; and

(c)        At least one contested matter (jury, non-jury or motion to modify). [Can be observed in any one of the three juvenile district courts listed above.]

 

Attorneys, who wish to be included on the appointment list for juvenile cases in Bexar County, must fill out a sworn application, and if required, an observation affidavit, and submit it to the Juvenile Courts General Administrative Counsel (see Form # 5-Application Affidavit and Form #6- Observation Affidavit). Each applicant must be approved by a majority of the judges on the Juvenile Board.  After the initial list, any attorney who wishes to be included on the appointment list or who wishes to have their qualifications reviewed for appointments at a higher level, may submit an application, or supplemental application (see Form # 7 - Supplemental Application), which will be reviewed by the Trial Committee for preliminary inclusion on the list.  Applications and supplemental applications may be submitted to the Juvenile Courts General Administrative Counsel at any time, however, they will only be submitted to the Trial Committee and the Juvenile Board for approval in May and November of each year.  Supplemental applications submitted by attorneys who wish to have their qualifications reviewed for appointments at a higher level, must include the dates and cause numbers of any trials they have included on said supplemental application. Official placement on the list shall be made upon approval of a majority of the judges on the Juvenile Board.   

 


 

Procedures for Removal of Attorneys From List

 

Misrepresentation of qualifications on the application or supplemental application is cause for removal of an attorney from the list.  In order to remain on the appointment list, attorneys must submit proof of completion of the required continuing legal education (CLE), to the Juvenile Courts General Administrative Counsel, on or before, December 31 of each calendar year.   Failure to submit proof of the required CLE by the deadline will result in temporary suspension of the attorney from the appointment list.  Said suspension will continue until proof of CLE is provided to the Juvenile Courts General Administrative Counsel.

 Failure to submit, by October 15th of each calendar year, the online statement to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission describing 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 October 1 and ends on September 30 will result in temporary suspension of the attorney from the appointment list.  Said suspension will continue until proof of submission is provided to the Juvenile Courts General Administrative Counsel.

Attorneys may voluntarily remove themselves from the appointment list by submitting a letter to the Juvenile Courts General Administrative Counsel stating their desire to be removed from the list, the reasons for said request, whether any current case will be affected, which cases will be affected, and the time period of the removal.  Attorneys will not be permitted to withdraw from cases that they have been appointed to prior to submitting their request for removal from the appointment list, without filing a motion to withdraw, which must be ruled on by the judge in whose court the case from which they are seeking to withdraw, has been set.

 

Attorneys will be removed from the list if it is determined that the attorney intentionally or repeatedly fails to make every reasonable effort to contact the child not later than the end of the first working day after the date on which the attorney is appointed and to interview the child as soon as practicable after the attorney is appointed.  Also, attorneys who fail to attend detention hearings without providing notice to the Court of the reason for their inability to attend said hearing may be removed from the list.

 

Attorneys, who are shown to have submitted a claim for legal services not performed by the attorney, may be removed from the list by vote of the majority of the judges on the Board.

          

Attorneys, who fail to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, may be subject to removal from the list.

 

If it is determined at any time during the pendency of the case, that the child is subject to charges for an offense that is of a higher level than that for which the initially appointed attorney is qualified, it is incumbent upon the appointed attorney to bring this matter to the Court’s attention as soon as possible. Attorneys who fail to do this may be subject to removal from the list.   Additionally, pay vouchers will not be approved for work on any case for which the appointed attorney is not qualified to represent the child, unless the attorney has received prior approval from the judge in whose court the case has been set.

 

Attorneys who are repeatedly late for court or who otherwise fail to show respect to the court, may be subject to removal from the list.

 

Attorneys may not ask another attorney to appear for them on a case to which they have been appointed.  If the attorney is unable to appear on a case, they must either file a written motion for continuance or withdrawal.  Any attorney, who has filed 3 motions to withdraw due to inability to appear, is subject to removal from the list.

 

Attorneys must update each court and the Juvenile Courts General Administrative Counsel of any changes to telephone number, fax number and/or e-mail address.  If the court is unable to reach the attorney at the numbers supplied by the attorney, within 24 hours, the attorney may be suspended from the list until such time as the attorney provides new contact information to the courts and General Administrative Counsel.

 

Any judge on the Board may temporarily remove an attorney from the list if the judge believes that the attorney has become incapacitated, or if the judge discovers the attorney has pending legal issues that may impede their ability to devote full attention to the representation of juvenile respondents.

 

Any judge on the Board may request removal of an attorney from the list.  The attorney sought to be removed shall be temporarily suspended from the list.  Upon the recommendation of the Trial Committee, the Juvenile Board may, by majority vote, determine whether or not to remove an attorney from the appointment list following the temporary suspension of the attorney from the list, by any judge.

 





Prompt Appointment of Counsel
10/27/2015


Unless the court finds that the appointment of counsel is not feasible due to exigent circumstances, the court shall appoint counsel within a reasonable time before the first detention hearing is held to represent the child at that hearing.  If the child was not represented by an attorney at the detention hearing and a determination was made to detain the child, the child shall immediately be entitled to representation by an attorney

In cases in which the child is released from custody after the initial intake investigation, upon service of a petition, the person responsible for the child’s support will be informed of the child’s right to counsel, and to be represented by court-appointed counsel if the person responsible for the child’s support will be financially unable to employ an attorney to represent the child.  If the person responsible for the child’s support wishes to be interviewed to determine if they qualify for court-appointed counsel for their child, he/she/they will then be referred to the Juvenile Courts’ pre-trial services personnel to complete the financial information interview, so that counsel can be appointed on or before the 5th working day after the petition is served.

If a child is already on judicial probation and a motion to modify is filed that seeks either revocation with commitment to the TYC or modification to require confinement in a secure local facility, then the person responsible for the child’s support will be informed of the child’s right to counsel, and to be represented by court-appointed counsel if the person responsible for the child’s support will be financially unable to employ an attorney to represent the child.  If the person responsible for the child’s support wishes to be interviewed to determine if they qualify for court-appointed counsel for their child, he/she/they will then be referred to the Juvenile Courts’ pre-trial services personnel to complete the financial information interview, so that counsel can be appointed on or before the 5th working day after the motion to modify is filed.

The above described process for the appointment of counsel is applicable to those cases in which the child appears without a parent or whose parent or other person responsible for the child’s support requests an attorney at the times enumerated above.  If the child, parent, or other person responsible for the support of the child has not previously requested a court-appointed attorney, the party so requesting can be sent to pre-trial services for an interview.  As an alternative, the Judge of the Juvenile Court can appoint an attorney to represent a child in a particular case in the interest of justice.  If so appointed, the Judge must place the rationale for said appointment on the record.  If at any time, the Court determines that the parent or person responsible for the support of the child is financially able to employ an attorney to represent the child or will not cooperate with the Juvenile Courts’ pre-trial services personnel in submitting the required financial information to determine indigence, the Court shall order that person to employ an attorney to represent the child or to pay a reasonable attorney’s fee as set by the Court.

 





Attorney Selection Process
10/30/2019

Bexar County will compile an attorney data bank, which will be comprised of attorneys who apply to take court-appointed cases, who meet the above-referenced qualifications and who are approved by the Juvenile Board of Bexar County to be included in the resaid data bank.   This data bank will operate as the “list” from which court-appointed counsel will be selected.  The computer will use a rotational process to select an attorney for each case in which it is determined that the child requires the services of court-appointed counsel.  In making the selection of an attorney, the computer will use several different programmed filters, including, qualifications, language requirements, date of most recent appointment, attorney availability, pending cases with appointed counsel, etc. 

The system will use the guidelines, established county-wide for the determination of indigence, (see Form # 4) pre-programmed, which, when reached,  will trigger the computer system to select an attorney from the list of attorneys requesting court-appointed cases to represent the child in that particular proceeding.

Once the attorney has been selected, the attorney’s name will be placed at the bottom of the list.

Upon selection by the computer, the attorney will receive instantaneous notification of the appointment by both e-mail and fax.  The notification will include the name, address/location of the child, phone number of the child, as well as the SID number, Cause number, and court and/or detention hearing date if applicable.  Attorney information will automatically be transferred onto the “C” page of the appropriate case file on the JJIS.  The child will receive a print out with the name, address and phone number of the appointed attorney. 

The appointed attorney shall remain the attorney of record (unless relieved by the court earlier, after a finding of good cause is entered on the record) until charges are dismissed, the allegations against the child have been found to be not true, all post-trial motions are resolved, notice of appeal is perfected, or until relieved by the court or replaced by other counsel.  The judge of the Juvenile Court may remove an appointed attorney from a particular case if it is determined at any time during the pendency of the case, that the child is subject to charges for an offense that is of a higher level than that for which the initially appointed attorney is qualified.

           At the conclusion of all proceedings in the trial court, including post-trial motions, if an indigent child wishes to file an appeal, trial counsel must assist the child in the filing of the notice of appeal.  Once these steps have been completed, the court-appointed trial attorney’s representation of the child is concluded.  No motion to withdraw is necessary.  The trial court will give priority of appointment to the Public Defender’s Office (PD) on appeal, pursuant to Article 26.04 Code of Criminal Procedure.  If the PD refuses the appointment pursuant to the Code of Criminal Procedure Article 26.044(j), the trial court may then appoint any qualified attorney to represent the child on appeal.

 


Fee and Expense Payment Process
10/30/2019

COMPENSATION OF COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL


The Fee Schedule for the Juvenile District Courts is set out as Form #8.  The fee schedule may be temporarily amended by agreement of the judges of the District Courts giving preference to Juvenile matters and sitting as Juvenile Courts.  Any temporary changes to the fee schedule will be made permanent by the ratification of the Juvenile Board at the next regular Board meeting.  A copy of the pay voucher is included as Form # 9.  Should the Judge of the Court in which a particular case has been placed wish to reduce the amount paid to the attorney for the case, from the amount submitted on the voucher, the rationale for the reduction must be made a part of the record.  A copy of a standard form for that purpose is included as Form #10.

 

GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION AND PAYMENT OF VOUCHERS

 

1.   No claim will be paid unless properly submitted within one year of final disposition.

 

2.   An itemization sheet must be attached showing detailed hours worked if the attorney is being paid on an hourly basis.  Vouchers should be itemized on ¼ of an hour basis.

 

3.   If an attorney chooses to be paid a flat fee for a stipulation, no additional compensation, other than fees for initial detention visit and detention hearings will be paid.

 

4.   Fees for multiple cases, including petitions, MTMs, cases taken into consideration, and/or any combination of theses, the attorney may choose to submit an itemized voucher or be paid a flat fee for the highest degree case charged by petition or motion.


5.   For a petition with multiple counts, the attorney may choose to submit an itemized voucher or be paid a flat fee for the highest degree count within that petition.


6.   A voucher combining hourly itemizations and flat fees on multiple cases/multiple counts will not be approved.  An attorney must submit a voucher based either on a flat fee or hourly itemization of time spent handling the cases, and no combination of the two will be approved.


7.   If the respondent has only one case on the docket, which is non-suited, the attorney will be paid for the dismissal on an hourly basis only.  Case must have actually been filed to be paid as a dismissal.  A maximum of 4 hours will be paid on any dismissal of a case, unless prior approval is received from the Court.


8.   When an appointment is made on an appeal, it is expected that the attorney receiving the appointment and signing the voucher actually did the research and wrote the brief.  If another person assisted the attorney of record, the voucher must reflect that person’s name, the work performed by that person, and the amount, if any, that person was paid or promised for their services.


9.   A copy of your brief must be submitted with your voucher for payment on appeal.

 

10. 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 expenses will not be approved.  When possible, prior court approval should be obtained before incurring expenses for investigation and for mental health and other experts.

 

 

      11. When it becomes necessary for the Court to appoint an attorney to advise and counsel a witness whose own testimony might subject that witness to potential criminal liability, counsel will

       be entitled to compensation at the hourly rate which would be payable if counsel had been appointed to represent the respondent in the case on trial.

 

12. If the County Auditor detects simple mathematical errors in a pay voucher, they will compute the voucher and pay it out based on their calculations.


13.  The Court has discretion to reduce a voucher submitted for payment based on work product not reflecting the amount of time submitted or expended.  If the Court to which a pay voucher is submitted for payment, disapproves the requested amount for payment, the Court shall make written findings stating the amount of payment that the Court approves and each reason for approving an amount different from the requested amount.  An attorney who disputes the reduction of  a pay voucher or who has not had their voucher acted upon within 60 days of submission may choose to have the voucher presented to a peer review committee, or may appeal the disapproval or failure to act by filing a motion with the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region in accordance with Article 26.05(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


14. All work and visits submitted for payment must have actually been done by the attorney submitting the voucher. 

 

15. In accordance with Article 26.05(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this fee schedule takes into consideration reasonable and necessary overhead costs.

 

 

 

Investigative and Expert Expenses.

Counsel appointed in a non-capital case shall be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses, including expenses for investigation and for mental health and other experts.  Expenses incurred with and without prior court approval shall be reimbursed, according to the procedures set forth below.  When possible, prior court approval should be obtained before incurring expenses for investigation and for mental health and other experts.

 

            Procedure With  Prior Court Approval:

           

Appointed counsel may file with the trial court a pretrial ex parte confidential request for advance payment of investigative or expert expenses.  The request for expenses must state 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 potential defense; and

(3) an itemized list of anticipated expenses for each investigation or each expert.

 

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:

 

(1) state the reasons for the denial in writing;

(2) attach the denial to the confidential request; and

(3) submit the request and denial as a sealed exhibit to the record.

 

            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 expenses will not be approved.

 

Articles 26.05(d), 26.052(f), (g) & (h), Code of Criminal Procedure. §51.10 (i) Family Code

 

         ***Pay vouchers will not be approved for work on any case for which the appointed attorney is not qualified to represent the child, unless the attorney has received prior approval from the judge in whose court the case has been set.


Plan Documents
Bexar Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (10/21/2009 10:05:37 AM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment.pdf (10/21/2009 10:09:25 AM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.pdf (10/30/2019 2:28:19 PM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.doc (10/30/2019 2:31:04 PM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Bexar County Juvenile Board Observation Affidavit.doc (10/27/2015 2:26:26 PM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Guidelines to Determine Indigence.pdf (10/21/2009 10:08:55 AM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Juvenile Board Observation Affidavit.doc (1/27/2010 12:18:34 PM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Observation Affidavit.pdf (10/21/2009 10:09:59 AM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Pre-Trail Services Financial Data.pdf (10/21/2009 10:05:03 AM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Public Defender Plan or Proposal.docx (10/31/2013 4:17:12 PM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Reduction of Attorney Fees.pdf (10/21/2009 10:19:44 AM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Statement of Responsible Party Declining to be Interviewed for Court-Appointed Counsel for their Child .pdf (10/21/2009 10:08:11 AM) view
Bexar Juvenile Board Supplemental Application.pdf (10/21/2009 10:14:38 AM) view