Bell Juvenile Board Plan
Preamble
10/31/2019

Document Titled

BELL COUNTY, TEXAS

INDIGENT DEFENSE JUVENILE PLAN


Document Effective Date

November 1, 2019

 

 

Authorities Required

 

 

BELL COUNTY JUVENILE  JUDGE  


 

 x

Judge Rebecca DePew, CCL#3

CHAIR, BELL COUNTY JUVENILE BOARD 

County Judge

 x

 

David Blackburn, County Judge
















Preamble


 A.    The following policy establishes practices for the appointment of attorney for the indigent juveniles pursuant to the Texas Fair Defense Act. It will cover the subsequent processes required to qualify a parent or other person responsible

for a child's support, verify documentaion, sustain appropriate listing of approved legal counsel, appoint counsel, and process financial reimbursements.  These policies are intended to provide guidance to Bell County Board of Juvenile Judgs to meet complicance with the following; 

                         1.   Texas Fair Defense Act (FDA, Act 2001, 77th Legislature); 

                         2.   Government Code; 

                         3.   Family Code; and 

                         4.   Code of Criminal Procedure.


  B.  Bell County recognizes that documented course of actions may contribute to accurate and timely processing.  These guidelines are intended to provide effective processes for the Indigent Defense Coordinator and other offices and staff             and provide a clear understanding of their respective roles in the process.  The policy also provides an audit trail and assurance of the appropriateness and accuracy of reported financial data.

 

       C.     All references to persons in this policy shall mean to include both genders, and their use shall be considered synonymous with the terms he or she and him or her.

 

       D.      All references to the terms “policy” and “plan” shall be synonymous for the purposes of this document.

 

        E.   Definitions

 

1.      Indigent Defense Coordinator or Office (IDC): Area of Pretrial Services responsible for managing the process of indigence determination, the Court-Appointed Attorney List, and compliance.

 

2.      Financial Questionnaire (FQ):  Affidavit of Indigence used to gather information to qualify applicants for court-appointed counsel.


  F. Bell County Indigent Defense Office


 1.      The Bell County Indigent Defense Office is located in the Bell County Court Complex.  Transitory offices are located in the County Jail within the Pretrial Services Department and the Magistration Courtroom

  inside the Bell County Jail.


2.      The Bell County Indigent Defense Office is under the supervision of the Pretrial Services Director. The Pretrial Services Director serves as the Administrator of the Indigent Defense Office and shall be the primary

contact  for all administrative, judicial, and formal correspondence. The Pretrial Services Director shall represent the Indigent Defense Office as required or requested.  The Pretrial Services Director is under the supervision of the Constitutional County Judge and Commissioner’s Court. The Constitutional County Judge and Commissioner’s Court shall have all direct authority over the department.

 3.      Office staff has no authority or power to make or amend organizational policies. All organizational plans and policies must adhere to the defined approval process documented in Preamble Section G below.

 4.      Mailing Address:

 

Indigent Defense

PO Box 366

Belton, Texas 76513

 

5.      Physical Address:

 Bell County Justice Center

Indigent Defense

1201 Huey Road

Belton, Texas 76513

 

6.      Telecommunication:

 Telephone:          254-933-5769

Fax:                     254-933-5776

 

G.    Approval Process for Indigent Defense Policy

 

1.      Indigent Defense Policy shall be approved by the Board of Juvenile Judges. Each official shall sign the document and submit to the Director of Pretrial Services. The Director of Pretrial Services shall be responsible for filing

the approved policy for acceptance by the Commissioner’s Court and shall be responsible for filing the appropriate documents with the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.



                                                                          


Prompt Detention Hearings
10/14/2015

Rule 1:    PROMPT  DETENTION HEARING


A.    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.  The intake officer shall process the child according the requirement of §53.01, Family Code, and shall also inform the child and the child’s parents of the right to appointed counsel if they are indigent and provide a form for the purpose of determining eligibility for appointment of counsel. If the child is not released by intake, then a Detention Hearing shall be held not later than the second working day after the child is taken into custody unless the child is detained on a Friday, Saturday or listed holiday in which case the detention hearing shall be held on the first working day after the child is taken into custody.

 

B.     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.

 

C.     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.

 

D.    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
10/14/2015

Indigence Determination Standards


Rule 2:   Financial Standards and Procedures for Determining Whether a Juvenile's Parent or Other Person Responsible for the Child's Support is indigent.


2.01 Definitions: As used in this rule:

   

 A.     "Net household income" means all income of the parent(s) or other person responsible for the child's support actually available. 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 parent or other person responsible for the child's support has no income or lesser income. 


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

           attachment under state law.     

 

C.     "Household" means all individuals who are actually dependent for financial support on the parent(s) or other person responsible for the child's support.

 

D.     "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.

 

E.      “Equity Assets” refers to the fair market value of marketable assets less indebtedness thereon.


2.02   Financial Standards for Determining Indigence:


A.     The financial standards set forth below shall be used by IDC to determine whether a parent or other person responsible for the child’s support is indigent and shall be applied equally to each parent or other person responsible for

the child’s support.  The office shall not consider the following factors when determining eligibility:

 

1.      Detention status of the child

 

2.       Financial resources available to relatives or friends

 

B.     A parent or other person responsible for the child’s support is considered indigent if:

 

1.      At the time of completion of the Financial Questionnaire the parent(s) or responsible party is eligible to receive:

a.      Food Stamps

b.      Medicaid

c.      Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

d.      Supplemental Security Income

e.      Public Housing

f.       Bell County Indigent Health Care

 

2.      The parent(s) or responsible party is/are:

a.      Currently serving a sentence in a correctional institution of 60 days or more,

b.      Residing in a public mental health facility, or

c.      The subject of a proceeding in which admission or commitment to such a mental health facility is sought, or

d.      Currently receiving services from a court-appointed attorney on another pending offense. 

 

3.      The parent(s) or responsible party’s gross household income less taxes paid by a single person claiming one exemption, does not exceed 125% of the Poverty guidelines established annually by the United States Department of

Health and Human Services.  In determining the gross household income, the income of a victim of domestic violence or the income of a parent/guardian of a victim of domestic violence shall not be considered.  Crimes of domestic violence include any assault on a child that is a member of the defendant’s household or assault on any adult who is a member of the defendant’s household.

 

4.      The defendant owns not more than $5,000 in Equity Assets. Equity Assets are defined as the fair market value of marketable assets less indebtedness thereon.

 

5.      In certain circumstances the parent(s) or other responsible party may exceed the financial criteria of the poverty level and asset test, but may still be found indigent.  In these instances the IDC must fully document the circumstances

and obtain judicial approval prior to appointment of counsel.  These may include, but are not limited to, the following circumstances:

 

a.      Persons in the household over the age of 60 or are disabled;

 

b.      Unable to obtain private counsel without substantial hardship to the family;

 

c.      Complexity and the nature of the criminal charge;

 

d.      Large medical bills or expenses.

 

e.      In the interest of justice, an attorney shall be appointed to represent the following juveniles:

                 i.     All juveniles at initial detention hearings who are not already represented by retained or appointed counsel, or

                 ii.     Juveniles identified by IDC as facing or potentially facing immigration issues as a result of a juvenile case disposition, or

                 iii.     Juveniles unable to speak or understand the English language.


2.03 Procedures to Determine Indigence:


A.     If a parent or other person responsible for the child’s support wants to request appointment of counsel, the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support will provide under oath the financial resources available on a

form approved by the Juvenile Board. The Indigent Defense Coordinator shall provide reasonable assistance in completing the form.

 

B.     The resources available to friends or relatives of the parent(s) or other person responsible for the child’s support may not be considered in determining whether the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support is

indigent. Only the parent(s) or other person responsible for the child’s support financial circumstances as measured by the financial standards stated in this rule shall be as the basis for determining indigence.

 

C.     The Indigent Defense Coordinator will determine if the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support meets the financial standards for indigence in Rule 3.02 or Rule 3.03. The determination will be recorded on the

form requesting appointment of counsel and- the form will be filed with the other orders in the case.

 

D.     A parent or other person responsible for the child’s support determined to be indigent is presumed to remain indigent for the remainder of the case unless a material change in the parent(s) or other person responsible for the

child’s support financial circumstances occurs.

 

E.      A parent or other person responsible for the child’s support status as indigent or not indigent may be reviewed in a formal hearing at any stage of a court proceeding based on evidence of a material change in the parent or other

person responsible for the child’s support’s financial circumstances. A parent or other person responsible for the child’s support status as indigent or not indigent also may be reviewed in a formal hearing at any stage of a court proceeding based on additional information regarding financial circumstances, subject to the presumption. If a parent or other person responsible for the child’s support previously determined to be indigent subsequently is determined not to be indigent, the attorney shall be compensated by the county in accordance with these Rules for time reasonably expended on the case to that date.


2.04 Payment by Parent or Other Person Responsible for the Child’s Support:


A.     A court that finds that a parent or other person responsible for the child’s support has financial resources to offset, in part or in whole, the costs of legal services provided under these rules may order the parent or other person

responsible for the child’s support to pay the county that portion of the costs of legal services provided that it finds on the record that the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support is able to pay.


 

 

Minimum Attorney Qualifications
10/25/2017

Minimum Attorney Qualifications


Rule 3: Attorney Qualifications


3.01 Attorney Qualifications:


Attorneys may apply at any time to be included on the appointment lists. The court has the option to freeze the list once the yearly calendar is satisfied. To be eligible for placement on each list, attorneys must have met the following minimum general and specific qualifications to represent a juvenile respondent in the stated level of case.


A.     General Qualifications:

 

1.      Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas;

 

2.      In good standing with the State Bar;

 

3.      Exhibit proficiency and commitment to providing quality representation in juvenile proceedings;

 

4.      Exhibit professionalism and reliability when providing representation to juvenile respondents; 

 

5.      Meet any qualifications specified by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission;

 

6.      Have a staffed office in Bell County for three years or grandfathered in under the Juvenile 2015 Bell County Plan. An Attorney shall have an office in Bell County where the juvenile respondent can meet with counsel;

 

7.      Have an E-mail and fax machine working 24 hours a day;

 

8.      Complete six hours of Continuing Legal Education in Juvenile Law every year apart from CLE requirements for adult criminal cases during each 12-month period immediately preceding their birthrate. 

         Any attorney placed on an appointment list to represent indigent juveniles shall file a certificate with the Indigent Defense Coordinator’s office no later than their birth date each year evidencing completion of required Continuing Legal Education (CLE) or submit documentation showing that the attorney is certified as a specialist in juvenile law for that calendar year. 

 

CLE activity completed with-in a one year 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 hours for such period may be applied to the following period’s requirement. The carryover provision applies to one year only.  Attorneys who are not required to report CLE hours to the State Bar of Texas may comply with this requirement by furnishing a letter indicating the number of hours completed in the area of juvenile law, the date(s) of the course(s) taken and the location and name of the course(s) to the IDC office prior to their birthrate.  The Indigent Defense Coordinator’s office shall send an e-mail reminder regarding CLE requirements to attorneys at least 30 days before their birthdate. 

 

Any attorney failing to timely submit documentation evidencing completion of the required CLE or certification as a specialist in juvenile law shall be removed from the court appointed lists on the day after the documentation is due and placed on judicial hold.  The Board of Juvenile Judges or the judge hearing juvenile cases may return the attorney to the court appointed lists once documentation has been provided.

 

9.      Attorneys must submit by October 15 each year the percentage of the attorney's practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in this county for adult criminal and juvenile delinquency cases for the prior

        12 months that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. [Art. 26.04(j)(4), CCP]. Attorneys must make this submission through the online reporting portal of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. Failing to timely comply

with the annual reporting requirements of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 79.036 and Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 26.04 shall result in removal of attorney from the

Juvenile Court Appointed List.

 

B.     Specific Qualifications:

 

1.      All attorneys on the juvenile wheels shall attend and participate in detention hearings at the Bell County Juvenile Detention Center in Killeen, TX.  Those attorneys who do not wish to provide representation during detention hearings will be removed from the wheel.

 

2.      All attorneys shall meet the following requirements for client contact:

a.      All attorneys shall contact appointed clients and their parent or other responsible party within 24 hours of appointment for those who are not detained, or prior to the first detention hearing for those who are detained. 

This contact may be in the form of a letter of representation.

b.      All attorneys shall conduct in-person contact with their clients within ten working days of appointment or prior to the first pretrial hearing, whichever comes first.  This applies both to clients who are detained and released.

c.      The Indigent Defense Coordinator will monitor attorney contact with clients.

d.      The penalties for failure to meet this requirement are outline in Rule 3.03.C of this document.

 

3.      All attorneys on the juvenile wheels shall be responsible for providing representation for initial detention hearings on a rotating basis.

a.      Initial detention hearing assignments will be for one calendar week.

b.      The attorney for the week will represent all juveniles at their initial detention hearings that occur during that week.

c.      If the attorney is qualified to represent the juvenile based on the offense level, the attorney shall continue to represent that juvenile through case disposition.

d.      If the attorney is not qualified to represent the juvenile based on the offense level, the next qualified attorney on the wheel will be appointed to represent that juvenile before the next detention hearing.

e.      Attorneys who are not qualified to represent the juvenile after the initial detention hearing shall submit a voucher for the initial detention hearing at the conclusion of the proceedings.

f.       The schedule for weekly initial detention hearings will be made available to the attorneys well in advance.  Attorneys who cannot attend detention hearings during their assigned week are responsible for arranging

          substitute counsel.

 

4.      The requirements for the attorney wheels shall be as follows:

a.      Wheel A:                                                                  

i.          Includes offenses that meet the following:

a.      Conduct indicating need for supervision;

b.      Delinquent conduct in which commitment to TJJD is not possible; and

c.      Indeterminate commitment to TJJD is possible.


  ii.          Attorneys on Wheel A shall meet the following qualifications:

a.      Have a minimum of one year’s experience handling juvenile cases; AND

b.      Have actively participated in either:

 i.     Five or more contested trials;

 ii.     Ten or more juvenile adjudications or modifications;

 iii.     Ten or more criminal pleas; or

 iv.     Any combination of the above that totals ten proceedings; AND

c.      Observed five or more juvenile adjudications and dispositions.  

 iii.          All attorneys qualified on the juvenile wheels will be placed on Wheel A

 iv.          Wheel A shall be used to schedule all juvenile attorneys’ assignment for weekly detention hearings.

 

b.      Wheel B:

 i.          Includes offenses that meet the following:

a.      Notification from the Prosecuting Attorney that they are seeking to initiate a Determinate Sentence petition OR Determinate Sentence to TJJD proceedings have been initiated by Grand Jury Approval of a

         Petition alleging a covered offense(whichever comes first); and

b.      Notification from the Prosecuting Attorney that they are seeking to initiate a Discretionary Transfer for criminal court proceedings OR Discretionary Transfer for criminal court proceedings have been initiated by

the filing of a Certification Petition or Motion (whichever comes first).

ii.          Attorneys on Wheel B shall meet the following qualifications:

a.      Have a minimum of five years’ experience representing juvenile cases; AND

b.      Have been lead counsel in fifteen or more juvenile cases; AND

c.      Actively participated in five or more contested trials.

iii.          Only attorneys who meet the requirements for Wheel B shall be placed on Wheel B.

 

c.      Wheel for Juvenile Appeals:

i.          Attorneys on the Wheel for Juvenile Appeals shall meet at least one of the following criteria:

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

b.      Have personally authored and filed at least three (3) criminal appellate briefs or post-conviction writs of habeas corpus;

c.      Have submitted an appellate writing sample approved by a majority of the Bell County Juvenile Board; or

d.      Have worked as a briefing clerk of an appellate court for a period of one year or more.

ii.          Depending on the complexity of the case and due to the specialized nature of juvenile appeals, the judge may appoint an attorney from outside of the county who meets the qualifications of the Wheel for Juvenile Appeals.

 

C.     Mentoring Program for Juvenile Attorneys

 

1.      Each year beginning on March 1, two mentoring positions will be available on each attorney wheel (four positions total) to attorneys who do not meet the qualifications of either Wheel A or Wheel B but would like to

handle juvenile matters for those wheels.

 

2.      The Program shall include participation in CLE activities offered to the attorneys on the juvenile wheels, assignment and use of a mentor attorney approved by the judges hearing juvenile cases, and assignment of cases as 2nd

chair for cases above their current skill level.  An attorney must participate in the program for a minimum of 12 months.  Eligibility for placement on the attorney list at a level above current placement shall be determined by the judge hearing juvenile cases after completion of the 12 month program.  

 

3.      Completion of the program will not guarantee placement at the next level, as that determination will be made at the sole discretion of the judges hearing juvenile cases after a conference with the judge, the mentoring attorney,

and the mentee attorney.


3.02 Approval of the Bell County Juvenile Board:


A.     In addition to meeting the objective qualifications described in Rule 3.01, an attorney may only be placed on the appointment lists if a majority of the members of Bell County Juvenile Board approves the attorney’s

placement on each such list.


3.03 Judicial Hold from the Wheels

A.     As described in 3.01.A.8 of this document, any attorney who fails to comply with the CLE requirements for juvenile cases will be placed on immediate judicial hold from receiving any appointments until the requirement

has been met.

 

B.     An attorney who fails to attend a hearing for an appointed juvenile client without notification to the court will become eligible for judicial hold from the juvenile wheels.  The first infraction will require the attorney to

participate in a conference with the judge who hears juvenile cases.  The attorney will be notified in writing of the date and time of the conference.  The second infraction will result in an immediate 3-month hold from the juvenile wheels.  The judge who hears juvenile cases will inform IDC not to appoint this attorney to any juvenile cases until the 3-month period has expired, and to provide written notification of the hold to the attorney.

 

C.     As described in 3.01.B.2 of this document, attorneys who accept juvenile case appointments must meet specific guidelines for client communication.  If IDC records indicate that an attorney has failed to meet those

requirements, an escalating series of steps shall be taken.

 

1.      After the first infraction, IDC will email the attorney, document the infraction, and remind the attorney of their client communication commitments. 

 

2.      After the second infraction, IDC will email the attorney, document the infraction, and remind the attorney of their client communication commitments.  The judge who hears juvenile cases will be copied on this email.

 

3.      After the third infraction, IDC will email the attorney to document the infraction and state that they have been placed on judicial hold from receiving any additional juvenile appointments.  The email will inform the

attorney that the hold may be lifted by participating in a conference with the judge who hears criminal cases.  The judge retains discretion to lift the hold, keep the hold in place, or to recommend the attorney be removed from the wheel following the conference with the attorney.


3.04 Removal from the Wheels


A.     An attorney may be removed from the appointment list by a majority of the members of Bell County Juvenile Board whenever it is determined that good cause exists to remove an attorney from said list(s) or that the attorney no

longer meets the objective qualifications for that list.  Good cause may include but is not limited to:

 

1.      Failing on two or more occasions to contact or interview clients in a timely manner as required by CCP § 26.04(j)(1) and 3.01.B.2 herein;

 

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

 

3.      Failing to comply with each of the appointment list qualifications herein;

 

4.      Having been found, by a Texas Appellate Court, to have provided ineffective assistance of counsel;

 

5.      Having been found to have violated a rule of professional conduct by the State Bar of Texas;

 

6.      After having been placed on appointment list(s), has  been convicted of or received a deferred adjudication for any offense, other than an offense punishable by a fine only;

 

7.      Being under indictment or charged with an offense, other than an offense punishable by a fine only;

 

8.      Misrepresenting or providing false or inaccurate information on the attorney’s application for the appointment list; or

 

9.      Failing to timely comply with the annual reporting requirements of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 79.036 and Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 26.04.

 

B.     Upon receiving a recommendation that an attorney be removed from the appointment list(s), the judges hearing juvenile cases shall notify the attorney in writing of the recommendation and shall inform the attorney of the

basis for the recommendation.  The attorney may respond in writing to the judges or be present at a conference of the Board of Juvenile Judges, at the discretion of the judges.

 

1.        After the judge’s meeting, a majority of the judges attending the meeting shall determine whether the attorney should:

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

b.      Be moved to an appointment list for indigent juveniles charged with less serious offenses;

c.      Be removed from the appointment list(s); or

d.      Be given an opportunity to take correction active as determined by the judges.

 

2.      At the sole discretion of the judges, removal of any attorney from any list(s) may be probated. For removal or probated removals, the Judges ordering the removal may require the completion of rehabilitative measures

as a condition of probation or reapplication. An order of removal shall state the earliest date at which the attorney may apply for reinstatement. An attorney who was removed from an appointment list under section 3.04.A.6-7 shall be immediately reinstated upon providing proof that the charges were dismissed or that the attorney was acquitted, unless other grounds for removal exist against the attorney that would prohibit reinstatement.

 

The decisions of the judges are final and may not be appealed.

Prompt Appointment of Counsel
10/30/2015

Rule 3. Procedures for Timley  Appointment of  Counsel


3.01 Appointment of Counsel for Children in Custody:

  (A)   Every child who is detained after the initial intake investigation will be provided court appointed counsel

          no later than the second working day after the child is taken into custody; provided, however, that

          when a child is detained on Friday or Saturday they will be provided court-appointed counsel on the

          first working day after the child is taken into custody, if: the child is not represented by an attorney and

          it is determined that the child’s parent or other person responsible for the child’s support are  financially

          unable to employ an attorney to represent the child or the parent or other person responsible for the

          child’s support has failed to timely apply for court-appointed counsel. 

           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. [Sec. 54.01(b-1), FC]

  (B)   Upon notification that their child has been detained, the parent or other person responsible for the

          child’s support will be also notified of the child’s right to counsel, and to be represented

          by court-appointed counsel if the parent or other person responsible for the child’s

          support will be financially unable to employ an attorney to represent the child. The parent or

         other person responsible for the child’s support will be provided with the name, title, address

         and telephone number of the Indigent Defense Coordinator and advised to make

         application for court-appointed counsel for the child no later than the next working day.

(C)    Once the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support completes the

         required application for court-appointed counsel, the Indigent Defense Coordinator will immediately

         make a determination of indigency and so advise the applicant. If indigency is established

        an attorney will be appointed. However, if indigency is not established, the parent or other

        person responsible for the child’s support will be advised to immediately retain an attorney. 

        In addition, if it was necessary to appoint an attorney for the child at the initial detention

        hearing because of a delay in making application for court-appointed counsel and indigency was not

        established, the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support will be advised 

        that they will be responsible for that cost.

(D)    If a child is released prior to the initial detention hearing, the juvenile probation officer shall inform

        the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support of the child’s right to counsel, and

        to be represented by court-appointed counsel if the parent or other person responsible for

        the child’s support will be financially unable to employ an attorney to represent the child.

         The juvenile probation officer will also provide the name, title, address and telephone number

          of the Indigent Defense Coordinator. 

 

3.02 Appointment of Counsel for Children Out of Custody:

  (A)   When a petition for adjudication or certification/discretionary transfer has been served

         on a child, the juvenile probation officer shall advise the parent or other person responsible for the

         child’s support of the child’s right to counsel, and to be represented by court-appointed

         counsel if the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support will be financially

         unable to employ an attorney to represent the child. The parent or other person responsible

         for the child’s support will be provided with the name, title, address and telephone number

         of the Indigent Defense Coordinator and advised to make application for court-appointed 

         counsel for the child no later than the next working day.

  (B)   If the child is already on judicial probation and a motion to modify is filed that seeks

         either revocation with commitment to TYC or modification to require confinement in

         a secure local facility, the juvenile probation officer shall advise the parent or other person responsible

         for the child’s support of the child’s right to counsel and to be represented by court-appointed

         counsel if the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support will be financially unable

         to employ an attorney to represent the child. The parent or other person responsible for the

         chld’s support will be provided with the name, title, address and telephone number of the

          Indigent Defense Coordinator and advised to make application for court-appointed

          counsel for the child no later than the next working day. 

  (C)   Once the parent or other person responsible for the child's support completes the required

         application for court-appointed counsel under A or B above, the Indigent Defense Coordinator

         will make a determination of indigency and so advise the applicant. If indigency 

         is established an attorney will be appointed on or before the fifth working day after the petition for

        adjudication or certification /discretionary transfer was served on the child or after a motion to

        modify has been filed. If indigency is not established, the parent or other person responsible 

        for the child's support will be advised to immediately retain an attorney for the child.  

  (B)   Upon notification that their child has been detained, the parent or other person responsible for the

          child’s support will be also notified of the child’s right to counsel, and to be represented

          by court-appointed counsel if the parent or other person responsible for the child’s

          support will be financially unable to employ an attorney to represent the child. The parent or

         other person responsible for the child’s support will be provided with the name, title, address

         and telephone number of the Indigent Defense Coordinator and advised to make

         application for court-appointed counsel for the child no later than the next working day.

(C)    Once the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support completes the

         required application for court-appointed counsel, the Indigent Defense Coordinator will immediately

         make a determination of indigency and so advise the applicant. If indigency is established

        an attorney will be appointed. However, if indigency is not established, the parent or other

        person responsible for the child’s support will be advised to immediately retain an attorney. 

        In addition, if it was necessary to appoint an attorney for the child at the initial detention

        hearing because of a delay in making application for court-appointed counsel and indigency was not

        established, the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support will be advised 

        that they will be responsible for that cost.

(D)    If a child is released prior to the initial detention hearing, the juvenile probation officer shall inform

        the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support of the child’s right to counsel, and

        to be represented by court-appointed counsel if the parent or other person responsible for

        the child’s support will be financially unable to employ an attorney to represent the child.

         The juvenile probation officer will also provide the name, title, address and telephone number

          of the Indigent Defense Coordinator. 

 

3.02 Appointment of Counsel for Children Out of Custody:

  (A)   When a petition for adjudication or certification/discretionary transfer has been served

         on a child, the juvenile probation officer shall advise the parent or other person responsible for the

         child’s support of the child’s right to counsel, and to be represented by court-appointed

         counsel if the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support will be financially

         unable to employ an attorney to represent the child. The parent or other person responsible

         for the child’s support will be provided with the name, title, address and telephone number

         of the Indigent Defense Coordinator and advised to make application for court-appointed 

         counsel for the child no later than the next working day.

  (B)   If the child is already on judicial probation and a motion to modify is filed that seeks

         either revocation with commitment to TYC or modification to require confinement in

         a secure local facility, the juvenile probation officer shall advise the parent or other person responsible

         for the child’s support of the child’s right to counsel and to be represented by court-appointed

         counsel if the parent or other person responsible for the child’s support will be financially unable

         to employ an attorney to represent the child. The parent or other person responsible for the

         chld’s support will be provided with the name, title, address and telephone number of the

          Indigent Defense Coordinator and advised to make application for court-appointed

          counsel for the child no later than the next working day. 

  (C)   Once the parent or other person responsible for the child's support completes the required

         application for court-appointed counsel under A or B above, the Indigent Defense Coordinator

         will make a determination of indigency and so advise the applicant. If indigency 

         is established an attorney will be appointed on or before the fifth working day after the petition for

        adjudication or certification /discretionary transfer was served on the child or after a motion to

        modify has been filed. If indigency is not established, the parent or other person responsible 

        for the child's support will be advised to immediately retain an attorney for the child.

 

 

Attorney Selection Process
10/25/2017

Attorney Selection Process


Rule 5. Selection and Appointment of Counsel


5.01 Public Appointment Lists:


A.     The Bell County Juvenile Board shall make the list of eligible court-appointed counsel available to the public upon request. 


5.02 Method of Appointment:


A.     The Indigent Defense Coordinator will maintain lists of all attorneys approved for court appointments. The appointment for juvenile proceedings will be made from those lists on a rotating basis. If a juvenile respondent has two or more cases, the same attorney will be appointed to represent the juvenile respondent on all cases. The selection of the attorney will be based on the highest grade of case.  IDC shall make attorney appointments based upon the electronic Attorney Assignment system adopted by the county. IDC shall not vary the computer rotation absent good cause as shown in a written order from the Court. The IDC staff does not have the authority to appoint any attorney other than the next attorney as designated by the electronic Attorney Assignment system. However, IDC shall have authority to appoint qualified counsel other than by computer rotation in the event that the defendant is currently represented by said counsel on another criminal case currently pending in Bell County. Any appointments other than by the adopted electronic Attorney Assignment system shall be properly documented and approved by the Judge, except that the Director of Pre-Trial Services may approve the appointment of counsel when the defendant has been previously appointed counsel on a currently pending offense.

 

B.     The Juvenile Court Judge, on the court’s own motion, can appoint a second attorney as lead counsel from the approved list of attorneys on any case in which the offense is upgraded, a petition for determinate sentence has been filed,

or the juvenile respondent is being certified to stand trial as an adult and the current appointed attorney is not qualified to represent the child in those matters.

 

C.     If a child of an indigent parent or other person responsible for the child’s support does not have an attorney for an appeal or writ, the Judge of the court in which the case is pending will contact the Indigent Defense Coordinator

and have a qualified attorney appointed to assist the child, as described in Rule 3.1.B above.


Fee and Expense Payment Process
10/14/2015

Fee and Expense Payment Process


Rule 6.   Attorney Fee Schedule and Compensation of Appointed Attorneys


6.01 Request for Payment:


Once the case has been disposed of, the appointed counsel must submit to the Judge of the Juvenile Court a form approved by the Bell County Juvenile Board for itemizing the services performed. The Judge of the Juvenile Court will review and approve the request for payment, including the amount of payment approved or the reason for approving an amount different than the requested amount. No payment shall be made without the judge’s approval.


6.02 Fee Schedules:


A.     Initial Detention Hearings: Flat fee of $70.00 per hearing.

 

B.     All other case activities, including subsequent detention hearings, will be paid at the rate of $70 per hour for both in-court and out-of-court activities.

 

C.     All case activities for second-chair attorneys appointed through the mentoring program will be paid at the rate of $50 per hour for both in-court and out-of-court activities.


6.03 Fee Requested Disapproved:


A.     For all modifications to submitted vouchers, the Judge must make written findings stating amount approved and each reason for difference from the amount requested.  An attorney whose request for payment is disapproved

may appeal 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.


6.04 Investigators and/or Experts


A.     The County will reimburse appointed attorneys for reasonable and necessary expenses, including investigation and expert witness expenses incurred on behalf of an indigent client, as provided under Article 26.05(d)

and 26.052 of the Code of Criminal Procedures.

Plan Documents
Bell Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (10/30/2015 11:01:08 AM) view
Bell Juvenile Board Amended Bell County Juvenile Plan 2015.docx (8/19/2015 9:41:13 AM) view
Bell Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment.docx (10/30/2015 11:01:28 AM) view
Bell Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.pdf (10/30/2015 11:07:08 AM) view
Bell Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.pdf (11/8/2016 2:26:24 PM) view
Bell Juvenile Board Renewal Application for Court Appontments.docx (10/30/2015 11:00:24 AM) view