Rockwall Juvenile Board Plan
Prompt Detention Hearings
7/12/2016

Detention hearings are conducted promptly in accordance with Section 54.01 of the Texas Family Code. Specifically, a detention hearing is held not later than the second working day after the child is taken into custody; provided however that when a child is detained on a Friday or Saturday, then such detention hearing is held on the first working day after the child is taken into custody. Prior to the hearing if the child is not represented by counsel, an attorney is appointed. Further, prior to the detention hearing, the court shall inform the parents of the child's right to appointed counsel if the parents are indigent.

Indigence Determination Standards
7/12/2016
  1. A form shall be provided to the parents/guardians at the Rockwall County Juvenile Services Office for the purpose of requesting appointment of counsel and determining eligibility for appointment of counsel. The parents/guardians shall be informed that a determination of indigence is based on the income and assets of the parent or other person responsible for the juvenile. Indigence is established if household income of the child’s parent(s) or other person(s) determined responsible for the support of the child does not exceed 100% of the Poverty Guidelines as revised annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and published in the Federal Register.  No appointment of counsel shall be made without the cooperation of the parent or guardian in completing the form, unless there is an immediate need to appoint counsel for a detention hearing. In such case the parents may be ordered to pay counsel fees unless they are determined to be indigent. The form shall be completed and sworn to under oath by the parent/guardian completing the form. The completed form shall be delivered to the Juvenile Court within three (3) working days of the date the child is originally brought into detention. It if is determined that parents can afford counsel, the juvenile court will either order the parents to retain counsel or will appoint counsel and order the parents to pay counsel fees.
  2. The Juvenile Court shall select an attorney from the appointment list to represent the child if the family qualifies for indigent representation. The appointment will be made on a rotating basis from the list of qualified attorneys, as set forth in Article 26.04(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The Juvenile Judge shall approve the appointment. The appointment shall be made and appointed attorney notified within one (1) working day of the date of appointment. If the juvenile is not released from the detention facility, the attorney appointed shall make every reasonable effort to contact the juvenile within one (1) working day of notice of appointment and make every reasonable effort to interview the juvenile as soon as practicable after receiving notice of the appointment. The court may replace an attorney who does not comply with the requirement of diligent contact with the juvenile. An attorney who establishes a pattern of failure to diligently contact the child after appointment may be removed from the appointment list upon the vote of the majority of the Juvenile board.
  3. In the event that the Juvenile Court Judge is not in the county or is otherwise unavailable, a District Judge or County Court Judge shall have the authority to act as the alternate Juvenile Judge to carry out the mandates of this plan.
    Minimum Attorney Qualifications
    10/20/2017

    Qualifications for Appointment

    1. All attorneys licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Texas are eligible to apply for appointment. Applicants must meet the minimum qualification standards to be considered for appointment to juvenile cases.
    2. This plan recognizes the five different levels of seriousness of juvenile charges: CINS, delinquency cases with no TYC commitment possible, delinquency cases with TYC commitment possible, determinate sentence cases, and certification cases. The Board approves the following minimum qualifications:
    1. CINS CHARGES: a minimum of one (1) year experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on three (3) juvenile cases. A minimum of five (5) hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each year.
    2. DELINQUENCY CHARGES WITH NO TYC COMMITMENT POSSIBLE: a minimum of one (1) year experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on three (3) juvenile cases. A minimum of eight (8) hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each year.
    3. DELINQUENCY CHARGES WITH TYC COMMITMENT POSSIBLE: a minimum of two (2) years’ experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on five (5) juvenile cases. A minimum of eight (8) hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each year.
    4. DETERMINATE SENTENCING CHARGES: a minimum of three (3) years’ experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on eight (8) juvenile cases. A minimum of eight (8) hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each year.
    5. CERTIFICATION CHARGES: a minimum of three (3) years’ experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on 10 juvenile cases. A minimum of eight (8) hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each year.

     

    Additional Considerations regarding Qualifications

    1. All counsel applying for appointments to juvenile cases must receive the approval of the Rockwall County Juvenile Board by a majority vote of the members of the Board.
    2. To receive appointment for appeals of juvenile cases, counsel must meet the minimum requirements of an attorney qualified to receive appointments in “Delinquency Charges with TYC Possible” or participation as counsel/co-counsel in the appeal of two (2) juvenile cases.
    3. Appointed attorneys who become ineligible for appointment will be removed from the appointment list by the Juvenile Court Judge and may only be reinstated by a majority vote of the members of the Juvenile Board. Notice will be provided to the attorney removed from the list within three (3) working days of the date of removal.
    4. Attorneys who fail to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner may be subject to removal from the juvenile appointment list. The Juvenile Court Judge of Rockwall County, Texas may request removal of an attorney from the list and shall arrange a closed and confidential hearing before the Juvenile Board. The attorney sought to be removed shall have the right to notice of the hearing and opportunity to be heard and present evidence and testimony. It is the responsibility of the Juvenile Board to insure competent representation of indigent juveniles. The Board may by majority vote determine whether or not to remove an attorney from the appointment list following the request and hearing procedure stated above. The attorney removed shall have the right to seek reinstatement at a closed and confidential hearing before the Juvenile Board.
    5. An attorney shall submit by October 15th each year a statement that describes the percentage of the attorney's practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in this county for adult criminal cases and juvenile delinquency cases for the prior 12 months that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The report must be submitted through the online form to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.

     

    Minimum Continuing Legal Education Requirements

    Appointment in Juvenile Cases

    An attorney who meets the requirements of this rule may be appointed to represent an indigent juvenile detained for or accused of engaging in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision, if the attorney is otherwise eligible to be appointed under the Appointment of Counsel Plan.
    An attorney may be appointed under this rule only if the attorney:

    1. Completes a minimum of six hours of continuing legal education pertaining to juvenile law during each 12 month reporting period. The first reporting period will begin on April 27, 2003, and then on the first day of each reporting period thereafter. Continuing legal education may include activities accredited under Section 4, Article XII, State Bar Rules, self-study, teaching at an accredited continuing legal education activity, attendance at a law school class or legal research-based writing; or
    2. Is currently certified in juvenile law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


    Reporting Period

    1. Continuing legal education activity completed within a one-year period immediately preceding an attorney's initial reporting period may be used to meet the educational requirements for the initial year.
    2. Continuing legal education activity completed during any reporting period in excess of the minimum six hour requirement for such period may be applied to the following period's requirement. The carryover provision applies to one year only.
    3. To be included on the appointment list, each attorney must annually submit an affidavit to the county detailing the juvenile continuing legal education activities completed in the prior year. Alternatively, an attorney may annually submit documentation showing the attorney is currently certified as a specialist in juvenile law


    Emergency Appointment

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

    Prompt Appointment of Counsel
    7/12/2016

    Appointment plan and procedure

    1. A form shall be provided to the parents/guardians at the Rockwall County Juvenile Services Office for the purpose of requesting appointment of counsel and determining eligibility for appointment of counsel. The parents/guardians shall be informed that a determination of indigence is based on the income and assets of the parent or other person responsible for the juvenile. No appointment of counsel shall be made without the cooperation of the parent or guardian in completing the form, unless there is an immediate need to appoint counsel for a detention hearing. In such case the parents may be ordered to pay counsel fees unless they are determined to be indigent. The form shall be completed and sworn to under oath by the parent/guardian completing the form. The completed form shall be delivered to the Juvenile Court within three (3) working days of the date the child is originally brought into detention. If it is determined that parents can afford counsel, the Juvenile Court will either order the parents to retain counsel or will appoint counsel and order the parents to pay counsel fees. 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 counsel at the detention hearing and determination was made to detain to detain the child, the child shall immediately be entitled to representation by counsel. If not detained, an attorney must be appointed on or before the 5th day after the date the petition for adjudication, or motion to modify, or discretionary transfer was served.
    2. The Juvenile Court shall select an attorney from the appointment list to represent the child if the family qualifies for indigent representation. The appointment will be made on a rotating basis from the list of qualified attorneys, as set forth in Article 26.04(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The Juvenile Court Judge shall approve the appointment. The appointment shall be made and appointed attorney notified within one (1) working day of the date of appointment. If the juvenile is not released from the detention facility, the attorney appointed shall make every reasonable effort to contact the juvenile within one (1) working day of notice of appointment and make every reasonable effort to interview the juvenile as soon as practicable after receiving notice of the appointment. The court may replace an attorney who does not comply with the requirement of diligent contact with the juvenile. An attorney who establishes a pattern of failure to diligently contact the child after appointment may be removed from the appointment list upon the vote of the majority of the Juvenile board.
    3. In the event that the Juvenile Court Judge is not in the county or is otherwise unavailable, a District Judge or County Court Judge shall have the authority to act as the alternate Juvenile Judge to carry out the mandates of this plan.
      Attorney Selection Process
      7/12/2016
      1. The Juvenile Court shall select an attorney from the appointment list to represent the child if the family qualifies for indigent representation. The appointment will be made on a rotating basis from the list of qualified attorneys, as set forth in Article 26.04(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The Juvenile Judge shall approve the appointment. The appointment shall be made and appointed attorney notified within one (1) working day of the date of appointment. If the juvenile is not released from the detention facility, the attorney appointed shall make every reasonable effort to contact the juvenile within one (1) working day of notice of appointment and make every reasonable effort to interview the juvenile as soon as practicable after receiving notice of the appointment. The court may replace an attorney who does not comply with the requirement of diligent contact with the juvenile. An attorney who establishes a pattern of failure to diligently contact the child after appointment may be removed from the appointment list upon the vote of the majority of the Juvenile board.
      2. In the event that the Juvenile Court Judge is not in the county or is otherwise unavailable, a District Judge or County Court Judge shall have the authority to act as the alternate Juvenile Judge to carry out the mandates of this plan.

        Fee and Expense Payment Process
        7/12/2016

        Compensation of Court Appointed Counsel

        1. The County will pay appointed counsel for all time reasonably necessary for adequate representation of the defendant, as approved by a judge, according to the following fee schedule adopted as provided under Article 26.05 (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure:

        Appointed attorneys shall be paid $75.00 per hour for all documented out-of-court and $100.00 for all documented in-court time that is actually spent on the case that reasonable professionals would agree was objectively necessary for a qualified attorney in the community to represent the client. In any event, total compensation for Court Appointed Counsel for the following services shall not exceed the following, unless the court finds exceptional circumstances or that good cause exists for exceeding the total limits:

        1. Detention Hearings without further proceedings $200.00
        2. Routine Adjudications and Disposition
        1. The judge presiding over the case for which the appointed attorney seeks compensation will use the following procedures to review and approve the appropriate compensation:
        1. The appointed counsel must submit to the presiding judge a form approved by the court for itemizing the services performed. The trial judge presiding over the proceedings shall review the request for compensation and either approve or disapprove of the amount requested.
        2. If a judge disapproves a request for compensation, the judge shall make written findings, stating the amount of payment that the judge approves and each reason for approving an amount different from the requested amount.
        3. An attorney whose request for payment is disapproved or is not otherwise acted on by the 60th day after the date the request for payment is submitted may appeal the disapproval or failure to act by filing a motion with the presiding judge of this administrative judicial region.

        C.    Payment of Expenses:

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

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

         

        1. Procedure without Prior Court Approval:
        1. Appointed counsel may incur investigative or expert expenses without prior approval of the court. On presentation of a claim for reimbursement, the court shall order reimbursement of counsel for the expenses, if the expenses are reasonably necessary and reasonably incurred. Unreasonable or unnecessary expenses will not be approved. 
        Plan Documents
        Rockwall Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.doc (11/24/2009 4:16:39 PM) view
        Rockwall Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment.doc (11/24/2009 4:10:40 PM) view
        Rockwall Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.docx (11/24/2009 4:16:03 PM) view
        Rockwall Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.doc (11/24/2009 4:10:59 PM) view