Hood Juvenile Board Plan







            The Juvenile Board of Hood County, Texas, hereby adopts the following plan and local rules for determination of indigency in juvenile cases; establishing procedures for timely appointment of attorneys to represent indigent juveniles; establishing qualifications for appointment; and setting out uniform schedules of fees for compensation of appointed attorneys.

Prompt Detention Hearings

I.                   Prompt Detention Hearing


In accordance with Section 51.10 (d) of the Texas Family Code, a juvenile and his/her parent/guardian shall be informed by the Juvenile Court or its designee of their responsibility to obtain counsel.  They 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.  They will be given instructions for formally requesting appointment of counsel along with the form(s) necessary to make such request at each of the following stages of the juvenile’s case.

·                     initial detention hearing

·                     after adjudication or certification/discretionary transfer petition is SERVED on juvenile when juvenile is NOT in custody, if an attorney has not already been appointed.

·                     after modification motion or petition is filed under Section 54.05, Texas Family Code seeking commitment to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) or confinement in a secure correctional facility.

·                     at any time the Juvenile Court deems appropriate.


1.                  When a Juvenile Court determines a juvenile will require an attorney, the parents will be notified and advised that their child will require an attorney and that if they are unable to employ an attorney, they will be required to apply for an appointed attorney by completing under oath a questionnaire concerning their financial resources (Exhibit "A") and by signing an application for the appointment of counsel (Exhibit “A-1”).  The Juvenile Court or the Courts designee will review the request and appoint an attorney from the list of eligible attorneys if the court or its designee determines the parent is indigent and financially unable to retain an attorney.


2.                  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. 


3.                  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.


4.                  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.


5.                  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.


If indigency is not established by the juvenile’s parents, the parents shall retain an attorney immediately.  The parents shall notify the probation officer by noon the next working day of the name of the juvenile’s attorney.

Indigence Determination Standards


I.                               Procedures and Financial Standards for Determining Indigency


            1.                  An indigent juvenile is entitled to have an attorney appointed to represent him if a Juvenile Court determines that the juvenile will require an attorney.


2.                  “Indigent” means a juvenile whose parents are not financially able to employ counsel. Parents who request a determination of indigency and appointment of counsel shall:

(a)                complete under oath a questionaire concerning their financial resources; (Exhibit “A”)

(b)               respond under oath to an examination regarding their financial resources by the judge or magistrate responsible for determining whether the juvenile is indigent; or

(c)                both.


3.                  The financial standards set forth below shall be used to determine whether a juvenile’s parents are indigent.


(a)     A  juvenile’s parents are considered indigent if:

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

the value of the non-exempt assets and property owned by the juvenile’s parents:

(i)                 does not exceed $2,500;

(ii)               does not exceed $5,000 in the case of a  juvenile’s parents whose household includes a person who is age 60 or over, disabled, or institutionalized; or

(iii)             does not exceed double the estimated cost of obtaining competent private legal representation on the offense(s) with which the juvenile is charged.

(b)    A juvenile’s parents are considered indigent if, at the time of requesting appointed counsel, the juvenile’s parents have been determined to be eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, public housing, or similar assistance.

(c)    A juvenile’s parents who do not meet any of the financial standards above shall nevertheless be determined indigent if the is juvenile’s parents are otherwise unable to retain private counsel without substantial hardship, taking into account the nature of the charge(s), the anticipated complexity of the defense, the estimated cost of obtaining competent private legal representation for the matter charged, and the amount needed for the support of the juvenile’s parents and their dependents.

Minimum Attorney Qualifications

III.       Qualifications for Appointment


A. Approval for Lists

All attorneys residing or practicing in Hood County, Texas, who are licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas and who handle juvenile cases in this county for a fee are eligible for appointment to represent indigent juveniles.  Appointees must further meet the following minimum qualification standards for appointment.


1.                  Be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas;



Minimum of six months experience as counsel/co-counsel.



Minimum one year experience as counsel/co-counsel on three

Juvenile cases. 



Minimum of two years experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on five juvenile cases. 



A minimum of three years experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on eight juvenile cases. 


6.                  CERTIFICATION CHARGES:

A minimum of four years experience or participation as counsel/co-counsel on ten juvenile cases. 


7.                  (a) Complete a minimum of six hours of continuing legal education pertaining to juvenile law during each 12-month reporting period.  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 (b) be currently certified in juvenile law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  A sworn affidavit by the attorney verifying that he/she has completed such annual educational requirement must be filed with the Court on or before December 31 of each year.


8.                  An attorney shall submit by October 15th each year to the Court 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 (Exhibit “B”).


9.         Must be knowledgeable in juvenile law and be aware of collateral consequences of a juvenile adjudication and disposition;


10.       May not have been the recipient of any public disciplinary action by the State Bar of Texas or any other attorney licensing authority of any state or the United States with the last 5 years;


11.       An attorney must maintain an office capable of receiving email, fax, and telephone calls;


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


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


14.       Meet any applicable qualifications specified by the Task Force on Indigent Defense, as required in Art. 26.04(d)(3), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.


15        Each attorney will apply to be placed on the list by completing an attorney profile to be submitted to the Juvenile Board for its consideration (Exhibit “C”).


16.       After an attorney is approved and placed on the list, the Juvenile Court will appoint an attorney from the next five names that appear on the list on a rotational basis.

B. Removal from Lists

Grounds for Removal
An attorney may be removed from the appointment list if the attorney:

  1. has twice or more failed to contact or interview clients in a timely manner as required by Article 26.04(j)(1), Code of Criminal Procedure;
  2. has submitted a claim for legal services not performed as specified in Article 26.05(e), Code of Criminal Procedure;
  3. fails to maintain compliance with each of the appointment list guidelines;
  4. has been found by a court to have provided ineffective assistance of counsel
  5. has violated a rule of professional responsibility;
  6. has been convicted of or received a deferred adjudication for any an offense, other than an offense punishable by a fine only;
  7. is under indictment or being formally charged with an offense, other than an offense punishable by a fine only; or
  8. has intentionally misrepresented statements on the application for the appointment list.

An attorney may also be removed from the appointment list for another stated good cause.

If a juvenile board member believes that an attorney has violated any of the provisions listed in the paragraph above, the juvenile board member may refer an attorney to the juvenile board for removal from the appointment list. The referral must be in writing and shall clearly state the grounds that form the basis of the referral. No disciplinary action with respect to the attorney being retained or removed from the appointment list may be made without such a referral.

Upon receiving an attorney referral, the juvenile board shall notify the attorney in writing of the referral and inform the attorney of the grounds that form the basis of the referral. The notice shall also inform the attorney of the time and place the juvenile board will meet to discuss the referral and give the attorney an opportunity to respond to the referral in writing or in person or both.

After the juvenile board meets and gives the attorney an opportunity to be heard, the juvenile board shall determine whether the attorney should:

  1. remain on the appointment list at the same level;
  2. moved to an appointment list for indigent defendants charges with less serious offenses; or
  3. be removed from appointment list altogether.

The attorney may be removed from the appointment list or moved to an appointment list for indigent defendants charged with less serious offenses by a majority vote of the juvenile board members present. In addition, the majority of the juvenile board members may also vote to require the attorney to take other rehabilitative measures. Removals from any list may be probated. For removal or probated removals, the juvenile board members ordering the removal may require the completing of rehabilitative measures as a condition of probation or reapplication. An order of removal should state in the order the earliest date at which the attorney may apply for reinstatement. An attorney who was removed from an appointment list under "e;Grounds for Removal"e; number 7 or 8 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 decision of the board of judges or juvenile board is final and may not be appealed.

Prompt Appointment of Counsel

IV.       Prompt Appointment of Counsel


A.                Appointment of Counsel for Children in Detention

i.          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.

ii.         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.

iii.        Prior to the initial detention hearing, the court shall provide the attorney for the child with access to all written matter to be considered by the court in making the detention decision.

iv.        If there is no parent or other responsible adult present, the court must appoint counsel or a guardian ad litem for the child.

v.         If the juvenile is detained, the child has an immediate right to counsel. If counsel has not already been appointed, the court must either appoint counsel or direct the juvenile’s parent or other responsible adult to retain an attorney promptly. The court may enforce an order to retain counsel by appointing an attorney to represent the child and requiring that the child’s parent or other responsible adult reimburse the court for attorneys’ fees. 

vi.                Upon appointment, the court administrator shall notify the appointed attorney by fax, e-mail, or personal contact of the appointment and the scheduled hearing time and date.

vii.              The appointed attorney shall make every reasonable effort to contact a child in detention by the end of the first working day after receiving the notice of appointment or to inform the court that the appointment cannot be accepted.  Contacting the child in detention may be by personal visit (including contact during a detention hearing), by phone, or by video teleconference. Contacting the court may be by fax, email, phone or personal visit. A court-appointed attorney shall contact the child, in one of the ways mentioned above, no less than once every ten working days while the child remains in detention.

viii.            An attorney appointed for a detention hearing shall continue to represent the child until the case is terminated, the family retains an attorney, or a new attorney is appointed by the juvenile court. Release of the child from detention does not terminate the attorney’s representation.

ix.                Court-appointed attorneys shall make every effort to comply with the Texas State Bar Code of Ethics for communication with a client.

B.                 Appointment of Counsel for Children not Detained at Intake

i.                    If the child is released from detention and if a petition to adjudicate or a motion to modify is filed, the juvenile court will use the financial forms gathered at intake to make a determination of indigence. If no financial information is available, the juvenile court shall promptly summon the child’s parent/guardian/custodian to the court so that financial information may be gathered for a determination of indigence.

ii.                  If the court makes a finding of indigence, the court shall appoint an attorney on or before the fifth working day after:

a.       The date a petition for adjudication or discretionary transfer hearing has been served on the child; or

b.      A motion to modify disposition seeking commitment to TYC or placing in secure correctional facility has been filed.

iii.                If the family does not qualify for appointed counsel or if the parent or guardian is not available, and the family fails to provide an attorney, the juvenile court may appoint an attorney in any case in which it deems representation necessary to protect the interests of the child.

                        iv.               The prosecuting attorney/court clerk shall notify the juvenile court upon the filing of and return of service of a motion to modify or the return of service of a petition for adjudication or discretionary transfer.
Attorney Selection Process

V.        Attorney Selection Process


Appointments shall be made from the public appointment list or lists adopted by the majority of the Juvenile Board of Hood County, Texas, which contain the names of qualified attorneys to represent indigent juveniles.

Appointments from the list shall be made in a fair, neutral, and nondiscriminatory manner using a system of rotation. Attorneys shall be appointed in the order in which the names appear on the list, unless the court makes a finding of good cause for appointing an attorney out of order.  “Good cause” includes, but is not limited to, experience of the attorney; complexity of the case; severity of the charges; and conflicts in representation.  An attorney who is not appointed in the order in which the attorney’s name appears on the list shall remain next in the order on the list.


Once an appointment is made, juveniles in detention and their attorneys shall be provided with unlimited access to the video conferencing unit located at the Juvenile Probation Department.  By utilizing the unit, the juvenile and his/her attorney are able to more adequately prepare for Court Proceedings.

Fee and Expense Payment Process


VI.                         Compensation of Counsel Appointed to Represent Indigent Juveniles


            Counsel appointed to represent indigent juveniles in Hood County shall be paid in accordance with the schedule of fees adopted by the Juvenile Board, to-wit:


  1. In the 355th District Court:

(see Exhibit “D” attached hereto)

   B.       In the County Court at Law:

      (see Exhibit “E” attached hereto)


            Payment process:  No payment of attorney's fees will be made other than in accordance with the rules as set forth below.  Attorneys shall also be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred with prior court approval, and the payment of all fees and expenses requires the approval of the court in writing. 


i.          An appointed attorney shall fill out and submit a fee voucher to the court for services rendered (see Exhibit "F" attached hereto).


ii.         The attorney requesting payment under this provision shall keep an accurate account of time expended, services rendered, and dates involved, and shall furnish documentation thereof to substantiate the reasonableness and necessity of the services rendered and time spent on the case.  Approval or disapproval of the reasonableness and necessity of time expended and/or services performed shall be within the exclusive discretion of the court.


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


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


2.         An attorney whose request for payment is disapproved or is not otherwise acted on by the 60th day after the date the request for payment is submitted may appeal the disapproval or failure to act by filing a motion with the presiding judge of this administrative judicial region.




VI.                Annual Review


The Juvenile Board of Hood County, Texas, shall annually review and reform the list of eligible court-appointed counsel and cause same to be posted outside the Hood County District Clerk’s Office, the Hood County Clerk’s Office and made available to the public upon request.


VIII.    Adoption of Plan and Rules:


            The foregoing plan and local rules for the timely and fair appointment of counsel for indigent juveniles in Hood County, Texas, are hereby adopted by the Juvenile Board of Hood County, Texas, in accordance with the provisions of Texas Fair Defense Act (S.B. 7) and the Texas Family Code, Section 51.101.  This plan and local rules are subject to amendment from time to time by the Juvenile Board.


SIGNED AND ORDERED this the __26__ day of October, 2021





                                                Hon. Bryan T. Bufkin.

                                                Judge, 355th Judicial District Court





                                                Hon. Ron Massingill

                                                Judge, County Court of Hood County, Texas




______ /s/______________________________

                                                Hon. Vincent J. Messina

                                                Judge, County Court at Law

                                                            of Hood County, Texas

Plan Documents
Hood Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.doc (11/30/2009 11:31:54 AM) view
Hood Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment.doc (10/30/2013 11:41:56 AM) view
Hood Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.docx (11/4/2019 4:43:46 PM) view
Hood Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.docx (10/26/2017 2:31:07 PM) view
Hood Juvenile Board Attorney Reporting Form.docx (10/30/2013 11:29:21 AM) view
Hood Juvenile Board District Court Fee Schedule.docx (10/26/2021 4:59:39 PM) view
Hood Juvenile Board Juvenile Defense Plan 2020.pdf (6/9/2020 3:05:24 PM) view