Hidalgo Juvenile Board Plan
Prompt Detention Hearings
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
Financial Standards for Determining Indigence. The financial standards set forth below shall be used to determine whether a defendant is indigent and shall be applied equally to each defendant in the county.
(a) A defendant is considered indigent if:
(1) the defendant’s net household income does not exceed 125% 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
(2) does not exceed double the estimated cost of obtaining competent private legal representation on the offense(s) with which the defendant is charged.
(b) A defendant is considered indigent if, at the time of requesting appointed counsel, the defendant or the defendant’s dependents have been determined to be eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or public housing.
(c) A defendant is considered indigent if the defendant:
(1) is currently serving a sentence in a correctional institution, is currently held in custody, is currently residing in a public mental health facility, or is the subject of a proceeding in which admission or commitment to such a mental health facility is sought; and
(2) has no non-exempt assets or property in excess of the amounts specified in Rule 3.02(a)(2).
(d) A defendant who does not meet any of the financial standards above shall nevertheless be determined indigent if the defendant is otherwise unable to retain private counsel without substantial hardship to the defendant or the defendant’s dependents, taking into account the nature of the criminal 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 defendant and the defendant’s dependents.
Minimum Attorney Qualifications
10/22/2013A. The Juvenile
Board shall establish attorney appointment lists for the following
categories of offenses. Attorneys may apply for and be placed on
multiple lists. To be eligible for an appointment list, an attorney must
meet the following minimum requirements:
attorneys on the appointment list must ensure all information on their
application is correct;
attorney must be a licensed practicing attorney and a member in good
standing of the State Bar of Texas;
attorney shall complete a minimum of 6 hours of CLE in the area of
juvenile law and procedure each year. All attorneys on the appointment
list must file a certificate with the courts administration office each
year attesting to completion of the required CLE or submit documentation
showing that the attorney is certified as a specialist in juvenile law.
Continuing legal education activity completed with-in a one year period
immediately preceding an attorney’s initial reporting period may be
used to meet the educational requirements for the initial year;
be knowledgeable in juvenile law and be aware of collateral
consequences of a juvenile adjudication and disposition;
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 within the last 3 years;
attorney must maintain an office capable of receiving email, fax, and
attorney must have the ability to produce typed motions and orders;
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
9. 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 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.
Charges or Delinquent Conduct, and Commitment to TYC Is Not an
the General Requirements;
have observed or participated in at least:
stipulated juvenile adjudications;
contested juvenile adjudications;
juvenile dispositions; and
detention hearings; and
in at least 1 criminal or juvenile trial.
iii. Delinquent Conduct, and Commitment to TYC Without a
Determinate Sentence Is an Authorized Disposition:
a minimum 1 year of work experience in juvenile law;
in 5 criminal or juvenile cases, of which at least 2 were tried to
a jury verdict; and
at least 3 criminal case as lead counsel.
iv. Determinate Sentence Proceedings have been Initiated; or
Proceedings for Discretionary Transfer to Criminal Court Have Been
a minimum 1 years of work experience in juvenile law;
in 3 criminal or juvenile cases, of which at least 1 were tried
to a jury verdict;
at least 1 criminal or juvenile case as lead counsel or second chair.
for Appointment Lists - An attorney must be approved by a majority of
the Juvenile Board for each appointment list for which the attorney
from Appointment List - The Juvenile Board will monitor attorney
performance on a continuing basis to assure the competency of attorneys
on the list. An attorney may be removed or suspended, as appropriate,
from one or more appointment lists by a majority vote of the judges.
to Appointment Lists
i. An attorney who
was removed from the appointment list for non-completion of the required
CLE hours may be immediately reinstated upon providing proof that the
attorney has completed the required hours so long as the attorney
otherwise meets the other qualifications under this Plan.
attorney who has been removed from the appointment list for any other
reason and who wishes to be reinstated must apply through the original
of Appointed Counsel - Appointed Counsel shall:
i. Notify the court
within 72 hours of the receipt of appointment;
ii. Make every
reasonable effort to:
the child by the end of the first day after the date on which the
attorney is appointed; and
the child as soon as practicable after the attorney is appointed;
iii. Represent the
case is terminated;
family retains an attorney;
attorney is relieved of his duties by the court or replaced by other
either by self or through an investigator, the facts of the case and be
prepared to present any factual defense that may be reasonably and
arguably available to the child;
v. Brief the law of
the case and be prepared to present any legal defense that may be
reasonably and arguably available to the child;
vi. Be prepared to
negotiate with the prosecutor for the most favorable solution of the
case as can be achieved through a plea agreement;
vii. Be prepared to
try the case to conclusion either with or without a jury;
viii. Be prepared to
file post-trial motions, give notice of appeal and appeal the case
pursuant to the standards and requirements of the Texas Rules of
reasonable communication and keep the child informed of the status of
the case; and
x. Advise the child
on all matters involving the case and such collateral matters as may
reasonably be required to aid the client is making appropriate decisions
about the case.
xi. Perform the
attorney’s duty owed to the child in accordance with these procedures,
the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Family Code,
and applicable rules of ethics.
attorney’s workload to allow for the provision of quality
representation and the execution of the responsibilities listed in these
rules in every case.
Prompt Appointment of Counsel
A. Appointment of
Counsel for Children in Detention
i. 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.
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.
there is no parent or other responsible adult present, the court must
appoint counsel or a guardian ad litem for the child.
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.
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.
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.
vii. 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.
viii. Court-appointed attorneys shall make every
effort to comply with the Texas State Bar Code of Ethics for
communication with a client.
of Counsel for Children not Detained at Intake
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.
the court makes a finding of indigence, the court shall appoint an
attorney on or before the fifth working day after:
date a petition for adjudication or discretionary transfer hearing has
been served on the child; or
motion to modify disposition seeking commitment to TYC or placing in
secure correctional facility has been filed.
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.
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
Method of Appointment. Attorneys shall be appointed to represent indigent defendants from public appointment lists using a system of rotation as described in Article 26.04(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure and as further specified in this rule.
(a) Public Defenders are to be included in the system of rotation as
described in Article 26.04(a) of the Code of Criminal
Procedure for Juvenile in court appointments and 40 percent of Juvenile prepeition
through the Hidalgo County Indigent Defense Office.
Assignment of Attorneys. The following method shall be used to assign attorneys from the appropriate public appointment list to represent individual defendants:
(a) At any given time, one district judge will serve as appointing judge for all defendants charged with felonies, and one county court at law judge will serve as appointing judge for all defendants charged with misdemeanors.
(b) Each judge will serve as appointing judge every two weeks on a rotating basis in alphabetical order of the judges’ last names using separate lists of current district and county court at law judges beginning January 2002.
(c) The current appointing judge will:
(1) receive all requests for appointment of counsel transmitted by the Indigent Defense Office;
(2) determine whether each defendant requesting appointed counsel is indigent;
(3) select and appoint the appropriate counsel to represent each indigent defendant; and
(4) cause all interested parties to be notified of the appointment.
(d) Any appointing judge may delegate any of the responsibilities described in this Rule to a magistrate or to an indigent defense administrator who has been designated by the judges and is a county employee hired to address administrative matters associated with indigent defense.
(e) The appointing judge or person delegated to make the appointment will appoint the lawyer whose name appears next in order on the public appointment list that corresponds to the most serious offense as currently charged, unless:
(1) the defendant requesting appointed counsel does not understand English, in which case the person making the appointment will appoint the lawyer who both appears next in order on the list and can communicate with the defendant in the defendant’s language;
(2) the person making the appointment exercises discretionary authority to appoint one of the attorneys whose name is among the next five names in order on the appropriate list; or
(3) in unusual circumstances, the person making the appointment enters a written finding of good cause on the record for appointing any qualified, willing attorney regardless of whether the attorney’s name is among the first five names on the appropriate list.
(f) Whenever a lawyer is appointed out of order, the lawyer who is appointed out of order will move to the last place in order on that list, and any lawyer who was not appointed will remain at the top of the list until appointed or removed from the list.
(g) Each attorney appointed under this Rule to represent the defendant in the trial court is appointed to represent the defendant through trial and post-trial proceedings in the trial court.
(h) At the conclusion of all proceedings in the trial court, including post-trial motions, if an indigent defendant wishes to file an appeal, the appointing judge or person(s) designated by the judges to appoint counsel will appoint the lawyer whose name appears next in order on the Appellate List subject to the same rotation requirements.
Fee and Expense Payment Process
Fee Schedule. 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:
(a) Appointed attorneys shall be paid $100 per hour for all documented in-court time, $70 per hour for all documented time that is actually spent on the case that reasonable professionals would agree was objectively necessary for a qualified criminal defense attorney in the community to represent the client; and
(b) For good cause or exceptional circumstances, an appointed attorney may request payment at an hourly rate above the rates specified in subsections (a) and (b) of this Rule, subject to review and approval by the judge presiding over the case.
8.02 Judicial Determination of Attorney Compensation. 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:
(a) The appointed counsel must submit to the presiding judge a form approved by the judges for itemizing the services performed.
(b) The presiding judge hearing a motion under this Rule will either approve the amount requested or enter written findings stating the amount of payment that the judge approves and each reason for approving an amount different from the requested amount.
(c) An attorney whose request for payment is disapproved may appeal the disapproval by filing a motion with the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region, as provided under Article 26.05(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
(d) The county will reimburse appointed attorneys for investigation and expert witness expenses incurred on behalf of an indigent client as provided under Articles 26.05(d) and 26.052(f) - (h) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
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.
(a) Procedure With Prior Court Approval: 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, 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.
(a;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.
(b) 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 or unnecessary expenses will not be approved.
Hidalgo Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (10/6/2010 1:43:14 PM) view
Hidalgo Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.doc (10/6/2010 4:31:18 PM) view
Hidalgo Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.pdf (10/6/2010 1:52:41 PM) view
Hidalgo Juvenile Board Public Defender Plan or Proposal.pdf (4/4/2014 10:22:15 AM) view