Tarrant Juvenile Board Plan
Preamble
10/31/2022

  
Prompt Detention Hearings
10/31/2022
  1. Prior to the initial detention hearing the court shall inform the child and the parents of the child’s right to counsel and to appointed counsel if they are indigent, and of the child’s right to remain silent as to the alleged conduct. Unless the court finds that the appointment of counsel is not feasible due to exigent circumstances, the court shall appoint counsel within a reasonable time before the first detention hearing is held to represent the child at that hearing.

 

  1. The detention hearing may be conducted without the presence of the child’s parent(s) or other responsible adult(s) however; when a parent or responsible adult is not present the court must immediately appoint counsel and/or guardian ad litem to represent the child.

 

  1. 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
10/28/2022

A juvenile is considered indigent if he/she is financially unable to hire counsel. There shall be a presumption of indigency if the income of the juvenile respondent and parent(s), guardian(s), or managing conservator(s) is below the Living Wage Calculator (https://livingwage.mit.edu/states/48).

The judge or referee shall find respondent indigent and appoint counsel to represent him if the judge finds the parent(s) of the respondent financial liabilities are more than his/her assets, or the parent(s) of the respondent is/are financially unable to pay for an attorney qualified to represent the respondent for the offense which is charged.

In determining whether a juvenile is indigent, the judge or referee may consider the juvenile parents’ income, source of income, assets, property owned, outstanding obligations, necessary expenses, the number and ages of dependents, and spousal income that is available to the juvenile’s parents. The Court in determining whether to appoint counsel shall look at the totality of the circumstances including the willingness, or lack thereof, of one or both of the parents to provide for the child.

Definitions – Terms used to determine eligibility for indigent defense services shall have the following meanings:

“Income” shall include the total cash receipts, before taxes, from all resources, including money wages and the net receipts from non-farm or farm self-employment. Further, “income” shall include regular payments from a governmental income maintenance program, public or private pensions, annuities, and income from dividends, interest, rents, royalties or periodic receipts from estates or trusts, regular payments from Social Security, strike benefits from union funds, veteran’s benefits, training stipends, alimony, child support and military family allotments, or other regular support from an absent family member or someone not living in the household, or foster care payments, benefits from a governmental income maintenance program (AFDC, SSI, unemployment compensation, or state or county general assistance or home relief), food or rent received in lieu of wages, money which is received from sale of real or personal property or received from tax refunds, gifts, one-time insurance payments or compensation for injury, non- cash benefits (food stamps, etc.).

“Liquid assets”: Liquid assets shall include, but are not limited to, cash, savings and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and equity in real and personal property, as well as any interest in retirement accounts.

A juvenile is indigent if his or parent(s) her parent’s or parents’ household income is at or below the Living Wage Calculator guidelines per household as established and revised periodically by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and whose liquid assets do not exceed $15,000.

A juvenile whose parent’s or parents’ household income is at or below the latest Living Wage Calculator guideline shall receive a court-appointed attorney, authorized by the OAA and made pursuant to the felony appointment wheel.

A juvenile whose household income exceeds the latest Living Wage Calculator guideline may still qualify for a court-appointed attorney if a district judge or magistrate determines special circumstances exist. In determining whether special circumstances exist, a district judge or magistrate may consider unusual, excessive, or extraordinary medical expenses, the age or physical infirmity of household members, or other expenses. A district judge or magistrate may also consider the complexity of the case, the estimated cost of presenting a legal defense, the fees charged by lawyers in the community for providing defense services in similar cases, whether the juvenile has retained counsel in related legal matters (e.g., administrative license revocation, forfeiture, etc.), any efforts the juvenile has made to retain an attorney, and any other factor impacting the ability of the juvenile to retain private counsel.

A juvenile who is determined to be indigent is presumed to remain indigent for the remainder of the proceedings in the case unless a material change in financial circumstances occurs. If there is a material change in financial circumstances after an indigency determination, a parent, the juvenile, the juvenile’s counsel, or the attorney representing the state may move for reconsideration of the determination.

The indigency guidelines established herein for the appointment of counsel also apply to the payment of expenses incurred for the purposes of investigation or expert testimony, as approved by the court.

Any person who is not defined as indigent in accordance with the Plan, but who has received court-appointed counsel, may be required to make payments for the reimbursement of the cost of legal services at the discretion of the court.

  
Minimum Attorney Qualifications
10/31/2022

Minimum Attorney Qualifications

 

A.            An attorney must be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas.

B.            An attorney must reside in Tarrant County or maintain his/her principal office in Tarrant County. (A post office address alone will not satisfy this requirement.)

C.            An attorney must have a secretary, receptionist, answering service or a regularly monitored voice mail.

D.            An attorney must have an E-mail address that the attorney can access 24-hours a day.

E.            An attorney must have the ability to produce typed motions or orders.

F.            An attorney must have on file with the Office of Attorney Appointment a completed application for the juvenile public appointment list.

E.            An attorney shall promptly notify the Office of Attorney Appointment of any changes to the information contained in the application for the juvenile public appointment list.

F.            An attorney shall promptly notify the Office of Attorney Appointment of any matter that would disqualify the attorney from receiving appointments under these guidelines or any other law, regulation or rule.

G.          An attorney shall be knowledgeable in juvenile law and be aware of collateral consequences of a juvenile adjudication and disposition (Including, but not limited to, issues involving the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) commitment criteria, use ofjuvenile       adjudications in adult proceedings, license suspension, sex offender registration, school removals and expulsions, sealing of records, etc.).

H.           An attorney must have on file with the Office of Attorney Appointment a completed continuing legal education annual reporting form provided by the 323rd Family District Court which demonstrates the annual completion of a minimum of 6-hours of juvenile law continuing legal education during each 12-month reporting period or a statement that the attorney is currently certified in juvenile law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Continuing legal education may include activities accredited under Section Article 12 State Bar rules, self-study, teaching at an accredited continuing legal education activity, attendance at a law school class or legal research-based writing. Credit for self-study in juvenile law is limited to 2 hours per reporting period. Continuing legal education activity completed within a 1-year period immediately preceding an attorney’s initial reporting period may be used to meet the educational requirement for the initial year. Continuing legal education activity completed during any reported period in excess of the minimum 6-hour requirement for such period may be applied to the following period’s requirement. The carryover provision applies to one year only.

I.             A completed continuing legal education reporting form provided by the 323rd Family District Court shall be filed with the Office of Attorney Appointment on or before December 31st of each year.

J.             An attorney must have attended the orientation class given a designee of the Juvenile Board or the attorney must have actively received appointments in the Tarrant County Juvenile Court for a period of five years or more. However, to remain on the wheel for 2023, regardless of prior experience, the attorney must complete the Juvenile Board orientation, either in person or through video.

K.            Pursuant to Article 26.04(j)(4), an attorney appointed to represent a juvenile shall, not later than October 15 of each year and on a form prescribed by the Texas Indigent Defense commission, submit to the county information, for the preceding fiscal year, that describes the percentage of the attorney’s practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in the county under this article and Title 3, Family Code.

L.             An attorney shall comply with any additional requirements that may be later imposed by the Juvenile Board.

In addition to the above, an attorney must meet and provide documentation of the following requirements to be qualified for appointments for a designated level of juvenile case.

LEVEL ONE: Qualifications for Appointments for Conduct in Need of Supervision and Delinquent Conduct when a commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department is not an authorized disposition

A.            An attorney must have been licensed to practice law for minimum of one year or have successfully completed a mentoring program for attorneys approved by the Juvenile Board, and

B.            An attorney shall have observed at least:

Five stipulated juvenile adjudications

Five contested juvenile adjudications

Three juvenile dispositions and

Five detention hearings.

LEVEL TWO: Qualifications for Appointments for Delinquent Conduct and where an Indeterminate Commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department is an authorized disposition

A.            An attorney must have been licensed to practice for one year, and

B.            An attorney must have substantial and active participation in:

Five juvenile or criminal (class B misdemeanor or above) jury trials, and either

Ten juvenile adjudications or modifications (contested or uncontested)

or

Ten criminal pleas, or a combination of these totaling ten proceedings.

LEVEL THREE: Qualifications required for appointments for Determinate Sentencing or Certification proceedings

A.            An attorney must have been licensed to practice for five years, and

B.            An attorney must:

1.            Be board certified in juvenile or criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, or

2.            Have substantial and active participation in five felony jury trials (juvenile or criminal) and one determinate sentence trial and must have been lead counsel in two district court level jury trials, or

3.            Have been lead counsel in five felony (juvenile or criminal) jury trials.

LEVEL FOUR: Qualifications required for appointments for Appeals

 A.            An attorney qualified for trial appointment for any level can receive appellate appointment at that same level, or

 B.            An attorney must have completed five juvenile or criminal appeals.

 

         
 1

Prompt Appointment of Counsel
10/28/2022

PROCEDURES FOR INCLUSION OF ATTORNEYS ON THE APPOINTMENT LIST

A.            An attorney must complete the application form.

B.            An attorney must demonstrate that he/she meets all qualifications for representation of juveniles at each requested level of appointment.

C.            The attorney must be approved by the Tarrant County Juvenile Board for inclusion on the appointment list.

 

Prompt Appointment of Counsel

APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL FOR CHILDREN IN CUSTODY

A.            Initial detention hearing – Pursuant to Texas Family Code 54.01 (b-1), 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 the hearing. Pursuant to Texas Family Code 51.101(a) if an attorney is appointed at the initial detention hearing and the child is detained, the attorney 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.

B.            If indigency is not established, the parents/custodian shall retain an attorney immediately. The parents shall notify the probation officer by noon of the next working day of the name of the juvenile’s attorney. If the parents have not retained an attorney by noon of the next working day following the initial detention hearing, the probation officer shall submit a request for an indigency/show cause hearing.

C.            If a juvenile is released prior to the initial detention hearing, the probation officer shall inform the juvenile and the juvenile’s parents of the right to request a court appointed attorney. Forms to request a court appointed attorney shall be provided to the juvenile or the juvenile’s parents upon request.

 

APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL FOR CHILDREN OUT OF CUSTODY

A.            The court, upon making a finding of indigency, shall appoint an attorney on or before the fifth working day after the date a petition for adjudication or discretionary transfer hearing has been served on the child.

B.            The court, upon making a finding of indigency, shall appoint an attorney on or before the fifth working day after the motion to modify disposition seeking commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) or placing in secure correctional facility has been filed.

C.            The probation officer shall provide information concerning the appointment of attorneys for juveniles and forms to request court appointment of an attorney to the juvenile and the juvenile’s parents during the intake conference. When a preliminary investigation report is referred to the district attorney’s office by the probation officer, the probation officer shall submit a request for the appointment of counsel to the juvenile court if the juvenile requests an appointed attorney. If a motion to modify or a petition for adjudication or discretionary transfer is filed, the request for appointment of counsel shall immediately be submitted to the court. If indigency is established, the court shall make the attorney appointment and the juvenile clerk and or court coordinator shall notify the attorney upon the filing of the petition.

D.            The District Clerk shall notify the juvenile clerk and or court coordinator upon the filing of a motion to modify or the return of service of a petition for adjudication or discretionary transfer. The juvenile clerk and or court coordinator shall verify that an attorney has been appointed within five working days after the date the motion to modify disposition has been filed or within five working days after the date a petition for adjudication or discretionary transfer has been served upon the juvenile. If an attorney has not been appointed, the juvenile clerk and or court coordinator shall immediately notify the probation officer and the juvenile judge.

  
Attorney Selection Process
10/28/2022

I.             PROCEDURES FOR APPOINTING COUNSEL

 

A.            The court shall appoint attorneys by sending an appointment order to the Office of Attorney Appointment for assignment of the next attorney on the Juvenile appointment wheel unless the court makes a finding of good cause on the record to deviate from using the appointment wheel.

B.            Appointments are to be allocated among qualified attorneys in a manner that is fair, neutral and nondiscriminatory.

C.            The court may replace an attorney who fails to contact the juvenile on the first working day after the date of appointment or fails to interview the juvenile as soon as practicable.

D.            Immediately upon appointment, the Court shall instruct the District Attorney to open all discovery to the child’s attorney.

 

II.            DISTRIBUTION OF CASES

 

1.            Once an attorney is approved to be on the juvenile appointment list, that name shall be given to the Office of Attorney Appointment who shall manage the list.

2.            An attorney may receive an appointment for the highest level of offense for which he or she is qualified and for each lower level of offense.

3.            New attorneys or attorneys being reinstated will be added to the end of the list as it exists at the time they are added.

4.            Appointments will be made by following a rotation of the names of attorneys and meeting the requirements of Article 26.04(a) CCP.

  
Fee and Expense Payment Process
10/28/2022

 Itemized Billing

1.            Attorneys shall present itemized hourly billing for cases.

2.            In office work shall be billed in increments of tenths of hours.

 

Attorneys shall be paid at the following hourly rate:

Effective for appointments made on October 1, 2022, and thereafter, counsel appointed to represent indigent defendants shall be compensated for their services as follows for cases in Level One of this plan:

 

Level One, Two and Three

Attorneys who have not attended Juvenile Board Orientation

Attorneys who have attended Juvenile Board Orientation or are currently on the equivalent Misdemeanor or Felony Appointment List or are Board Certified in Criminal and/or Juvenile Law.

 

 

 

In Office Work

$100-175 per hour

$150-225 per hour

Juvenile Misdemeanor

 

 

Non-evidentiary hearings

$100-175 per hour

$150-225 per hour

Evidentiary hearings

$125-200 per hour

$175-250 per hour

Appellate time

$150-225

$225-300 per hour

Determinate Sentence and

Certification

 

 

Non-evidentiary hearings

$125-200

$175-350

Evidentiary hearings

$150-225

$200-275

Appellate time

$200-275

$250-325

 

An additional $50.00 per hour shall be paid to an attorney when bi-lingual skills are required for representation and the attorney speaks the language required to represent the client.

The Court may pay an attorney an additional $50 to $75 per hour if the judge believes that the complexity of the case and/or the special skills of the attorney warrant such. In such an event the Court shall explain the reason for the change.

ATTORNEYS FEES

1.            Counsel shall receive a payment form from the court for uncontested dispositions.

2.            Counsel shall submit a payment request form itemizing services for evidentiary court appearances including jury trials. The form shall itemize the services provided and the dates of the services. The form shall set out separately the total time spent out of court and the total time spent in court representing the juvenile.

3.            If the judge disapproves the requested amount, the judge shall make written findings stating reason for approving an amount different from the requested amount.

4.            An attorney may appeal disapproval of attorney fees to a judge designated by the Board.

5.            The commissioner’s court shall pay the appointed counsel the amount approved by the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region that is in accordance with the fee schedule not later than 45 days after the date of an application for payment.

6.            Requests for fees shall be submitted quarterly in March, June, September and December of each year. Beginning January 1, 2023, failure to submit quarterly billing may be grounds to deny some fees.

INVESTIGATIVE AND EXPERT EXPENSES

A. 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.

1.            Procedure with Prior Court Approval:

a.            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.

b.            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.

2.            Procedure Without Prior Court Approval:

a.            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. Articles 26.05(d), 26.052(f), (g) & (h), Code of Criminal Procedure

  
Miscellaneous
10/28/2022

REMOVAL GROUNDS

A.            GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL FROM THE JUVENILE APPOINTMENT LIST

a.            An attorney shall be removed from the juvenile public appointment list and from any case to which the attorney has been appointed for the following:

i.              conviction or deferred adjudication for any felony, or ii. conviction or deferred adjudication for any crime of moral turpitude, or

iii.            being under indictment or being formally charged with a felony or crime of moral turpitude, or

iv.           intentional misrepresentation by the attorney on the application for public appointment

b.            An attorney may be removed from the juvenile public appointment list and from any case to which the attorney has been appointed for the following:

i.              failing to perform the attorney’s duties owed to the juvenile, or ii. a finding by a court that the attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel, or

iii.            failing to maintain compliance with each of the juvenile public appointment list guidelines, or

iv.           if after a hearing it is shown that the attorney submitted a claim for services not performed by the attorney, or

v.            for good cause at the discretion of the Tarrant County Juvenile Board.

c.             Removals from the list shall be for a minimum of one year. Removals from the list may be probated. For removals or probated removals, the Tarrant County Juvenile Board may require the completion of rehabilitative measures as a condition of the probation or reapplication. For good cause, the Tarrant County Juvenile Board may remove an attorney from the list for a period longer than one year or permanently.

B.            An attorney who was removed from the juvenile appointment list for the reasons stated in Item A, a, i, ii, or iii above may be immediately reinstated upon providing proof that the charges were dismissed or that the attorney was acquitted.

 C.           An attorney who was removed from the juvenile misdemeanor public appointment list for any reason may apply for reinstatement to the list upon the expiration of one year from the date the attorney was removed from the list unless the Tarrant County Juvenile Board removed the attorney for a longer period of time.

 

                PROCEDURES FOR REMOVAL OF ATTORNEYS FROM THE APPOINTMENT LIST

A.            The Tarrant County Juvenile Board may remove an attorney from the appointment list if:

a.            the attorney requests removal from the appointment list, or

b.            the attorney does not have the qualifications required for appointment, or

c.             the attorney fails to perform the duties required by the Texas Fair Defense Act, or

d.            for any of the grounds of removal from the juvenile appointment list included in this plan, or

e.            for good cause.

B.            An attorney may be temporarily removed from the appointment list by request of the attorney to the juvenile judge provided that the attorney specifically sets out the dates the attorney will not be available to receive appointments.

 

A removal from the list may be appealed to a judge designated by the Juvenile Board. An attorney removed from the wheel must receive notice in writing of his or her right to appeal the removal.


Plan Documents
Tarrant Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (10/28/2021 4:16:25 PM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Application for Appointment.doc (12/1/2009 5:34:17 PM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment.pdf (10/28/2021 4:17:10 PM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.docx (10/31/2022 9:41:41 AM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.pdf (10/28/2021 4:20:30 PM) view