Tarrant 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
A. A juvenile is considered indigent for purposes of the Act if he is financially unable to hire counsel. There shall be a presumption of indigency if the income of the juvenile respondent and parent, guardian, or managing conservator is below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
B. The judge or referee shall find respondent indigent and appoint counsel to represent him if the judge finds the respondent’s financial liabilities are more than his assets, or the respondent is financially unable to pay for an attorney qualified to represent the respondent for the offense which is charged.
C. A juvenile or a juvenile’s parent or other person responsible for the support of the juvenile shall complete a sworn questionnaire and provide supporting documentation of financial resources. If a finding of indigency is made, the court shall appoint counsel.
D. A juvenile who is determined by the court to be indigent is presumed to remain indigent for the remainder of the proceedings unless a material change in financial circumstances occurs. The juvenile, juvenile’s attorney or state may move for reconsideration of an indigency determination.
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 answering machine.
D. An attorney must have a functioning fax machine and an E-mail address, both of which are available 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 Juvenile Court a completed application for the juvenile public appointment list.
G. An attorney shall promptly notify the Juvenile Court of any changes to the information contained in the application for the juvenile public appointment list.
H. An attorney shall promptly notify the Juvenile Court of any matter that would disqualify the attorney from receiving appointments under these guidelines or any other law, regulation or rule.
I. 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 of juvenile adjudications in adult proceedings, license suspension, sex offender registration, school removals and expulsions, sealing of records, etc.).
J. An attorney must have on file with the Juvenile Court 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.
K. A completed continuing legal education reporting form provided by the 323rd Family District Court shall be filed with the Juvenile Court on or before December 31st of each year.
L. An attorney must have attended the orientation class given by the Judge of the designated Juvenile Court or the attorney must have actively received appointments in the Tarrant County Juvenile Court for a period of five years or more.
M. 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.
N. 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 six months or have successfully completed a mentoring program for attorneys approved by the Juvenile Board, and
B. An attorney shall have observed at least;
Two stipulated juvenile adjudications
Three 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) contested trials, and
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 three 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 two felony jury trials (juvenile or criminal) and one determinate sentence trial and must have been lead counsel in one county or district court level jury trial, 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.
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 Juvenile Court 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
I. PROCEDURES FOR APPOINTING COUNSEL
A. The court shall appoint attorneys from among the next five names on the appointment list in the order in which the attorneys’ names appear on the list, unless the court makes a finding of good cause on the record.
B. An attorney who is not appointed in the order in which the attorney’s name appears on the list shall remain next in order on the list.
C. Appointments are to be allocated among qualified attorneys in a manner that is fair, neutral and nondiscriminatory.
D. 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.
II. DISTRIBUTION OF CASES
1. 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.
2. New attorneys or attorneys being reinstated will be added to the end of the list as it exists at the time they are added.
3. 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
I. FEE SCHEDULE FOR JUVENILE MISDEMEANOR AND FELONY CASES
1. Court appearance - $50 – 250/appearance
2. Evidentiary court appearance including jury trial - $300 – 800/day
3. Out of court time - $50 – 100/hour
4. Appellate time - $75 – 125/hour
II. FEE SCHEDULE FOR JUVENILE DETERMINATE SENTENCE AN CERTIFICATION CASES
1. Court appearance - $75 – 300/appearance
2. Evidentiary court appearance including jury trial - $500 – 1200/day
3. Out of court time - $50 – 125/hour
1. Appellate time - $75 – 125/hour
III. 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 the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region.
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.
IV. 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
I. REMOVAL GROUNDS
A. GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL FROM THE JUVENILE PUBLIC 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 juvenile court.
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 Juvenile Court may require the completion of rehabilitative measures as a condition of the probation or reapplication. For good cause, the Juvenile Court 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 Juvenile Court removed the attorney for a longer period of time.
II. PROCEDURES FOR REMOVAL OF ATTORNEYS FROM THE APPOINTMENT LIST
A. The Juvenile Court 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.
Tarrant Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.docx (10/28/2019 2:49:13 PM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Application for Appointment.doc (12/1/2009 5:34:17 PM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment.doc (9/1/2017 2:40:41 PM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.docx (10/29/2013 2:53:59 PM) view
Tarrant Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.docx (9/1/2017 2:42:43 PM) view