Jefferson Juvenile Board Plan
JEFFERSON JUVENILE BOARD PLAN FOR QUALIFICATION
OF AND APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEYS TO REPRESENT
As required by the Texas Fair Defense Act, the Juvenile Board of Jefferson County, Texas approves the following plan for the qualification of and appointment of attorneys to represent indigent juveniles. This plan is effective November 1, 2013 and supersedes previous versions of the plan.
Juvenile Board of Jefferson County, Texas
The Juvenile Board of Jefferson County, Texas consists of the county judge and the district judges of Jefferson County, Texas. The board meets periodically in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act. The board elects a chairman, who is responsible for the administrative duties of the board. The board may impose policies, procedures and guidelines to implement this Juvenile Board Plan and guarantee effective representation to juveniles whose families may be indigent.
As used in this plan, the following terms and phrases will have the following meanings, and terms and phrases not defined below shall have the meanings given them by the Texas Family Code section 51.02:
1. “Board” means the Juvenile Board of Jefferson County, Texas;
2. “Judge” means a judge sitting as a juvenile court judge;
3. The pronouns “he,” “him,” and “his” refers to individuals of both genders;
4. “Child” and “juvenile” refer to a person 10 years of age or older and under 17 years of age, or to a person 17 years of age or older and under 18 years of age who is alleged or found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision as a result of acts committed before becoming 17 years of age;
5. “CLE” means continuing legal education;
6. “Coordinator” means the person designated by the board to perform duties assigned in this plan;
7. “TFC” means Texas Family Code;
8. “Parent” means the child’s mother and/or father, but does not include a parent whose parental rights have been terminated;
9. “TIDC” means Texas Indigent Defense Commission;
10. “Counsel” and “attorney” are interchangeable.
The chairman of the board, with the approval of the board, designates the court coordinator for the 317th District Court as the coordinator under this plan. The coordinator shall:
1. Maintain and update a list of attorneys qualified and approved to be appointed under this plan according to their designated categories;
2. Investigate and track attorney qualifications;
3. Manage intake procedures;
4. Track cases and assignments to avoid duplication;
5. Supervise and monitor attorney fee payments;
6. Receive and investigate complaints against attorneys;
7. Coordinate with the Office of Court Administration and other applicable agencies;
8. Ensure compliance with the policies and standards of the Task Force on Indigent Defense and applicable statutes;
9. Assist in reporting requirements and obtaining grants; and
10. Perform all other duties designated by the board.
Prompt Detention Hearings
Prompt Detention Hearings
A child taken into custody must either brought to a juvenile processing office without unnecessary delay where the child may not be detained for longer than six hours pursuant to Texas Family Code (TFC) 52.025, or the child must face another disposition authorized by TFC 52.02, including referral to the office designated by the board as intake for the juvenile court.
The intake officer shall process the child according to the requirements of TFC 53.01, and shall also inform the child and the child’s parent of the child’s right to appointed counsel if the parent is indigent, and shall provide a form for the purpose of determining eligibility for appointment of counsel. If the child is not released by intake, 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.
Prior to the detention hearing, the court shall inform the parties of:
1. The child’s right to counsel and to appointed counsel if the court determines the child’s parent or other person responsible for the support of the child is indigent or otherwise qualifies for appointed counsel; and
2. The child’s right to remain silent as to the alleged conduct.
Indigence Determination Standards
Indigence Determination Standards, Appointment Plan, Procedure
The juvenile probation department shall provide a form to request an appointed attorney to each child’s parent or other person responsible for the support of the child. The request for appointed counsel form is for the purpose of determining the family’s eligibility for appointment of counsel. No appointment of counsel shall be made without the parent or other person responsible for the support of the child completing and returning the form, unless this is waived by a judge, other than the appointment of the stand-by attorney described below. The form shall be sworn to under oath by the person completing the form.
The completed form shall be delivered to the coordinator by the juvenile probation department as soon as practicable for a judge to make a determination of whether the child qualifies for an appointed attorney.
The financial standards set forth below shall be used to determine whether a juvenile’s family is indigent:
1. The family's net household income does not exceed 150% 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;
2. The family, at the time of requesting appointed counsel, is eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, TANF supplemental social security, or public housing;
3. The family does not meet the financial standards above but is otherwise unable to retain private counsel without substantial hardship to the family, taking into account 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 dependents living in the family home or entitled to support; and
4. If a member of the immediate family of the juvenile defendant is the alleged victim of the alleged offense and the juvenile defendant is personally unable to afford private counsel.
Minimum Attorney Qualifications
Minimum Attorney Qualifications, Including Experience And CLE
The coordinator shall compile and maintain a list of attorneys eligible to receive appointments to represent indigent juveniles. All attorneys licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Texas are eligible to apply for appointment.
This plan recognizes five levels of seriousness of juvenile charges, and also appeals: Child in Need of Supervision cases (CINS), delinquency cases with no TYC commitment possible, delinquency cases with TYC commitment possible, determinate sentence cases, certification cases, and appeals.
Applicants must meet the minimum qualification standards set out below to be considered for appointment to juvenile cases, unless the applicant is otherwise approved by the board:
1. CINS cases: a minimum of one (1) year experience and participation as counsel/co-counsel on three (3) juvenile cases, and a minimum of six (6) hours of certified CLE credit in juvenile law each attorney reporting year;
2. Delinquency cases with no TYC commitment possible: a minimum of one (1) year of experience and participation as counsel/co-counsel on five (5) juvenile cases, and a minimum of 10 hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each attorney reporting year;
3. Delinquency cases with TYC commitment possible: a minimum of two (2) years of experience and participation as counsel/co-counsel on ten (10) juvenile cases, and a minimum of 15 hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each attorney reporting year;
4. Determinate sentence cases: a minimum of three (3) years of experience and participation as counsel/co-counsel on 15 juvenile cases, and a minimum of 15 hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each attorney reporting year;
5. Certification cases: a minimum of three (3) years of experience and participation as counsel/co-counsel on 20 juvenile cases, and a minimum of 15 hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each attorney reporting year;
6. Appeals: a minimum of two (2) years of experience and participation as counsel/co-counsel on ten (10) juvenile cases or participation as counsel or co-counsel in the appeal of three (3) juvenile cases, and a minimum of 15 hours of certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each attorney reporting year.
Each of the above requirements of “certified CLE credit in criminal or juvenile law each attorney reporting year” must include at least six (6) hours in juvenile law, and the remaining hours may be in either juvenile or criminal law. Continuing legal education may include activities accredited under section 4, article XII, State Bar Rules, including self-study, teaching at an accredited continuing legal education activity, attendance at a law school class, or legal research-based writing.
An attorney currently certified in juvenile law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization meets the CLE requirements.
Mandatory Reporting By Attorneys
Attorneys must comply with two annual reporting requirements in order to remain on the appointment list. One report is the affidavit described below, to be filed with the coordinator regarding the attorney’s CLE hours. The other report is the practice-time statement described below, to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC) regarding the attorney’s time spent working on juvenile appointed cases, including pleas, trials, and appeals.
1. Regarding the first reporting requirement, each attorney must annually submit an affidavit to the coordinator by October 1 of each year detailing the juvenile continuing legal education activities the attorney completed in the prior 12 months. Alternatively, an attorney may annually submit documentation showing the attorney is currently certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in juvenile law. Attorneys may contact the coordinator regarding an acceptable format.
Continuing legal education activity completed in the 12 months immediately preceding the annual reporting due date may be used to meet the educational requirements for the initial year.
Continuing legal education activity completed during any reporting period in excess of the minimum hourly requirement for such period may be applied to the following period's requirement. The carryover provision applies to one year only.
2. An attorney shall submit by October 15th each year starting October 15, 2014 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/form prescribed by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission to the court administration office in the county. The required form is available online at the TIDC website at http://tidc.tamu.edu.
Prompt Appointment of Counsel
Attorney Selection Process
Procedure For Including Attorneys On List
Attorneys meeting the applicable above qualifications may apply for appointments to juvenile cases by completing the Jefferson Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment form, which can be obtained from the coordinator in the 317th District Court or online at the Texas Indigent Defense Commission website athttp://tidc.tamu.edu. For the attorney to receive appointments, the application must be approved by a majority of the Jefferson County Juvenile Board members. However, temporary approval of an attorney by a judge may be given pending juvenile board action within a reasonable time.
Notifying Attorney Of Appointment
The coordinator will notify the attorney of the appointment within one (1) working day of the date of appointment. If the juvenile is not released from the detention facility, the appointed attorney shall make every reasonable effort to contact the juvenile within one (1) working day of the notice of appointment, and shall make every reasonable effort to interview the juvenile as soon as practicable after receiving notice of the appointment.
Fee and Expense Payment Process
Attorney Fees For Detention Hearings, Final Hearings, Appeals
Standby attorneys shall be paid a flat rate of $350.00 per day for detention hearings.
Appointed attorneys shall be paid a fee of $325.00 for an adjudication and disposition hearing in which the juvenile pleads “true”.
For contested hearings and trials, appointed attorneys shall be paid $325.00 per half day, plus up to an additional $500.00 for trial preparation when approved by the judge, based upon a rate of $50.00 per hour for up to 10 hours.
Appointed attorneys shall be paid a fee of $1,000.00 per case for appeals.
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.
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. 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. Itemized list of anticipated expenses for each investigation or each expert.
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.
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. Denial of expenses will follow the procedure stated above. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 26.05(d), 26.052(f), (g), (h).
Itemized Attorney Fee Voucher
An itemized attorney voucher form must be completed by the attorney, submitted, and approved by the judge before a payment is made to the attorney. A model attorney fee voucher promulgated by the Task Force on Indigent Defense is attached and is also available from the court. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 26.05(c).
If the judge disapproves the requested amount of payment, the judge shall make written findings stating the amount that the judge approves and each reason for approving an amount different from the requested amount. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 26.05(c).
An attorney whose request for payment is disapproved or is not acted upon within 60 days of submission may appeal the disapproval or failure to act by filing a motion with the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region
Procedure For Removing Attorneys From List
It is the responsibility of the juvenile board to ensure competent representation of juveniles. An attorney may be removed from the appointment list upon the vote of the majority of the members of the board on the request of any of its members for the following reasons:
1. Establishing a pattern of failure to diligently contact the child after appointment;
2. Failing to conduct himself or herself in a professional and ethical manner;
3. Being found by an appellate court or state bar disciplinary committee to have provided ineffective representation;
4. Failing to maintain minimum qualifications;
5. Failing to submit the practice-time statement annually online to TIDC on juvenile cases handled;
6. Failing to file annually with the coordinator an affidavit on the attorney’s CLE;
7. Any other reason which the board deems to be good cause for removal.
A closed and confidential hearing before the board will be held to determine whether or not to remove the attorney from the appointment list. The attorney sought to be removed shall have the right to notice of the hearing and opportunity to be heard and to present evidence and testimony. The board’s vote to determine whether or not to remove an attorney from or reinstate an attorney to the appointment list may be done only in the presence of board members.
The coordinator will provide notice to the attorney removed from the list within three (3) working days of the date of removal. The attorney removed shall have the right to seek reinstatement at a closed and confidential hearing before the board. The attorney may only be reinstated by a majority vote of the members of the board.
Jefferson Juvenile Board Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (4/6/2010 8:50:25 AM) view
Jefferson Juvenile Board Attorney Application for Appointment.pdf (4/6/2010 8:51:45 AM) view
Jefferson Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Schedule.doc (4/6/2010 9:15:51 AM) view
Jefferson Juvenile Board Attorney Fee Voucher.pdf (4/6/2010 8:51:15 AM) view