Hunt District Court and County Court Plan
Preamble
7/23/2015

SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT:

This plan is subject to amendment upon the unanimous agreement of the Judges of the District Courts and County Courts at Law in Hunt County.

 

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This plan is effective on the 1st day of August, 2015, and shall remain in effect until further unanimous order of the judges of the District Courts and County Courts at Law in Hunt County.

Prompt Magistration
7/23/2015


HUNT COUNTY PROGRAM AND

STANDING RULES AND ORDERS FOR

PROCEDURES FOR PROMPT MAGISTRATION AND TIMELY APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

FOR INDIGENT ACCUSED PERSONS IN

HUNT COUNTY, TEXAS

(Hereinafter referred to as “The Hunt County Program”)



EFFECTIVE DATE – August 1, 2015



            Be it remembered that on this date the undersigned County Court at Law Judges and District Court Judges for Hunt County, Texas hereby adopt, order, establish and order published these countywide procedures, rules, and orders for the timely and fair appointments of all counsel for indigent accused persons charged in Hunt County, Texas.

 


This document is The Hunt County Program to conform with the requirements of S.B. 7 passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law in 2001 (Hereinafter referred to as the Fair Defense Act).


 ESTABLISHING PROCEDURES TO ENSURE PROMPT MAGISTRATION AND TIMELY APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

 


     The following procedures will be used to ensure that defense counsel is appointed within the time limits specified in the Fair Defense Act:



                 1)    Police shall take each person arrested before a magistrate. Anyone with custody of an arrested person shall take the person before a magistrate for a hearing pursuant to Article 15.17 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter called Article 15.17 Hearing) without unnecessary delay and no later than 48 hours after arrest.


                 2)    The magistrate informs the arrested person of the right to request counsel and how the request may be made.



          3)    The magistrate shall provide reasonable assistance in completing counsel request forms to the person at the time of the Article 15.17 hearing.



                 4)    A “record” must also be made showing


(i)                 that the magistrate informed the accused person of the right to request appointed counsel,


(ii)               that the magistrate asked the person whether he or she wanted to request counsel, and


(iii)             whether the person requested counsel.



                 5)    A “record” under this situation may consist of:


(i)                 a written document,


(ii)               an electronic recording, or


(iii)             any other documentation.



      6)    The magistrate transmits the request (i.e. a completed application form) to the jail to be taken ALONG WITH THE DEFENDANT TO THE APPROPRIATE


             COURT USING THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE: 


                         Misdemeanor Cases: 


             Per the Official Schedule as Designated and Agreed to by Both County Courts at Law Judges and sent to the Jail/Sheriff’s  Office.


Felony Cases:


             Per the Official Schedule as Designated and Agreed to by Both District Courts and sent to the Jail/Sheriff’s Office.


The appointing authorities shall furnish the application forms to the jail magistrate.



      7)    An appointing authority will appoint counsel “as soon as possible” after receiving a request but always within the third working day after the request is received.  Appointing authorities will attempt to maintain continuity of appointed attorney between felony and misdemeanor companion cases for an accused.



      8)    Appointed attorneys must make every reasonable effort to contact their clients by the end of the first working day after the attorney receives notice of appointment and to interview the accused as soon as practicable after the attorney is appointed.


             Article 26.04 (j) (1) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.



Indigence Determination Standards
7/23/2015


HUNT COUNTY PROGRAM AND

STANDING RULES AND ORDERS FOR

PROCEDURES FOR INDIGENCE DETERMINATION STANDARDS

FOR INDIGENT ACCUSED PERSONS IN

HUNT COUNTY, TEXAS

(Hereinafter referred to as “The Hunt County Program”)



EFFECTIVE DATE – August 1, 2015




            Be it remembered that on this date the undersigned County Court at Law Judges and District Court Judges for Hunt County, Texas hereby adopt, order, establish and order published these countywide procedures, rules, and orders for the timely and fair appointments of all counsel for indigent accused persons charged in Hunt County, Texas.

 


This document is The Hunt County Program to conform with the requirements of S.B. 7 passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law in 2001 (Hereinafter referred to as the Fair Defense Act).



PROCEDURES AND FINANCIALS STANDARDS FOR DETERMINING INDIGENCE STATUS

A.     ELEGIBILITY FOR APPOINTMENT

An accused is presumed indigent if any of the following conditions or factors are present:


1)      At the time of requesting appointed counsel, the accused or accused’s dependents are eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or public housing;


2)      The accused’s gross household income does not exceed 125% of the Poverty Guidelines as revised annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and published in the Federal Register; OR


125% of the Federal Poverty Level (2014)


 

                    Income

Size of Family Unit

Annually

Monthly

 

1

$14,588

$1,216

 

2

$19,663

$1,639

 

3

$24,738

$2,062

 

4

$29,813

$2,484

 

5

$34,888

$2,907

 

6

$39,963

$3,330

 

7

$45,038

$3,753

 

8

$50,113

$4,176

 



3)      The accused is currently serving a sentence in a correctional institution, is currently residing in a public mental health facility, or is subject to a proceeding in which admission or commitment to such a mental health facility is sought. 


B.  FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN INDIGENT DETERMINATION


          The judge making court appointments for counsel for indigents shall consider the following standards for determining indigence and such other reasonable factors as the court finds bearing on the financial inability of a defendant to retain counsel pursuant to Article 26.04 (m) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure: 


a.       Defendant’s income;


b.      Sources of the defendant’s income;


c.      Assets of the defendant;


d.      Property owned by the defendant, or in which the defendant has an interest;


e.       Outstanding obligation of the defendant;


f.        Necessary expenses of the defendant;


g.       The number and age of the defendant’s legal dependants;


h.       Spousal income available to the defendant; and


 i.       Such other reasonable factors as determined by the judge including Federal Standards for relief support.

 


C.  FACTORS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR APPOINTMENT


           The judge shall not consider pursuant to Article 26.04 (m) of The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure:



1)             Whether the accused has posted bail, except to the extent that it reflects on the


            Defendant’s financial circumstances as measured by the listed factors.



2)               Resources available to friends and families/relatives of the accused

 


D.  PARTIAL INDIGENCY



1)     The court may find an accused to be partially indigent if the person is able to pay some part of the cost of legal representation and if the payment does not impose manifest hardship on the accused or the accused’s household.

 


2)      An accused found to be partially indigent may be ordered by the court to pay, while the case is pending, monthly installments commensurate with the accused’s ability to pay based upon his/her income and assets.  Such payments will be made to the appropriate Clerk’s office for each court.


Minimum Attorney Qualifications
7/23/2015



HUNT COUNTY PROGRAM AND

STANDING RULES AND ORDERS FOR

PROCEDURES FOR MINIMUM ATTORNEY QUALIFICATIONS

FOR INDIGENT ACCUSED PERSONS IN

HUNT COUNTY, TEXAS

(Hereinafter referred to as “The Hunt County Program”)


 


EFFECTIVE DATE – August 1, 2015


 


            Be it remembered that on this date the undersigned County Court at Law Judges and District Court Judges for Hunt County, Texas hereby adopt, order, establish and order published these countywide procedures, rules, and orders for the timely and fair appointments of all counsel for indigent accused persons charged in Hunt County, Texas.


 


This document is The Hunt County Program to conform with the requirements of S.B. 7 passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law in 2001 (Hereinafter referred to as the Fair Defense Act).

 



QUALIFICATIONS FOR ATTORNEYS TO BE PLACED ON THE PUBLIC APPOINTMENT LIST AND TO BE COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL

    


Court appointed counsel shall comply with all laws, rules, procedures, and ethical provisions for providing reasonable assistance of counsel to their client.



Court appointed counsel shall maintain a high standard of ethical conduct and always be completely candid with the trial court.


Court appointed counsel shall timely inform their client of matters relating to the preparation, trial, and disposition of the case; appellate and writ rights, deadlines, and procedures for proper processing, and such other matters as necessary to provide reasonable assistance of counsel.


Court appointed counsel shall meet the following standards:


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

 


2)      Professionally perform duties and responsibilities of a licensed attorney for the State of Texas; and



3)      Complete annually such Continuing Legal Education programs as required by the Texas Judicial Council and local rules of Hunt County for attorneys representing indigent accused persons, which shall be at least 8 hours of Continuing Legal Education in handling criminal cases per year. 


4)  Shall maintain a principal office or reside in Hunt County, Texas.


      a)  “Principal office” is defined as the location/office where the attorney handles the majority (more than 50% of cases) of his legal practice.


      b)  Each attorney that wishes to be considered for placement on any Court Appointed List shall submit a sworn affidavit stating that his/her Principal Office OR his/her residence is in Hunt County.



5)   An attorney shall submit by October 15th each year, pursuant to Article 26.04 (j)(4), a statement that describes the percentage of the attorney's practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in Hunt County for adult criminal 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.  


A court may replace an attorney if the appointed attorney does not make an effort to contact the defendant by the end of the first working day after receiving notice or does not interview the defendant as soon as possible, or may sanction said attorney for violation of those provisions. See Article 26.04(k) Texas Code of Criminal Procedures.


A majority of the appointing judges trying criminal cases in the county (Judges of the County Courts at Law No.1 and No.2 for appointments out of their Courts & 354th District Court, 196th District Court for appointments out of their Courts) may remove an attorney from consideration for appointments, if the attorney intentionally or repeatedly does not fulfill the duties required by law, rules, local rules, or provisions for providing reasonable assistance of counsel or complying with the requirements for inclusion on the public appointment list for counsel for indigent accused persons. Article 26.04 (k) Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.



Prompt Appointment of Counsel
7/23/2015




See Prompt Magistration (inlcudes Timely Appointment of Counsel)

Attorney Selection Process
7/23/2015


HUNT COUNTY PROGRAM AND

STANDING RULES AND ORDERS FOR

PROCEDURES FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

(ATTORNEY SELECTION PROCESS)

FOR INDIGENT ACCUSED PERSONS IN

HUNT COUNTY, TEXAS

(Hereinafter referred to as “The Hunt County Program”)



EFFECTIVE DATE – August 1, 2015



            Be it remembered that on this date the undersigned County Court at Law Judges and District Court Judges for Hunt County, Texas hereby adopt, order, establish and order published these countywide procedures, rules, and orders for the timely and fair appointments of all counsel for indigent accused persons charged in Hunt County, Texas.


 


This document is The Hunt County Program to conform with the requirements of S.B. 7 passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law in 2001 (Hereinafter referred to as the Fair Defense Act).


 



PROCEDURES FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL


The appointing judge will appoint counsel from lists composed of those attorneys who filed an application and were approved by the two Judges of the County Courts at Law for the Misdemeanor list and by the two Judges of the District Courts for the Felony list handling criminal cases in Hunt County. 



The Judges shall appoint attorneys from the next five names on the list, unless good cause exists to appoint an attorney out of order. Article 26.04 (a) Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

 


In the absence of any appointing judge, any of the other appointing judges may appoint for the absent judge.



An attorney appointed by a Court from the public appointment list shall remain assigned and responsible for the Defendant’s charge(s) at the time of the appointment until charges are dismissed, the defendant is acquitted, appeals are exhausted, or the attorney is permitted or ordered by the court to withdraw as counsel for the defendant after a finding of good cause is entered on the record.  Article 26.04 (j) (2) Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.



Fee and Expense Payment Process
7/23/2015



HUNT COUNTY PROGRAM AND

STANDING RULES AND ORDERS FOR

PROCEDURES FOR FEE AND EXPENSE PAYMENT PROCESS

FOR INDIGENT ACCUSED PERSONS IN

HUNT COUNTY, TEXAS

(Hereinafter referred to as “The Hunt County Program”)


 


EFFECTIVE DATE – August 1, 2015


 


            Be it remembered that on this date the undersigned County Court at Law Judges and District Court Judges for Hunt County, Texas hereby adopt, order, establish and order published these countywide procedures, rules, and orders for the timely and fair appointments of all counsel for indigent accused persons charged in Hunt County, Texas.


 


This document is The Hunt County Program to conform with the requirements of S.B. 7 passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law in 2001 (Hereinafter referred to as the Fair Defense Act).


 


 


PROCEDURES FOR FEE AND EXPENSE PAYMENT PROCESS


 


Pursuant to Article 26.05 Texas Code of Criminal Procedure a schedule of attorney fees that covers all criminal cases for which punishment by incarceration may be imposed is included in the forms section of this plan.  Payments shall be made in accordance with a schedule of fees adopted by the judges.  No payment shall be made until judge approves payment after submission of an attorney fee voucher. All payments are paid from the general fund of this county. Article 26.05 (f) Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. 



If a judge disapproves the requested amount, the judge shall make written findings stating the amount that the judge approves and the reason(s) for disapproval of the whole amount.  An attorney whose request for payment is disapproved or reduced or is not acted on within 60 days of submission may appeal the disapproval by filing a motion with the presiding regional administrative judge. Article 26.05 (c) Texas 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.  


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. 


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.


Plan Documents
Hunt District and County Court Affidavit of Indigence.pdf (11/5/2009 4:15:39 PM) view
Hunt District and County Court Attorney Application For Appointment.pdf (10/14/2013 1:47:42 PM) view
Hunt District and County Court Attorney Fee Schedule.pdf (8/2/2010 2:26:19 PM) view
Hunt District and County Court Attorney Fee Voucher.xls (11/2/2009 9:01:26 AM) view
Hunt District and County Court Hunt District and County Court Signed Order.pdf (8/4/2010 8:39:07 AM) view
Hunt District and County Court Hunt District and County Magistrates Warning Form (Spanish).pdf (11/5/2009 4:14:32 PM) view
Hunt District and County Court Hunt District and County Magistrates Warning Form.pdf (11/5/2009 4:12:23 PM) view
Hunt District and County Court Magistrate's Warning Class C Only.pdf (10/9/2013 2:34:37 PM) view
Hunt District and County Court Magistrate’s Warning Form.pdf (10/9/2013 2:33:04 PM) view
Hunt District and County Court Signed Order.pdf (11/9/2009 10:01:50 AM) view