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Showing posts from October, 2017

Quick Additional Thought on Indigent Defense

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One thing that I thought of after I finished last night's post was the timing  of vouchers. Since I've been practicing on the defense side, the rule was that an attorney could not submit a voucher for payment on a case until that case was disposed of.  Theoretically, an attorney could work on a case for well over a year and never get paid for it until it was over.  Under that same theory, an attorney could have no money in his or her bank account, while the County owed him thousands of dollars in fees. This made a bit more sense prior to vouchers becoming electronic.  Previously, attorneys would have to handwrite out the case number, name, court, and manually write down all hours and court appearances.  That voucher then got submitted to the Court for approval and then sent on to the Auditor's office (who would presumably enter the dates into a computer).  Once entered into the system, the computer would check to make sure that an attorney had not double-billed or t

Rethinking Indigent Defense

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Tomorrow, the Indigent Defense Committee of the Board of Criminal District Court Judges are having an open meeting to discuss potential changes for "reforming appointed attorney fees."  This is huge news.  Mainly, because I had no idea that there was an Indigent Defense Committee of the Board of Criminal District Court Judges. The meeting is at 2 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the Civil Courthouse on the 17th floor.  Sadly, I will not be able to attend due to a prior commitment, but I did want to share a few thoughts that I had about the way things are currently running in a post-Harvey world. First, a little background. The way payment works for attorneys who represent indigent defendants depends on what degree of crime the indigent client is charged with.  Those attorneys representing defendants charged with State Jail and 3rd Degree Felonies get paid $125 for every court setting they appear for, and $40 an hour for all out of court work.  Second degree felony ca

Just a Suggestion . . .

Dear D.A. Ogg, Would you please please please make an office roster that is up-to-date and available on the Harris County D.A. Website?  Those of us in the Defense Bar are doing what we can to reach out to prosecutors off docket, but the people keep moving around. A nice page added to the website that just stays current with everyone's assignment would be super duper helpful.  If you add e-mail hyperlinks to everyone's name, that would be super cool, too, but I'm not being greedy. If you could get this up and running as soon as possible, I will be your best friend. Thanks in advance, Murray Newman