Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Indigence defense newsletter highlights

While I was away the Task Force on Indigent Defense came out with its quarterly newsletter in August. Here are some highlights:
  • From the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions: Report and Research.
  • Anyone interesting in the job of chief at Harris County's newly authorized public defender officer has until Friday to turn in their application. See here.
  • Here's an informative fact sheet from the Task Force on their expanding Regional Capital Defenders Office, which is expanding into South and West Texas and ultimately will operate statewide where counties have opted in. 
  • "The Task Force also approved over $500,000 to Montgomery County to establish a managed assigned counsel program to provide direct client services to indigent persons with charges pending and with documented mental health issues. The county will contract with an attorney-led, non-profit agency to provide case management services, as well as specially trained and supervised attorneys to these defendants. The program in Montgomery County will be one of the first of its kind in Texas."
  • Bexar County indigence defense review:
"In December 2009, Senator Jeff Wentworth asked the Task Force on Indigent Defense to conduct a full assessment of Bexar County’s indigent defense processes. The work has been completed and was submitted to Bexar County officials on August 16th. The purpose of this request and assessment was to determine the effectiveness of Bexar County’s indigent defense processes and to determine whether local processes are in compliance with the Fair Defense Act.

"The Task Force, in collaboration with the Office of Court Administration, interviewed representatives from various departments in the criminal justice system, observed a variety of court proceedings, and examined indigent defense records to determine whether local processes and practices comported with the requirements of the Fair Defense Act and Task Force rules.

"The County response is due October 22, 2010."

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