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Study: Reforms Needed To Ensure Indigent Defendants Aren't At A Disadvantage In Bexar County

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Ryan Loyd | Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Courthouse

A recently released report evaluates Bexar County's Indigent Defense System, which provides legal services to defendants who cannot afford their own counsel.

Approximately 80% of cases filed in the criminal justice system relate to indigent defense, according to County Judge Nelson Wolff.

Though researchers acknowledges the positive impact of Bexar County's specialty courts and the speed of magistration, they also found that not everyone receives the same quality of service or defense.

Forty percent of those who must rely on indigent defense don't meet their attorney until they show up to court. Ultimately, defendants with money to hire their own counsel get better results than those who can't.

How does indigent defense work in Bexar County? What are the biggest issues within the system as it currently exists? Who is most affected?

What policy and data recommendations does the report make for Bexar County? Will changes be made based on these findings and if so, how?

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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, September 24.