Judges Have ‘Unchecked Power’ Over Legal Counsel For Poor Texans | Texas Public Radio

Judges Have ‘Unchecked Power’ Over Legal Counsel For Poor Texans

Aug 28, 2019

In Texas, judges have oversight over the appointment and scheduling of court appointed attorneys for people who cannot afford to hire their own legal counsel. How does this affect the quality of representation for economically disadvantaged Texans?

Federal law lets states decide how to appoint and pay for lawyers for the poor, and Texas leaves those decisions to its counties. Most rely on contracts with private lawyers, who are paid a modest fee. Some turn to public defender's offices, the majority of which are underfunded and swamped with cases.

What needs to change to ensure all Texans, regardless of financial status, get a fair chance in court?



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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, August 28.