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Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Barbara Hervey interview in the San Antonio Express News

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Via Grits for Breakfast and the Off the Kuff comes an interview with Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Barbara Hervey in the San Antonio Express News.

Grits sees reason for optimism in a comment made on the state of Public Defenders in Texas.

Judge Hervey also predicted the rise of more public defender offices in Texas the coming decades, a trend I’ve written about frequently:

Q. How do you see the legal profession changing in the next 20 years?

A. About 65 percent of the trial dockets are criminal, and I don’t see that going down. I think we will see more public defender officers.

Every new public defender office established in recent years in Texas has been created with startup capital from the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense, a grant and technical assistance project established by the 2001 Fair Defense Act and chaired by CCA presiding Judge Sharon Keller. Earlier this year I called the expansion of public defender officers one of the “underreported success stories in Texas criminal justice politics.”

I sat down with a Public Defender and Professor yesterday to find out more about criminal defense and the PD’s office. Know how many public defender offices there are in Texas? Five. Maybe a few more if you count legal aid offices. He suggested looking in New England, even Maine, where I grew up. Advice to people accused of crimes in Texas – don’t be poor.

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4 Responses

  1. There are a few more than that. The latest trend in TX is to have a specialty public defender, but not for everybody. E.g., in Travis County there’s a juvie public defender and a new one for mentally ill defendants, but a regular “wheel” system for appointing attorneys for other adults. Bexar’s appellate PD is another example.

    By contrast, the one in Val Verde is the first a) multi-county PD office and b) operated on contract by a nonprofit legal aid service. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that model replicated more often in rural districts.

    Almost all of these, though, except Dallas and maybe Travis County’s juvie PD were created since the turn of the century, and grant money to create more was approved by the Lege. best,

  2. Mark Bennett says:

    More advice: don’t count on Judges Hervey and Keller and their colleagues at the Court of Criminal Appeals to do anything but bend over backwards to make sure the State wins.

  3. lukegilman says:

    I forget sometimes that these judges are elected officials. I wonder, how political are these elections? What are the fault lines?

  4. Luke, In a past life I was an oppostition researcher in poltical campaigns for 12 years, including in 22 judicial races. I wrote several blog posts after the 2006 election describing the fault lines in Texas judicial races, which is the only place I have personal knowledge about the records of elected judges, see:

    http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2006/11/less-money-needed-for-dems-to-target.html
    http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2006/11/texas-criminal-justice-election.html
    http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2006/10/court-of-criminal-appeals-races-too.html

    best,

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