Indigent Defense: Orientation Workshop for New Judges. Jim Bethke, Director Task Force on Indigent Defense [email protected] www.courts.state.tx.us/tfid office: 512.936.6994 January 23, 2007. Today’s Agenda. Indigent Defense – Who Cares?! The Basics – What You Need to Know.
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Jim Bethke, Director
Task Force on Indigent Defense
January 23, 2007
“No one, especially law-abiding taxpaying citizens, likes the idea of spending government money defending criminals. Many in fact are guilty . . . It’s hard to understand when schools are underfunded, children are without health care, roads are in disrepair, that taxpayer dollars must compensate LAWYERS representing thieves, rapists, murderers, and child molesters.
“Yet we need once again to focus on what we do and why we do it. Justice is not and has never been a result. Justice is a process. Whatever the result may be, its propriety, its efficacy is determined by the fairness, honesty and decency of the process, the path we travel to the outcome, not the outcome itself. Those accused may well not be thieves, rapists, murderers and child molesters, but for the opportunity to establish so with assistance of competent counsel.”
Provide practical evidence-based guidance for jurisdictions to follow in implementing criminal justice processes that are fair, accurate, timely, efficient, and effective.
There should never be a rush to judgment. Processes should ensure that defense counsel and prosecutors alike have amble opportunity to develop their cases.
within three days of arrest
Minimum COUNTY savings:$653 per defendant
Estimated PERSONAL savings:$646 per defendant
El Paso-DIMS Cases Rejected Prior to Booking
Percent of Defendants with
Cases Disposed within 3 Days of Arrest
Charges filed in avg.10 hours
Charges filed in avg.34 hours
* Includes all misdemeanor cases except warrant cases where filing was made prior to arrest.
Mean Days from Arrest until Prosecutor
Receives Law Enforcement Report*
within three days of arrest
three after days after arrest
Percent of Cases Detained in Jail
Longer than 3 Days after Arrest
Median Days from Arrest to Release for Defendants Detained in Jail Longer than 3 Days
Average cost of detention:
$190 per defendant
$228 per defendant
$568 per defendant
$751 per defendant
OUTCOME:Enhanced Defendant Rights
OUTCOME:Improved Quality of Legal Defense
When offense reports are submitted timely and reviewed promptly:
OUTCOME:Improved Case Quality for the State
Benefits Of Direct Electronic Filing
Shift focus from individual players to the entire process.