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Pool & Risk Services
Texas County Government
Core Legislative Group
Indigent defense costs are up 171% since '01 - ow.ly/JdtjV - driving local property tax increases. #txlege #254Strong
Indigent defense expenditures are one of the major uncontrollable cost drivers in county budgets. The state should fully fund this unfunded mandate.
Download Issue Brief
Texas counties are responsible for the expenses associated with appointed counsel for indigent defendants.
Counties are authorized to deliver indigent defense services through a system that best meets local needs.
The costs of providing court appointed counsel for indigent defendants are significant and remain a major uncontrollable expense in county budgets.
Since passage of the Fair Defense Act (2001), indigent defense costs have increased 171 percent from $91.4 million in 2001 to $247.7 million in 2016. State grants have covered only a small proportion of those costs.
In FY 2014, the state funded only about $31.6 million of the total statewide indigent defense costs, while counties contributed approximately $216.1 million (about 87 percent of the total costs).
Additional state appropriations in the next legislative session would assist counties and their taxpayers tremendously in offsetting the costs of this significant unfunded mandate.
Indigent Defense Infographic
For More Information
Deputy Legislative Director
Laura V. Garcia
Indigent defense bill grows
Athens Daily Review, Feb. 7, 2017 Henderson County has passed an expensive milestone concerning the cost of indigent defense. County Judge Richard Sanders said the county spent more than $1 million dollars defending those who couldn't afford an attorney in 2016...
State payments for indigent defense continue to dip in Gregg County
Longview News Journal, Feb. 6, 2017 Gregg County on Monday accepted a $117,000 grant to pay for court-appointed defense attorneys this year, a state contribution the county auditor welcomed while noting it is far less than what is spent on indigent defendants — and less than the state provided a year ago...
Making Gideon Proud
County Magazine, Feb 22, 2013 About 10 years ago, the Wichita County Office of the Public Defender (OPD), like all county indigent defense programs across the state, was facing a crisis...
Texas Indigent Defense Commission Asks State to Close the Indigent Defense Funding Gap
County Magazine, Dec 20, 2012 The start of 2013 will bring the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that assistance of counsel is essential to justice and fair outcomes in our criminal justice system...
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