The PAC has also received donations from many other local lawyers who receive a large number of court appointments. The judges strongly dispute that notion. Schneider said campaign donations have no bearing on court appointments, adding that his court coordinator and other staffers handle the appointments, not him. I have no knowledge of their caseload.
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John Phillips, the judge in the th juvenile district court, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The caseload controversy has bled into local politics during this election cycle: Leah Shapiro, who has been a juvenile public defender in Harris County since , is running as a Democrat against Schneider for his seat on the th Juvenile Court.
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Jenkins had requested data on some kids charged with aggravated robbery, with the aim of looking into potential racial disparities. Devlin felt differently. Bunin said the pause only lasted a few weeks, and that appointments to the office had already been declining well before that. Ellis said judges would rather appoint lawyers who will spend as little time on each case as possible. Some attorneys, though, do appear to spend an enormous amount of time on their cases.
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Based on the maximum hourly rate the county pays for such work, that comes out to more than 3, out-of-court hours; assuming hour work days, the work would have taken about days — close to the entire number of business days that exist in a calendar year. Sprott said that he gets help from a couple of investigators and three or four paralegals, who he shares with six other lawyers. He added that he is one of very few black male lawyers representing kids in Harris County. Judges must sign off on each voucher that attorneys submit before they get paid.
Sprott was appointed to more than juvenile cases and 29 family court cases in his court last year. Can a lawyer with such a large caseload do a good job for his or her clients? Back in , experts with a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization called the Council of State Governments Justice Center compared public defenders and court-appointed private attorneys for adults in Harris County.
The differences were striking.
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Meanwhile, court-appointed attorneys working with mentally ill clients only got 6 percent of such charges dismissed. Birth and Death Amendments. Find answers to your questions on ordering online, birth certificates and birth-verification letters, death certificates and death-verification letters, marriage-verification and divorce-verification letters. Telephone Numbers Will connect you to Houston help and information.
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