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County receives indigent defense coordinator grant

Friday, October 4, 2019

Hays County has received a grant which will help improve its indigent criminal defense services. 

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted unanimously on Tuesday to accept a $61,341 grant that will be utilized to create an indigent defense coordinator position. 

In 2001, Texas passed the Fair Defense Act, which established uniform standards for criminal courts to adopt formal procedures for providing court-appointed attorneys to indigent defendants in a timely manner. The indigent defense coordinator position will ensure the county complies with the Fair Defense Act, according to the grant award.

On Aug. 6, the Hays County Commissioners Court gave the program an OK by voting to execute a resolution and submit the grant application to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. 

“Two of the main issues I’ve continued to hear from folks is that you know defendants who qualify — do they have access to representation?” Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe said during the Aug. 6 meeting.  “And then secondly — if they do qualify, are they receiving representation in a timely manner? And this person will ensure that those two things happen.” 

The grant will require a match on behalf of the county totaling $15,335.

In other business, commissioners voted to declare October 2019 as Mediation Awareness Month, Oct. 4 as National Manufacturing Day and October as National Manufacturing Month, October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Oct. 1 as National Night Out and Oct. 12 as Indigenous People’s Day. 

The court voted to execute an interlocal agreement with Burnet County that will increase the per diem rate for inmate outsourcing from $40 to $45 per day and increased the guard service rate from $35 per hour per guard to $40 per hour per guard, and approved the purchase and installation of new broadcasting equipment for the courtroom. 

Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the Driftwood Historical Conservation Society’s efforts to have the legislature recognize William B. Travis Heritage League Survey with an Undertold Historical designation commemorative plaque. 

“This plaque itself, should it be awarded by the state, would be placed at the entrance of what’s now the Vista Brewing Company, there’s a parcel of land there that they’ve dedicated for that,” said Pct. 4 Commissioner Walt Smith. 

San Marcos Record

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