SAN ANGELO, TX – Tom Green County Commissioners Tuesday will consider creating a Public Defender program during their regular meeting.
A Public Defender program would be a new county office employing attorneys to represent defendants who can't afford an attorney. Currently, private practice attorneys participate in a revolving list and are appointed by the court to defendants who can't afford an attorney and the county pays the private practice attorneys.
Tom Green County Judge Steve Floyd said the program was initiated by the District Judges. The program would provide attorneys for indigent defendants in Tom Green and the surrounding six counties.
"The grant covers approximately $2.29 million of the $2.9 million the first year and declines over five years for Tom Green County and remains at 66% for the other six counties." Floyd said in an email.
Commissioners courts in the past have investigated the possibility of creating a Public Defenders program to save taxpayers money but private practice attorneys and some judges opposed the program.
Item no. 15 on the regular court agenda reads as follows: "Consider approving application for the Texas Indigent Defense Commission Improvement Grant to establish a Public Defender program and adopt a resolution of support."
San Angelo LIVE! will have more on this story Tuesday.