INDIGENT DEFENSE SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT
The purpose of this supplement report is to reflect additional efforts made by the
Cameron County Indigent Defense Coordinator regarding matters that are not reflected in the
quarterly report. This report is somewhat limited due to the fact that we at this level were not
aware of the desirability to maintain records which could be reduced to a statistical analysis. As
a result, records for the entirety of the effort were not retained and records were not always kept
in a manner that was readily translatable into meaningful statistics as will be more specifically
pointed out herein. This supplement will cover only the month of October in the third quarter
because the data for the months of August and September was not retained although this
procedure was in effect prior to the month of August.
The jail personnel generates a weekly list for the purpose of providing the District
Attorney with pre-indictment or information list of inmates who have been in jail longer than a
period determined by the jail personnel. The primary purpose of this list is to encourage the
District Attorney to file formal charges on these inmates so that they can quickly process through
the system. This list is also provided to the Indigent Defense Coordinator.
The coordinator reviews the entire list first to determine if the inmates have already had
an attorney appointed pursuant to Senate Bill 7 or not. No further effort is made with respect to
those inmates who have already been appointed an attorney. Those who have not been given an
attorney are reviewed under several categories to see what other action might be needed. No
further action is taken on those who have previously waived an attorney unless the time spent in
jail is too long. Certain inmates are removed from the list because information or indictment has
already been filed and the Trial Court will appoint them an attorney. Other inmates have been
released between the short time after the list is generated and before it is reviewed. Other
inmates who have been in custody for a period of time approaching the maximum standard for
detaining prisoners without indictment or information have a habeas corpus form prepared by the
Indigent Defense Coordinator which is forwarded to the jail for the defendant’s signature and set
for a habeas corpus hearing before the appropriate judge assigned at that particular time.
Attorneys are then appointed for all defendants prior to the habeas corpus hearing. Persons who
have somehow slipped through the standard process for requesting or waiving an attorney before
a magistrate are immediately provided attorneys. Finally there is a very small category of others.
The total number of inmates whose names appear on a weekly list which were checked
during the month of October is 571. In compiling these statistics, a problem was discovered that
the current records have no way to distinguish between those inmates who already had an
attorney appointed pursuant to the Senate Bill 7 before the list was generated and those who had
an attorney assigned by the Indigent Defense Coordinator as a result of this follow up procedure.
The total for the month of October for these two categories was 455. Although it is suspected
that the vast majority of the persons appearing on this list had previously had an attorney
appointed as a result of the initial procedures and a relatively small portion of the numbers had
one appointed at the secondary stage, there is no way to prove that from the past records. Upon
discovering this discrepancy, the Indigent Defense Coordinator has been instructed to maintain
these records in such a way that in the future she can distinguish between the two categories. In
the fourth quarter supplement, we will at least have two or three weeks worth of effort which can
be distinguished so that we can roughly approximate what actually occurred in October as well
as during the fourth quarter. The total for these two categories were 455 persons. During
October the Indigent Defense Coordinator prepared and filed habeas corpuses and appointed an
attorney for 9 inmates. During October she discovered that 19 inmates had already been released
and that 14 had already been indicted or had an information filed. She discovered 73 who had
previously waived an attorney and had not incarcerated long enough to generate one or more
extraordinary remedies available. There was one 1 inmate in the category “other”.
In our report for the fourth quarter we will use the percentages determined in our test
run in February to try to determine the approximate numbers of inmates who had an attorney
appointed initially and who had an attorney appointed at the secondary stage.
The Court signed this the ___________ day of February, 2004.
Menton Murray, Jr.
Judge, 103rd District Court
NOV DEC JAN
CHECKED INMATES ON WEEKLY LIST WHO SAY NO
343 432 422
INMATES WHO ALREADY HAD BEEN APPT ATY 306 319 306
INMATES WHO HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN ATTY 14 15 17
INMATES APPTED ATTY & FILED H/C 0 11 10
INMATES ALREADY RELEASED 17 52 57
INMATES ALREADY INDICTED 6 35 32