A Hybrid Public Defender Office?

The Harris County Commissioner’s Court took a positive step toward justice.  Ensuring the accused are provided an adequate defense is not only a notion, it’s a right.  So, for the Court to vote unanimously on beginning the process of creating a public defender’s office shows that, at least in this case, they are seeking ways to alleviate overcrowding in the Harris County Jail.  Apparently, though, not all are very supportive, which is why this is called a “hybrid.”

The proposed system is called a hybrid because it would not be uniform through all state district courts. So far, only 11 of the 22 district courts have expressed interest in using the office for appellate cases, and five expressed interest in using it for adult felonies. However, two of the three juvenile court judges want to use a mix of public and private defenders, while all 15 county criminal courts-at-law favor a public defender for the disabled and those with mental health problems.

OK, so there seems to be a “here and there” attitude regarding its use.

Ultimately, I hope that all of these electeds have more than just overcrowding on the brain; or worse, that this be the only idea to serve as a possible fix.  The court system is still the court system, and many in our county jail are awaiting trial because of excessive bond amounts; so, I hope that more is done to decrease bond amounts as a means of alleviating overcrowding and the cost of jailing the accused and unconvicted.

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