83R8641 JRH-F
  By: Hinojosa S.B. No. 780
  relating to the prioritization of certain available legal defense
  services when appointing representation for an indigent defendant
  in a criminal case.
         SECTION 1.  Articles 26.04(f), (h), and (i), Code of
  Criminal Procedure, are amended to read as follows:
         (f)  In a county in which a public defender's office is
  created or designated under Article 26.044, the court or the
  courts' designee shall [may] appoint that office to represent the
  defendant, except that the court is not required to make an
  appointment under this subsection if:
               (1)  the court makes a finding of good cause on the
  record for appointing other counsel; or
               (2)  a managed assigned counsel program also exists in
  the county and an attorney will be appointed under that program [in
  accordance with guidelines established for the office].
         (h)  Subject to Subsection (f), in [In] a county in which an
  alternative program for appointing counsel is established as
  provided by Subsection (g) and is approved by the presiding judge of
  the administrative judicial region, a court or the courts' designee
  may appoint an attorney to represent an indigent defendant by using
  the alternative program. In establishing an alternative program
  under Subsection (g), the judges of the courts establishing the
  program may not, without the approval of the commissioners court,
  obligate the county by contract or by the creation of new positions
  that cause an increase in expenditure of county funds.
         (i)  Subject to Subsection (f), a [A] court or the courts'
  designee required under Subsection (c) to appoint an attorney to
  represent a defendant accused or convicted of a felony may appoint
  an attorney from any county located in the court's administrative
  judicial region.
         SECTION 2.  Article 26.044(c-1), Code of Criminal Procedure,
  is amended to read as follows:
         (c-1)  A written plan under Subsection (b-1) or a proposal
  under Subsection (c) must include:
               (1)  a budget for the public defender's office,
  including salaries;
               (2)  a description of each personnel position,
  including the chief public defender position;
               (3)  the maximum allowable caseloads for each attorney
  employed by the public defender's office;
               (4)  provisions for personnel training;
               (5)  a description of anticipated overhead costs for
  the public defender's office;
               (6)  policies regarding the use of licensed
  investigators and expert witnesses by the public defender's office;
               (7)  a policy to ensure that the chief public defender
  and other attorneys employed by the public defender's office do not
  provide representation to a defendant if doing so would create a
  conflict of interest that has not been waived by the client; and
               (8)  a policy that establishes circumstances
  constituting good cause under Article 26.04(f), such as attorney
  caseloads at the public defender's office, the distance that an
  attorney employed by a regional public defender's office would have
  to travel if appointed to the case, or any other circumstance that
  the commissioners court or courts consider appropriate.
         SECTION 3.  The change in law made by this Act applies only
  to a criminal proceeding that commences on or after the effective
  date of this Act. A criminal proceeding that commences before the
  effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect when the
  proceeding commenced, and the former law is continued in effect for
  that purpose.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.