Perez wants state to review court-appointed attorney process

Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 10:44pm

An El Paso County Commissioner says he wants a state commission to review the way the County of El Paso appoints private attorneys to serve as court-appointed counsel.

Speaking at a news conference Sunday morning, Precinct 3 Commissioner Vince Perez said his office has been examining the County's process for the last six months.

Perez said in fiscal year 2013, the County was $1.23 million, or 25%, over budget when it came to paying local private attorneys to represent indigent clients.

The Commissioner told NewsChannel 9 he also questions whether judges are being fair when it comes to selecting attorneys to serve in indigent cases.

"It's important that we have a system that's efficient, that's effective, because ultimately, it's taxpayer dollars that are used to pay for these services," he said.

Perez said he will submit a formal request to the State Indigent Defense Commission to review local practices and make sure County funds are being spent fairly and responsibly, giving all qualified attorneys an opportunity to perform indigent services.

The El Paso County Attorney's office told Local 4 Sunday it could not comment on Perez's news conference.

Perez said he will bring up the issue at Monday's Commissioners Court meeting.


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