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Public Defender Program may come to Victoria County

VICTORIA, Texas - It’s no secret that the right to legal counsel when facing charges can be a costly price tag -- now, Victoria County is considering some aid for this type of situation.

“Rather than appointing individual lawyers and paying them one by one, staff attorneys are hired to provide that representation.” says Edwin Colfax, grant manage wit TIDC who partners with TRLA.

TRLA, the Rio Grande Legal Aid a non profit organization-- who would provide lawyers-- a money saver for the county as well. But first, the commissioners must decide if this is feasible.

“If the county does implement a program like this, the state could potentially contribute 50 percent of the grants on an ongoing basis, which might make financial sense to the county.” adds Colfax.

Commissioners discussed what this could mean, even if the state provides grants-- and if this would in fact save the county tax payer money.

“We would need to be fairly confident that we’re saving at least $250,000” states County Judge Ben Zeller. 

All asking for more precise data to make a decision. 

“[There's] potential savings, however we’re still refining the data and taking a look at it with the commissioners so the projections are as accurate as we can make them.” say Colfax.

Local attorneys like Bill White expressed their concern for practicing lawyers in the Victoria area-- this type of program may push out lawyers like him, who practice privately.  


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