Smith Co. commissioners uphold family court funding cut - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Smith Co. commissioners uphold family court funding cut

Posted: Updated:

TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Smith County commissioners today voted to reaffirm previous action to suspend payment of fees to hourly attorneys working on child protection cases within the 321st District Court.

County Judge Joel Baker presented information regarding $350,000 in transfers commissioners have made since May to pay attorney's fees. The transfers bring the district court's revised budget to $1.082 million for the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The district court utilizes seven contract attorneys who are paid $6,500 each month to represent children removed from homes, and two to represent indigent parents in those cases. Hourly attorneys are paid $75 an hour to handle "overflow."

Around 360 children have pending cases in the court.

On June 18, commissioners approved action notifying 321st District Court Judge Carole Clark they would not pay beyond what is owed to contract attorneys after July 18.

Attorney John Hardy, an attorney who represents parents on an hourly basis, told the court Judge Clark and attorneys are seeking a solution to the cost overruns. But he described the situation as a "conflict between judicial and family statutes" mandated by state law.

Commissioners are required to monitor the budget, while family statutes require attorneys to effectively represent children and monitor the case's progress, he said. Reducing the attorney pool would increase the workload for attorneys to the detriment of client representation, he said.

 

Hardy said he is confident the two sides can reach a compromise before attorneys file litigation against the county to ensure state family law mandates are followed.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Jacksonville Communications Officer Killed in One Vehicle Crash

    Jacksonville Communications Officer Killed in One Vehicle Crash

    Monday, April 14 2014 11:31 PM EDT2014-04-15 03:31:53 GMT
    SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) -- DPS says a woman is dead after a crash Monday afternoon.  It happened just before 2:00 p.m. at the intersection of Mixon Road and Yarborough Lane in Smith County.  At this pointMore >>
    A Jacksonville Police communications officer has died after a crash Monday afternoon.
    More >>
  • Family remembers Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties

    Family remembers Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties

    Thursday, April 3 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-04-04 02:35:25 GMT
    EFFINGHAM (WCIA)  -- One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in central Illinois. Family members say 37-year-old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary in Effingham.  Owens'More >>
    One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in central Illinois. Family members say 37-year-old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary in Effingham.More >>
  • UPDATE: Ferry was "too listed" for passengers to board lifeboats

    UPDATE: Ferry was "too listed" for passengers to board lifeboats

    UPDATE: Ferry was "too listed" for passengers to board lifeboats

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:12 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:12:41 GMT
    Jindo, South Korea (CNN) -- A South Korean captain, standing in handcuffs before reporters, defended his order to delay the evacuation of his sinking ferry, CNN affiliate YTN reported early Saturday. TheMore >>
    Passengers aboard the doomed South Korean ferry could not board lifeboats because the vessel had already listed too much, a crew member on the ship said, according to a radio transcript released Sunday.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2004 - 2014, WorldNow and KYTX, Owned and Operated by London Broadcasting Company.
All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.