County to have its first defense lawyers’ group
Organizer hopes to come up with ways to communicate better with prosecutors. ‘there is fear that if we are organized, we will have unreasonable requests, but having worked both sides I think a lot can be done to help the process work better.’
A Georgetown lawyer has formed the first organization for criminal defense lawyers in Williamson County.
The initial meeting for the Williamson County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association will be sometime in January, said Shawn Dick, who started the group.
Dick, a former prosecutor for the Williamson County District Attorney’s office, said he expects some resistance to the association.
“Defense lawyers are seen as the enemy,” he said. “There is fear that if we are organized we will have unreasonable requests, but having worked both sides I think a lot can be done to help the process work better.”
Jana Duty, who takes office in January as the newlyelected district attorney, said “an organization like this could be effective in opening the lines of communication between the prosecution and defense.”
Criminal defense lawyers have raised issue with a variety of practices in Williamson County, including defendants having been released from jail before knowing the names of their court-appointed lawyers, Dick said.
The law requires lawyers to be appointed quickly if requested by defendants, but courts may not notify the lawyers until after defendants are released, Dick said.
Defense lawyers in Williamson County also encounter challenges because many of the law enforcement agencies in the county use different format styles in the recording of videos, he said.
“If you’re trying to make a clip of it to show to a jury,
Georgetown lawyer and former Williamson County prosecutor the videos are not done in a way that you can edit them or easily watch them,” Dick said.
The Williamson County Criminal Defense Bar Association is hoping to bring in around 50 to 75 members, he said.