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.’

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Claire Os­born cos­born@states­man.com Shawn Dick, Con­tact Claire Os­born at 2460040.

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.

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