Criminal Justice

Claims of indigence by criminal defendants aren’t taken at face value in this county

McLennan County, Texas, has seen fewer requests for free defense lawyers since it began dispatching a sheriff’s detective to investigate claims of indigence.

Cathy Edwards, who is indigent defense coordinator for the county, tells the Waco Tribune requests for court-appointed lawyers have dropped by about 40 percent.

Detective Eric Carrizales makes home visits to check out the applicants. His work has not only cut down on applicants, it has also led to several arrests, the story says.

Two people have been charged with tampering with a government document for alleged lies about their assets. And more than 20 arrests were made after Carrizales visited homes and discovered fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants.

Edwards said some people are refusing court-appointed lawyers because they don’t want an officer in their homes. Others are adding information to their forms after meeting with Carrizales.

Hat tip to A Public Defender and Socialist Gumshoe.

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