Travis County public defender office

The Travis County Courthouse in Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County has hired a University of Virginia law professor as the first person to lead its public defender office. Until last year, the county was the largest jurisdiction in the United States without an office to handle cases for poor adults accused of crimes.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County is in the home stretch in its yearslong effort to establish a public defender office for low-income adult defendants. The Texas Indigent Defense Commission on Thursday OK'd a four-year grant to establish the office in the county – the largest jurisdiction in the country without such an office.

The Travis County Courthouse in downtown Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a revised plan to set up a grant-funded office to provide legal services to low-income defendants.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County is one step closer to finalizing its formation of a public defender office for low-income defendants charged with certain felonies and misdemeanors. The Travis County Commissioners Court today OK’d the structure of the office’s seven-member oversight board, which will include attorneys, criminal justice advocates and former judges.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Travis County – the largest jurisdiction in the United States without a public defender office – is getting a public defender office.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Update:Travis County is one step closer to creating a public defender office that would handle felony and misdemeanor cases of low-income defendants who can’t afford a lawyer.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The effort to create a public defenders office in Travis County isn't dead after all.

At its board meeting this morning, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission OK'd a move to waive a requirement for a letter expressing interest in a $15-million grant to establish a public defender office in Travis County for adult felony and misdemeanor cases – something the county has tried and failed to do for decades.