County honored for innovative, money-saving juvenile defense program

GideonAwardFor immediate release Dec. 23, 2013

For media follow up, please contact Jim Fredricks at (936) 520-6098.

Montgomery County recently was honored by a state commission for its work to provide representation for indigent juvenile defendants, leading to reduced county costs for juvenile detention and better outcomes for the juveniles themselves, according to officials.
The Texas Indigent Defense Commission recently honored Montgomery County with its Gideon award; one of several local governments across Texas honored for meeting high standards for indigent defense. Counties are recognized based on how well their programs meet the principles of the Fair Defense Act and the American Bar Association’s Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System.
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Craig Doyal was one of several county officials invited to go to Austin to receive the award. He was one of the members of the court who voted to launch the program nearly three years ago. Also present at the award presentation were 284th state District Judge Cara Wood, 359th state District Judge Kathleen Hamilton, County Court-at-Law No. 4 Judge Mary Ann Turner, Director of Juvenile Detention Ron Leach, Juvenile Board Member and Judge Olen Underwood, and attorneys Bill Patillo and Chris Allen, two of three attorneys with whom the county contracted for the service. The third attorney is Carolyn Atkinson.
The program, in which the county has contracted with three attorneys to provide legal representation to indigent juvenile defendants, has been good for both taxpayers and juveniles, said Doyal, a candidate for county judge in the GOP March primary in 2014.
“They’ve done a great job in representing the indigent youth of our county, and they’ve done it at great savings to the taxpayers,” Doyal said.
The Contract Defender attorneys provide representation for indigent juvenile defendants in Montgomery County. If the juvenile qualifies for appointed counsel, the program attorney is assigned prior to the detention hearing.
According to a press release from the commission, the contracted indigent defense program is a one-year contract approved by the Juvenile Board for the Montgomery County, and attorney fees are paid by Montgomery County. After the initial award of the contract in 2011, the same attorneys have been awarded the contract in the subsequent years.
But according to Doyal and officials familiar with the program, the county’s expenditure on the program has yielded taxpayers savings well in excess of the expense.
According to data from the county provided for the award submission, the number of days juveniles have spent at taxpayer expense in the county’s juvenile detention center has been drastically reduced.
A comparison of the detention data before and after the launch of the program shows that the average daily population of juveniles held in the detention center has decreased from 38 to 32.
During the same period, the number of bed days used has decreased by 5,529 days. The state average cost per bed day is $162 per day. Montgomery County’s average cost per bed day is $100 – significantly lower than the state average cost. At the $100 per bed day rate, the savings to Montgomery County for this 32-month comparison period is $552,900.
“They have done an exceptional job,” Doyal said.
Ron Leach, the county’s director of Juvenile Detention, said the program has benefits for not only taxpayers, but the juveniles themselves and the broader community.
“The key benefit is that you have three defense attorneys who are all board certified in juvenile law, and all three are former juvenile prosecutors; they have an established working relationship with the juvenile department,” Leach said.
“We’ve always had this approach that we’re all going to work together to help these juveniles.”
The contract defender program identifies indigent juveniles more quickly and pairs them with an attorney to establish a plan for supervision, thus helping get them in front of a judge more quickly and reducing the need for detention. By doing that, it connects juveniles more quickly also with the consequences of their action.
“It expedites getting the juveniles through the system; the more immediate the consequences are, the better the impact this is going to have.”
Chris Allen, one of the three attorneys board-certified in juvenile defense who work under the contract, said the program only makes sense.
“We’re representing kids at their initial detention hearing; that didn’t always occur in the past,” Allen said.
“Now that we’re on board and there is a lawyer who can put a game plan together with the family, we can get them through their hearing faster than they have in the past.
“Folks like Commissioner Doyal had the foresight to see we could save the county money in the long run because we’re specialists.”

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For media inquiries or to speak with the commissioner, call Jim Fredricks at (936) 520-6098 or email jfredricks@thefredricksgroup.com

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Doyal files for Montgomery County Judge in GOP primary

DOYAL CITES EXPERIENCE, CONSERVATIVE VALUES AS HE FILES FOR COUNTY JUDGE

 

For immediate release Dec. 2, 2013

For media follow up, please contact the Craig Doyal Campaign at (936) 520-6098. Want to join us? Go to www.craigdoyal.com.

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Craig Doyal filed for Montgomery County Judge in the GOP primary Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. He is joined by Dr. Walter Wilkerson, chairman of the Montgomery County GOP.

Craig Doyal filed for county judge in the Republican Primary Monday, Dec. 2, saying his conservative values, his years of service to Precinct 2 and his leadership on regional projects had prepared him to serve all of Montgomery County as county judge.

“I love Montgomery County, have lived here all my life, and I share the great values of conservative government and responsible leadership that have made this one of the greatest places to live in Texas,” Doyal said.

Educated in Conroe ISD schools and a proud “Aggie,” Craig is married to wife Amy and has three children, 30-year-old Brian, 27-year-old Lindsey, 20-year-old Jennifer, and 7-year-old granddaughter, Laylee.

A native Texan and 4th-generation Montgomery County resident, Craig Doyal has served as Precinct 2 County Commissioner since August 29, 2001. Prior to holding the office of CountyCommissioner, Craig served for 15 years as the Administrative Assistant to Commissioner Malcolm Purvis, where he handled the day to day operations of Precinct 2.

“I grew up here and have spent my career in Montgomery County learning how this county operates and taking the lead on key projects, like the construction of the Fish Creek Thoroughfare, the expansion of FM 1488 through the pass-thru program, and acquisition of right of way for future thoroughfares. Those experiences have prepared me to handle the diverse challenges our county faces as we prepare for rapid population growth that is headed our way.”

Craig said he will focus on four key areas as county judge:

Responsible economic growth and development

“The county needs to take a thoughtful, conservative and responsible approach to ensure its infrastructure is prepared to cope with its rapid population growth, and I am prepared to do that.” Doyal has taken a leadership role on projects like the 249 Tollway (the Aggie superhighway), which will ease congestion and promote economic growth, and the Camp Strake project, which will provide a quality commercial and residential development on Conroe’s doorstep that will add millions of dollars to the county’s tax base without requiring much, if any, of county services.

Open and transparent service

Craig is committed to maintaining an open-door policy for all county residents and will push for transparency at all levels of county government.

Conservative values on budget, social issues

Doyal has voted repeatedly to keep the county tax rate flat, allowing the county’s expanding tax base to take care of its growth needs. He has opposed wasteful spending, and has supported responsible approaches to county facilities such as the Joe Corley Detention Center, whose sale generated $22 million for the county along with approximately $3 million in operating revenue, and now is permanently on the county’s tax rolls, generating annual revenues.

Protecting natural resources

Doyal has consistently opposed threats to our groundwater from projects like the controversial proposed wastewater injection well east of Conroe. He also is concerned about the county’s sole surface water resource, Lake Conroe, and will work to ensure it is protected from depletion as the cities of Conroe and The Woodlands turn to it to end their longstanding reliance on groundwater for their water needs.

As County Commissioner, Craig’s role in meeting the many challenges of a rapidly growing county have dramatically changed.  Today he works closely with county department heads to manage the expenditures of a $279 million budget and establish policies and procedures for the operation of county government.  Along with these duties, Craig works closely with the Texas Department of Transportation and other county and state officials to make sure our mobility issues are addressed countywide.

Commissioner Doyal has served as past Chairman of Houston Galveston Area Council and the county representative to the Transportation Policy Council, and currently serves as chairman of the SB1420 Committee that will determine funding options for portions of the proposed Grand Parkway and is the Montgomery County representative to the Gulf Coast Rail District.

Commissioner Doyal has served as a Montgomery ISD Board Trustee and a board member of the Montgomery County Committee on the Aging ‑ better known as “The Friendship Center”.  He was a “Meals on Wheels” volunteer for nine years, president of the Magnolia Parks Council and is a member of the South County, Magnolia, Magnolia Parkway and Conroe Chambers of Commerce. Craig is also a member of the Woodlands Rotary Club and a lifetime member of the Montgomery County Fair Association. Additionally, he is a longtime financial supporter of several area Republican groups.

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