Local attorneys who do indigent defense work for district courts in Grayson County can expect a little more in their pay envelopes in 2019. This week Grayson County commissioners gave tentative approval to an increase in the amount of money the county pays those attorneys.
Over all, the increase is expected to cost the county around $25,000 in Fiscal Year 2019.
The approval isn’t set in stone yet because the county won’t approve the final budget until the end of September, but commissioners have approved the suggested increase.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the increase approved will mean an attorney doing office work on an indigent case can expect to receive $60 an hour for the minimum pay. Additionally, such an attorney providing in court representation for an indigent case can expect to see an increase from $75 to $85 an hour for the minimum pay for that work. Judges have discretion to increase that pay based on the work the complexity of the case.
Magers said it is hard for the commissioners to know, each year, how much money to budget for indigent defense. One big murder case can end up costing the county additional thousands of dollars and there is really no way to adequately prepare for that. He said they work with the district judges to pick a number everyone thinks will suffice. Then if something happens and they get hit with a big case, they may have to supplement it later.
The Grayson County District Attorney’s Office currently has a number of murder cases pending.