Sheriff's Dept. gives report on citations issued in 2006

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Jim Wells County Commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with Bexar County for the appointment of a court appointed counsel on appeals.

Through the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense, the Bexar County Appellate Public Defender's Office will receive funding to allow the office to provide appellate representation for indigent defendants in the 32 counties of the Fourth District Court of Appeals. Jim Wells County is a member of the group.

In the pilot program, if district and county judges appoint the Bexar County office to handle indigent criminal appeals, which would be comprised of felonies, death penalty cases, Class B and more serious misdemeanors, they will be handled by the appellate staff free of cost during the 18-month trial period.

The court also approved a seismograph survey by Weems Geophysical, utilizing vibrators within the rights-of-way of 35 county roads in JWC.

The funding request on the agenda by La Paloma Emergency Medical was tabled, after representatives failed to show.

Commissioners said they wanted to speak to representatives in person, to go over both the types of services available, and to make sure the funding the county may provide would be able to provide basic and advanced life support.

The amount requested was yet to be agreed upon, although last year County Judge L. Arnoldo Saenz said the company requested $1,200 a month.

The court also agreed to allow Brodeur and Associates to check insurance polices to see if the settlements the county received several years ago were fair, and if there were any possible claims missed. The county settled several insurance claims 2 to 3 years ago, Saenz said, but there were some claims not addressed in the settlement, such as claims concerning water damage to the courthouse. Whatever issues are found in the next two months will be brought back to commissioner's court for consideration.

A presentation was made of the JWC Sheriff's Department Citation Statistics Report from January to December 2006. There were a total of 1,198 citations issued. When listed by race, 1,186 citations, or 99 percent were considered white. When divided by ethnicity, Hispanics represented the largest group at 1,001 citations. Male perpetrators made up 66 percent of the total, with 790, while 406 females were cited, comprising 34 percent.