Anyone at TDCAA, or any other one-person county attorney, have a list of all mandatory duties and responsiblities of a one-person county attorney?
This might be more simplistic than what you are looking for, but the Constitution just says "prosecute misdemeanors."
We are a small county, and until recently only had one elected, now we have two assistants, and our duties as assistants are approved by the commissioners' court. But for the elected, that's all we've gone by--he chooses to give legal advice to commissioners' court, but that is limited by his optional participation as far as he is concerned. Nothing we have been able to find says it is mandatory to do anything else.
What about all those other things like representing CPS (supposedly mandatory), and conducting mental commitments, and doing guardianships for the Adult Protective Services, and doing protective orders, and prosecution of JP cases, and doing Juvenile probation hearings,..... ad infinitum? Where did all this "other stuff" come from? What get's cut?
I think the Constitution (Art. V, sec. 21) says that all other duties besides prosecuting criminal cases shall be regulated by statute by the Legislature. I think that your list of fun activities are all set forth in various statutes.
I think that the slippery slope comes in on the level of civil representation that is provided. The government code does not give me any civil duties with regard to Hale County; however, I try to do things like draft contracts because it usually gives me a chance to interact some with members of the public on a professional level.
I think Jim's right - as usual! The lege has the authority to expand our duties, which they do. Then there are those duties, such as protective orders, that we are to pick up if the DA's office doesn't choose to do them. Juvie prosecution seems to generally be ours, also.
I also do the civil work for my county. In my opinion, while some of this is not statutorily mandated, it seems to be the "right" thing to do. After all, answering their questions IS my job, so why not finish the task and do the contract?
Next question...how do we find the hours in a day for this, for families, and for mental health?
Lisa L. Peterson
Nolan County Attorney
If you went to the Civil Seminar in Galveston, you've got in your materials a paper I wrote entitled "To Whom Do My Loyalties Truly Lie?". It covers mandatory and optional representation duties of county attorneys (addressed to the general audience, rather than those counties with special statutes), as well as some ethical considerations implicated by those duties (so you can get your self-study ethics). Hence, it would apply to you as a one-man operation. Also, Shannon (the famous Mr. Edmonds of TDCAA repute) has penned a comprehensive listing of mandatory and optional statutory duties of CAs and DAs. I'll bet he'd be willing to forward a copy to you if you contact him.
How can us sluggards who couldn't make Galveston get a copy of your paper? Thanks, Mike
E-mail me and I'll send it by reply. Also, I would give serious thought to calling the association and getting a copy of Shannon's tome.
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