Paxton Attorneys’ Fees Mandamus #5

In the fifth appellate proceeding about payment of attorneys’ fees in the prosecution of Attorney General Paxton, the Fifth Court disapproved of a local rule that allowed a judge to depart from the standing fee schedule in particular cases (and thus here, for the payment of the prosecutors pro tem in the Paxton matter): “Rule 4.01B thwarts what we perceive to be the objectives of the [applicable] statute, which are to ensure by means of a duly adopted schedule that (1) appointed attorneys––in this case the prosecutors pro tem––are paid a fair, but not excessive, fee and (2) the commissioners court, which is tasked with the responsibility of settling and directing payments of accounts against the county, can more accurately project the expenses of a fiscal year and budget accordingly. By adopting local rule 4.01B, the Collin County judges partially abdicated to the individual judges the responsibility delegated to them collectively to determine the reasonable fee for appointed counsel and rendered illusory the legislative requirement of setting and applying a fee schedule.” In re Collin County, Texas, County Commissioners, No. 05-17-00634-CV et seq. (Aug. 21, 2017).

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