District Court Judge Alicia Franklin, the subject of a criminal complaint alleging she broke the law by billing for more than 24 hours of work in a single day as a court-appointed lawyer in Child Protective Services cases, has explained the high hours by saying she was billing for work done by associates and support staff.
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Vaught said he itemizes bills for private clients so they know what they are being charged for and said he would expect the same, or higher, standards for taxpayer-funded work. His predecessor, Houston family lawyer Sherri Evans, the immediate past chair of the family law section, noted that the statute says “shall” rather than “may.”
Arlington-based family lawyer Toby Goodman, a former state representative who authored the 2003 bill that put that family code provision into place, said he has no problem with court-appointed lawyers billing for work done by associates or support staff but would expect it to be meticulously itemized and for the rates charged to be different for work done by the lawyers versus work done by their associates and staff, as it is in the private sector. “If this particular judge is billing 24 hours out a day for her time and it’s not broken out, that’s inappropriate,” he said.
“If the story is that this is what everybody does, that doesn’t make it right,” she [Sherri Evans] said. Evans, the immediate past chair of the family bar, said she believes the system as it exists now is being abused and needs to be fixed.
If a teenager in my home gets caught plagiarizing others’ work on a take-home history test from school, would I accept this defense?
I would expect even a 14 year old to know right from wrong and she would still be grounded at my house no matter who else was doing the same, unethical thing.