NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodBrazos County

Actions

Brazos County public defenders take nearly 500 cases in first year

The Brazos County Public Defender’s Office has been open for a year, trying cases in the courtroom and connecting clients to community resources.
Posted at 5:07 PM, Mar 29, 2024

BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — The Brazos County Public Defender’s Office has been open for a year, trying cases in the courtroom and connecting clients to community resources.

  • The office has taken on 485 cases in the last year, ranging from drug offenses and DWI’s to aggravated assault.
  • In addition to representing the clients legally, the office also connects clients to community resources they might need, like affordable housing options and substance abuse services.
  • Chief Public Defender Nathan Wood said they have been operating with four attorneys and are planning to add two more in the next few months.

BROADCAST SCRIPT:

On March 18, 2023, the Brazos County first Public Defender’s Office opened its doors.

“March 18 is a significant day in the world of indigent defense because it's the anniversary of the landmark United States Supreme Court case that guarantees the right to counsel to anybody that's charged with a crime that they can be jailed for in the United States," Nathan Wood said.

In the last year, chief public defender Nathan Wood and his office have represented hundreds of clients, taking on 485 cases.

“It gets our clients out of the criminal justice system as quickly as possible and move into services and programs that will hopefully reduce the possibility of recidivism in the future," Wood said.

Behind those 485 cases are people with their own stories.

“We have referred 21 people to substance abuse services. Two clients that we referred to the sexual assault Resource Center," Debbie Batten said. “I’ve referred six clients for pregnancy services. I've referred a couple of people to Blinn.”

Debbie Batten is a case worker for the Public Defender’s Office, connecting clients to community resources they might need.

“What's neat is referring these people to local agencies, so even when they're done with us, it's teaching them there is help out here. So when you get into trouble, contact these agencies, they're there to help you," she said.