The program officially began operations earlier this month and is temporarily housed at TRLA’s Sinton branch office. Headed by veteran TRLA attorney Sita Stone, the program will provide free legal services to low income clients facing criminal charges. TRLA already provides low income residents with free legal services regarding civil legal matters such as child custody, divorce, housing and employment.
According to TRLA Executive Director David Hall, “Money shouldn’t be required to have justice. By opening this new program, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is going to ensure that local residents have access to the best attorneys, regardless of their income.”
The new public defender program is funded with the support of the Bee County Commissioners Court and the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense. TRLA estimates that it will help more than 1,500 low income clients with their criminal matters every year in Bee County alone. The program is the third public defender office opened by TRLA in the last four years.
Hall added, “In these tough economic times, there is nothing more important than ensuring legal rights for the poor. With the support of Bee County, TRLA is going to ensure that low income Texans continue to have access to justice.”
Established in 1970, TRLA is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low income Texas residents by providing high-quality legal assistance and related educational services. For more information on Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Inc., visit www.trla.org.