Voucher Recommendation Committee
2023 Committee Members
- Chair: John Robertson
- President of SACDLA
- Place 1: Joseph Esparza
- Place 2: Judy Wemmert
- Place 3: Monica Guerrero
- Place 4: Jennifer Zarka
- Place 5: Brian Powers
If a judge requests guidance on how to proceed in authorization of a voucher for payment or bill submitted by an attorney, an investigator, or a court appointed expert, he/she may forward the voucher or bill in question to the General Administrative Counsel for the Criminal District Courts for referral to the Voucher Recommendation Committee. This committee was formed to assist in pay voucher review on court appointed cases. This committee can also review vouchers where the judge has already disapproved all or part of the requested amount of payment. In this case, the voucher can be referred to the General Administrative Counsel for the Criminal District Courts by the judge, defense attorney, investigator, or expert, and the General Administrative Counsel for the Criminal District Courts will request review by the Voucher Recommendation Committee.
The Voucher Recommendation Committee is composed of members of the local defense bar, 1 of whom is the current president of the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association. Members of the committee are selected by the current president, and their names are submitted for approval by a majority vote of the Criminal District Court Judges. Members serve 2 year terms. The committee has limited investigatory powers, such as access to jail records to verify jail visits, contact with the attorney who prepared the voucher, and requests to the attorney to produce information to corroborate claims on the voucher. The committee then makes non-binding recommendations in writing to the judge presiding over the voucher. If the voucher involves an attorney and the attorney is not satisfied with the outcome, he/she may still pursue the statutory remedy outlined in Article 26.05(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Regardless of whether an attorney’s voucher has been reviewed by the voucher recommendation committee or not, an attorney whose request for payment is disapproved may appeal the disapproval by filing a motion with the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region, as provided under Article 26.05(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This motion must be filed within 21 days from the date the attorney receives notice of the disapproval of payment.
On the filing of a motion, the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region shall review the disapproval of payment and determine the appropriate amount of payment. In reviewing the disapproval, the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region may conduct a hearing. Not later than the 45th day after the date an application for payment of a fee is submitted, Bexar County shall pay to the appointed counsel the amount that is approved by the presiding judge of the administrative judicial region and that is in accordance with the adopted fee schedule.