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County likely to renew public defender agreement

May 21, 2011

Capital murder cases can end up costing county governments a significant amount of money, so Howard County commissioners have purchased an insurance policy of sorts to help keep those costs down in the future.

When they convene at 10 a.m. Monday, commissioners are expected to renew an agreement with Lubbock County which provides public defenders for capital murder defendants.

The agreement, which costs Howard County $13,000, has been in effect for three years. And while there hasn't been a capital case here in that time, County Judge Mark Barr justifies the expense by likening it to insurance — it's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

“What it basically is, is an insurance policy,” Barr said. “Thank goodness we haven't had to use it, but it's a good thing to have.”

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