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The committee was established in 1994 to improve the representation of indigent Texans in criminal matters. Accordingly, the committee began by administering surveys to criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors, and judges before and after enactment of the Texas Fair Defense Act. The general conclusion reached was that the provision of legal services to indigent Texans could be significantly improved. To work to improve the quality of representation, the committee undertook several projects, including developing recommended standards for indigent criminal defense and creating guidelines for representation. Through collaboration with several statewide entities, the committee continues to address gaps and problems with indigent defense representation.

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