Texas ACLU sues Travis County over people held in jail without a lawyer

The ACLU of Texas is suing Travis County over people being held in jail without a lawyer.

In 2022, the Travis County Sheriff's Office launched the Counsel at First Appearance, or CAFA, program, to help people who cannot afford representation at their first appearance in court.

The program only lasted nine days.


Sheriff Sally Hernandez blames the cramped space at the central booking facility, outdated technology and not enough staff for CAFA.

But the ACLU says there's a constitutional right to counsel at their first appearance in court.

Right now, Travis County is requiring people who cannot afford an attorney to attend their first court appearance without representation.