JAMES "Jim" BETHKE
Texas Attorney promoting rights and fairness in criminal justice
Get to know Jim Bethke
On October 28, 2019, Jim began serving as Director of the Harris County Justice Administration Department. This is a newly created Department and is designed to work with a broad spectrum of agencies to promote the aims of the fairness and equality throughout the criminal justice system. This will be accomplished by establishing trust, building consensus, and forming collaborative partnerships with local criminal justice stakeholders to achieve desired results. I will be responsible for providing oversight and coordination of quantitative and qualitative data regarding equity and equality within the criminal justice system and use the information collected to guide strategic solutions.
Jim Bethke served as the Executive Director and Chief Defender for the Lubbock Private Defender Office from 2017 to late 2019. This type of program provides jurisdictions with an option for delivering quality indigent defense services that affords more direct oversight and accountability of the defense function. It also relieves the judiciary of the administrative burdens of managing indigent defense. It has some of the benefits of a public defender office but relies on the private bar to provide direct client services. He also serves as Adjunct Professor at Texas Tech University School of Law.
From 2002 through 2017, Jim served as the Executive Director of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. The Commission is charged with implementing a statewide system of standards, financing and other resources for criminal defendants unable to hire attorneys. He serves on the Board of the Indigent Defense Research Association. He is a member of the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA). He chaired TCDLA’s Indigent Defense Committee in 2013 and 2014 and currently serves its Legislative Committee. He also is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2014, he received the Daniel H. Benson Public Service Award from Texas Tech University School of Law.
Nationally, he is a member of the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association (NLADA) and in December 2016 was appointed as NLADA’s representative to the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Advisory Committee (GAC). The GAC advises the nation's highest-ranking law enforcement officer-the United States Attorney General-on information sharing issues. He is also a past-chair of its Systems Development and Reform Committee. He is a former member American Bar Association’s (ABA’s) Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID) and past chair of its Indigent Defense Advisory Group.
In 2015, as part of an ABA initiative working through the International Criminal Justice Consortium he served as part of a team of legal experts from France, Spain, and the United States charged with conducting an independent review and assessment of the International Criminal Court’s legal aid system at the Hague. During the 81st Legislative interim, he served as the presiding officer of the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions. He is a past-chair of the Juvenile Law Exam Commission for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a Texas Bar Foundation Life Fellow. He is a U.S. Army veteran from the 101st Airborne Division, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler and the Texas Tech University School of Law.
TIDC Austin 2019
Lubbock High School Presentation 2019
LPDO Entire Staff 2019
Lubbock County DA 2019
NLADA Annual Conference Awards 2018
Crisis Intervention Team
Bexar County visits Lubbock 2019
Dept of Justice
Declaration of Independence Reading
LPDO Panel Attorneys
Law School Gala 2018
Global GAC 2018
Eagle Pass 2018
Mentoring Program 2018
TIDC Staff 2017
Texas Tech 2018
Golf Fundraiser 2018