Pro Bono

The Liberty Tree Program

FREE misdemeanor defense for clients with low or no income

Through the Liberty Tree Program (LTP), Mr. Clark devotes a portion of his practice to zealously defending—for free—low-income clients charged with misdemeanor crimes in Tarrant, Dallas, Denton, and Collin counties. Common misdemeanor charges in Texas include: Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Possession of Marijuana, Theft, Assault, Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon, and Failure to ID. The great majority of state law enforcement and judicial resources are spent on the prosecution and adjudication of misdemeanors. In the United States each year, prosecutors file an estimated ten-to-twelve million new criminal misdemeanor cases. Whatever its aims for justice are, the misdemeanor system in this country is significantly fueled by money.

Governments generate money with many types of defendant-driven revenues from misdemeanor cases including: booking fees, pretrial diversion fees, clerk costs, repayment of court-appointed attorney fees, court costs, assessments, fines, expunction fees, surcharges, and probation costs.¹ Governments increasingly rely on these types of offender-driven revenues, sometimes called “legal financial obligations” to fund ordinary system operations to expand the criminal justice system’s reach.² Unfortunately, low-income people dealing with misdemeanor charges often become trapped within this system as they are unable to pay these obligations. There is no equal justice in our system if the kind of trial a person gets depends on the amount of money he has.³

Mr. Clark may accept your case for the LTP if: (1) he has available openings in the program, and (2) you meet the program’s eligibility requirements. To apply for acceptance into the program, please complete the application on this page. Make sure to hit the “submit form” button at the bottom of the application. The LTP has no formal affiliation with Tarrant, Dallas, Denton, or Collin counties or any other government agency or court. Even if you are not accepted into the LTP, you may still qualify for a court-appointed attorney to represent you if the applicable court determines that you cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

FN1: Wayne A. Logan & Ronald F. Wright, Mercenary Criminal Justice, 2014 U. Ill. Rev. 1175, 1177 (2014).
FN2: Torie Atkinson, A Fine Scheme: How Municipal Fines Become Crushing Debt in the Shadow of New Debtor’s Prisons, 51 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 189, 195-96 (2016).
FN3: See Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 19 (1956).