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Office of the General Counsel

Sharon Felfe Howell, General Counsel
Sharon Felfe Howell
General Counsel

The Office of the General Counsel helps the Texas Department of Criminal Justice manage risk by providing competent legal services in a timely manner.

Contact:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Office of the General Counsel
Sharon Felfe Howell, General Counsel
PO Box 4004
Huntsville, Texas 77342
Phone: (936) 437-6700

Program Summary

The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) has three sections: Legal Affairs, Litigation Support, and Program Administration. Attorneys oversee the Legal Affairs and Litigation Support sections, while a program supervisor manages the Program Administration section.

Legal Affairs

The Legal Affairs section provides advice and counsel to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) regarding victim’s rights; employment law; purchasing, contracts, and real estate; and offender health care, sentence time calculation, parole, and community supervision matters. This section drafts formal and informal legal opinions for the TDCJ as requested. The Legal Affairs section provides advice about the Public Information Act, and seeks opinions and rulings from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) when necessary. The Legal Affairs section provides support regarding subpoena requests, expunctions, and renditions. This section also helps the OAG obtain documentation for federal habeas corpus litigation, and reviews affidavits in response to state writs of habeas corpus.

Litigation Support

The Litigation Support section acts as the liaison between the TDCJ and the OAG, and provides litigation support to the OAG. The Litigation Support section tracks and reviews all important lawsuits when the TDCJ or its employees are named defendants. Most of these lawsuits concern tort, employment, or offender civil rights claims. This section is involved with discovery and records production, answering interrogatories, coordinating trial and expert witnesses, and participating in mediations and settlements.

Program Administration

The Program Administration section is responsible for the overall administrative support of the OGC including fiscal management; divisional human resources support; the preparation of OGC policies and procedures; case management; and records retention and storage. This section also processes claims for damages involving the TDCJ’s property and schedules video teleconferences for the offenders’ legal proceedings.