Austin, February 6 – Representative Steve Toth (R-Conroe) introduced HB 1437 today that would create an additional judicial district in Montgomery County.
“If you look at the data, compared to other counties with similar populations such as Fort Bend and Williamson counties, Montgomery County is facing higher civil, family, and felony caseloads with fewer judicial courts,” Rep. Toth said.
At a Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting last November, court administrator Nathan Jensen presented a resolution from the County’s district and county court judges calling for the additional court. The Commissioners Court supported the resolution.
“Since 2008, the year the last court created in Montgomery County went into effect, total annual case filings in Montgomery County District Courts and County Courts at Law have increased by 10,000 cases…per year,” Jensen said, “While these Courts have implemented innovative and efficient methods for administering these cases during this time, the ability to dispose of the high volume of cases has been diminished, particularly in civil cases.
“In understanding that justice delayed is justice denied, and after ardent analysis of caseload statistics provided locally and at the State level, the District and County Court at Law Judges in Montgomery County adopted a resolution to request a new District Court be created during the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature.”
County Judge Mark Keough believes caseload growth justifies the additional district court that his predecessor similarly supported.
“The Constitution guarantees that all citizens have the right to a speedy trial. In our current situation defendants can wait many months or even years for disposition of their case,” Keough said, “Our district judges are doing an excellent job with caseloads. However, as we continue to grow, our caseloads justify an additional district court which I’m in full support of adding.”
The district court would come at a cost of about $900,000 per year to Montgomery County taxpayers, since courtroom and office space is already available, including operating expenses plus overhead and maintenance. The State would pay part of the judge’s salary.