News


January 2017 - OCA Released its Annual Statistical Report for the Texas Judiciary FY 2016

The Office of Court Administration released its annual statistical report for the judiciary with the following highlights:

  • The number of civil cases filed in the municipal courts, which account for over half of all civil cases statewide, decreased 11 percent, while the civil caseload in the other levels of court increased slightly;
  • The number of traffic and parking cases fell 37 percent from its peak in 2006 and is at the lowest level in more than 30 years - traffic and parking cases make up over 80 percent of the fine-only misdemeanor cases in the state;
  • The number of truancy cases fell 91 percent and parent contributing to nonattendance fell 71 percent on the heels of truancy reforms that went into effect at the beginning of the fiscal year;
  • The number of new family cases increased to the second highest level ever, driven mostly by post-judgment suits for modification or enforcement;
  • The number of new child support cases filed by the Office of the Attorney General and child protection cases were both up 14 percent;
  • The number of capital murder convictions (3) and death sentences (3) dropped to an all-time low;
  • Despite the fact that new misdemeanor cases have fallen 29 percent in the last ten years and is at the lowest rate since 1992, new misdemeanor drug cases increased 9 percent to a new peak;
  • Felony drug possession cases increased 7 percent and is up 28 percent in the last five years;
  • The number of misdemeanor and felony theft cases dropped 32 percent and 14 percent, respectively, with the misdemeanor thefts marking the lowest number in at least 30 years;
  • The case processing times for the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals fell to the lowest levels in the last decade (Supreme Court) and since 1989 (Court of Appeals); and
  • The number of opinions issued by the Court of Criminal Appeals increased 64 percent, pushing the time to process petitions for discretionary review slightly upward.

 

The week of November 7-11, 2016 is Municipal Court Week in Texas.

To celebrate Municipal Court Week, TMCEC, in collaboration with stakeholders across the state, has prepared a model resolution which allows city councils to publicly demonstrate their recognition of the importance of municipal courts, the rule of law, and the fair and impartial administration of justice.

In light of increased media focus on indigence issues, TMCEC believes now is the time for cities across the Lone Star State to reflect and rededicate themselves to the fundamental ideals which make up the proper foundation of local courts in Texas.

The resolution recognizes the important work of municipal courts and the people who work in the courts. It embraces the principle of judicial independence. It succinctly states the proper relationship between city council and the municipal court. It makes clear that in Texas, the procedures of municipal court operation are determined by state law, not the city council. Lastly, it is an opportunity for the city council to demonstrate their recognition of procedural safeguards for all defendants, including indigent defendants, and to show support of the municipal court in independently applying all laws in a way that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

TMCEC encourages all cities to adopt the attached model resolution in recognition of Municipal Court Week 2016. All cities that adopt the resolution and notify TMCEC of its adoption will be recognized by TMCEC in a future edition of The Recorder and the names of all cities adopting the model resolution will be shared with the Office of Court Administration.

TMCEC strongly encourages all cities in Texas to participate in and celebrate Municipal Court Week 2016.

If your city adopts the resolution, let us know by e-mail: info@tmcec.com.

 


 

OCA Issues New Report on Necessity of Court Costs in Texas (8/31/14)

Senate Bill 1908 (83rd Legislature, Regular Session) directed the Office of Court Administration to, not later than September 1, 2014, conduct a study of the civil and criminal court fees and costs, compile a list of those fees and costs and to determine the necessity of those fees and costs.

The compilation of court costs in Texas is a formidable task because of the piece-meal manner in which court costs and fees become law. Municipal judges, court staff, city attorneys and local governments are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the study’s observations and the criminal court cost list which is current and most comprehensive.

Study of the Necessity of Certain Court Costs and Fees in Texas - September 1, 2014

Civil Court Costs List

Criminal Court Costs List