A new Harris County felony court will open Sept. 1 after decades of population growth and no new criminal district judges.
The addition comes as judges, prosecutors, administrators and defense attorneys battle a massive backlog in the criminal courts, with almost 98,000 docketed cases near the end of July. Almost 54,000 of those cases were felonies, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
The 22 existing felony judges are each juggling an average of 2,392 cases on their dockets, county data shows.
Gov. Greg Abbott on June 18 signed the existence of the 482nd district court into law. He has not yet selected a judge, and the 11th Administrative Judicial Region of Texas will make a jurist available until an official appointment takes place, said Harris County district court administrator Clay Bowman.
All of the current felony judges are elected Democrats, meaning Abbott could appoint a lone Republican to the bench.
“Will appoint a Republican”, you mean. That person will very likely be voted out next November. There are already going to be a lot of contested Democratic primaries for the judicial positions. This one will surely draw a crowd as well, it just won’t be against a Democratic incumbent.