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Commissioners Approve Resolution Requesting Creation of Court at Law 2 in Rockwall County

(ROCKWALL, TX – January 9, 2019) The creation of a second County Court at Law in Rockwall County was among the topics discussed by the Commissioners Court during its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

The Commissioners Court approved the following resolution requesting the 86th Texas Legislature to create a County Court at Law 2 in Rockwall County:

“Whereas the Rockwall County Commissioners Court recognizes the need for the creation of a County Court at Law 2 to administer the existing and forecasted caseload of the Rockwall County judicial system as a result of significant growth within the communities comprising the county and;

Whereas the civil and criminal filings in all courts are at their highest levels ever, without any indication of reduction in the future; and

Whereas the Office of Court Administration’s analysis indicates the Rockwall County Court at Law 1 currently exceeds the statewide average caseload; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Commissioners Court of Rockwall County:

  1. urges our State Representative Justin Holland and our State Senator Bob Hall to immediately file and present House and Senate bills creating a County Court at Law 2 in and for Rockwall County, Texas.”

According to an analysis by the OCA, case filings for the county’s district courts from 2014 to 2018 increased by 33 percent. Civil case filings jumped from 571 in 2014 to 830 in 2018, while criminal case filings increased from 1,572 in 2014 to 2,635 in 2018.

Overall, the Rockwall County Court at Law 1 has seen an increase in case filings of 55 percent in the last four years, with misdemeanor case filings rising 20 percent in the past year alone.

“Speaking to the need for this second Court at Law, it’s my understanding that there are several surrounding counties that have two Courts at Law with less cases than our one Court at Law has here,” said Commissioner Lee Gilbert.

“It’s no surprise that with the growth the county has experienced that it’s absolutely time to take action on this and do our part,” said County Judge David Sweet.

Commissioner Dennis Bailey noted that while there’s a definite need for a second Court at Law, it will likely have a significant impact on the 2019 budget moving forward; Operational expenses for the current County Court at Law outlined in the 2019 budget total a little less than $950,000.

“There’s going to be a significant increase in the budget moving forward with this,” Bailey said.

The 86th Texas Legislative session officially kicked off on Tuesday, Jan. 8 and will conclude on May 27, 2019. Members of the Texas House and Senate have until March 8, 2019 to file bills.

In other action, the Commissioners Court unanimously approved:

  • A crossing agreement with Farmers Electric Cooperative for overhead utility lines across Stage Coach Road, located approximately 1,000 feet east of FM 548 in Rockwall County
  • An interlocal agreement with Franklin County for housing Rockwall County inmates, when necessary, at a cost of $45 per day per inmate

The Commissioners Court will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the downtown Rockwall Historic Courthouse at 9 a.m.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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