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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
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Justice Delayed – Texas Supreme Court

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Consumer watchdog organization Texas Watch has released a new report called Justice Delayed that addresses the growing backlog of cases at the Texas Supreme Court. The report made the following findings:

The Court took an average of 852 days (2.3 years) to dispose of a case in the 2006-2007 term, an increase of 24% from the 2004-2005 term.

Justices took an average 416 days to write an opinion after the Court has heard oral arguments. This represents a 31% increase from 04-05 to 06-07.

Justices Wainwright and Johnson have fallen behind their colleagues’ output by routinely taking longer to write fewer opinions.

The Court’s backlog has steadily increased from 14 in fiscal year 2000 to 60 in FY2007, an increase of 328%.

The Court has left 72 cases pending for more than a year. An additional 31 cases have been pending for more than 2 years.

WFAA news in Dallas picked up the story and ran their own story.

These delays are a huge concern. Cases usually don’t reach the Supreme Court until they have gone through the trial court and then been heard by an intermediate appellate court. Thus, it’s usually one or two years from the time suit is filed before the case even reaches the Supreme Court. Adding in another year or more of delay is a tremendous burden on the parties involved.