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					                                  JOURNAL
TEXAS ASSOCIATION FOR COURT ADMINISTRATION
                 PROFESSIONALS MANAGING TEXAS COURTS
                            Volume 31 Number 1, January 2007
                                            2007 TACA Board of Directors
KRISTY L. SMITH, CHAIR                                               BRANDI LOYA                                                                             BOB WESSELS (Ex-Officio) - PDP
Court Coordinator                                                    Court Coordinator                                                                       Court Manager
County Criminal Court #10                                            County Court at Law #3                                                                  Harris County Criminal Courts at Law
401 W. Belknap                                                       P.O. Box 10536                                                                          1201 Franklin, 7th Floor
Fort Worth, TX 76196                                                 Lubbock, TX 79408                                                                       Houston, TX 77002
office: 817-884-3423                                                 office: 806-775-1309                                                                    office: 713-755-5394
fax: 817-212-3040                                                    fax: 806-775-1559                                                                       fax: 713-755-8931
e-mail: klsmith@tarrantcounty.com                                    e-mail: bloya@co.lubbock.tx.us                                                          e-mail: bob_wessels@hctx.net

LINDA KELLUM                                                         RANDY WALKER
Court Coordinator                                                    County Criminal Court #8
88th District Court                                                  401 West Belknap
PO Box 607                                                           Fort Worth, TX 76196
Kountze, TX 77625                                                    office: 817-884-3403
office: 409-246-5151                                                 fax: 817-884-3364
fax: 409-246-5194                                                    e-mail: rwalker@tarrantcounty.com
e-mail: babok3k@aol.com

GRACIE HERRERA                                                       ED WELLS (Ex-Officio), TREASURER
Court Coordinator                                                    Clerk
384th Impact Court                                                   14th Court of Appeals
500 E. San Antonio, Rm. 1003                                         1307 San Jacinto, 11th Floor
El Paso, TX 79901                                                    Houston, TX 77002
office: 915-546-8192                                                 office: 713-655-2840
fax: 915-546-8103                                                    fax: 713-650-8550
e-mail: gherrera@epcounty.com                                        e-mail: ed.wells@14thcoa.courts.state.tx.us




                                                                                       CONTENTS
From the Chair....................................................................................................................................................................................................................1
From the Past Chair .........................................................................................................................................................................................................2
TACA Financial Report ...................................................................................................................................................................................................2
Board Candidate Thank You Letters .....................................................................................................................................................................3
2006 TACA Conference Overview ..........................................................................................................................................................................5
Scholarship Committee Report ................................................................................................................................................................................7
News from the Membership Committee ...........................................................................................................................................................8
Congratulations .................................................................................................................................................................................................................8
Coordinators Across the State Win Elections .................................................................................................................................................9
TACA Committee Sign Up Sheet .............................................................................................................................................................................9
2007 TACA Committee List ......................................................................................................................................................................................10
Courtools - Trial Court Performance Measures ..........................................................................................................................................12
Policy Perspective ............................................................................................................................................................................................................14
Survey of Texas Judges Who Hear Misdemeanor DWI Cases ......................................................................................................... 20
Texaslawhelp.org Doubles Content and Quadruples Number of Visitors During 18-month Grant Project ........ 23
Direct Electronic Filing in Criminal Cases........................................................................................................................................................ 24
2007 Calendar of Events ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 26
   FROM THE CHAIR
                                                          and      members
                                                          who spent their
   Happy New Year TACA Membership!                        time and energy
                                                          helping to make
    First of all, I would like to thank each of you       this organization
for your support and confidence in electing me            what it is today.
as Chair of this great organization. I promise            Much respect and
that I will not disappoint the membership and             appreciation is
will always keep TACA’s best interests in mind            given to Bob Wessels
when making decisions. I am excited to start this         for helping to guide
journey and hope that I can make a difference             the Board and
over the next year.                                       organization over
                                                          the past 30 years.
    Since 1976, TACA’s purpose and mission has
been to encourage and promote continuing                      Now, to our
education and maintenance of professional                 members – during
standards for Court Administration in the State           our Annual Conference, Joe Peraino stated
of Texas, and to aid in identifying the individual        that there are three kinds of people: Those who
needs of Texas Courts and their administrative            make things happen, those who watch what
personnel in improving the administration of              happened and those who wondered what
justice. We, as board members, must have an               happened. Which one are you? This organization
understanding of what our founders wanted for             is full of court administrators and coordinators
the organization; however, we must also focus             that make things happen within their courts and
on where the organization needs to go in the              counties. How about stepping up to the plate
future.                                                   and giving back to the organization that stands
                                                          for everything you do every day?
    Sandra Day O’Conner once said, “We need
to promote the concept of management in                      I look forward to representing our organization
the courts as a noble calling. Both the art and           across the state and building relationships along
the science of management are essential                   the way!
ingredients in ensuring the administration of
justice”. As our positions as court administrators
become more and more complex, we must
keep abreast of the latest techniques and
practices across the state. TACA does this                   Kristy Smith
through the annual conference, our quarterly
publication The Journal and primarily through
the encouragement of networking and unity
among our members. However, we need to
take it a step further - focusing on the future of
the courts and our roles in the interdependence
and independence of the judiciary.

    I am thrilled to be part of this organization
and to be able to work with some of the most
humble, committed and driven coordinators in
Texas. Thank you to John Warren, Ed Wells, Gracie
Herrera, and Linda Kellum for your dedication
over the past year to the organization. I would
also like to thank all of the committee chairs                    2007 New Board Members being Sworn In.


                       TEXAS ASSOCIATION     FOR      1    COURT ADMINISTRATION
                                  FROM THE PAST CHAIR
    Greetings to all!                                       Elliott to the position
    I want to thank the members of this great               of District Clerk in
Association for allowing me to serve as Chair.              Fort Bend County.
It has been an experience that I will remember              I sense that is this is
and cherish for many years to come. Traditionally,          only the beginning
the Chair serves two one year terms. I have                 of new leadership
mixed emotions about not being able to follow               throughout the
that tradition, having a desire to help move                State.
TACA forward, and having to move on to other                     Our conference
opportunities. However, I am content in knowing             this year in Corpus
that our Association is in great hands, and will            Christi was one of          Gracie Herrera and John Warren
                                                                                      accept award for their service to the
serve the counties and courts well.                         the most successful                  TACA Board.
    Court administration has become the                     that TACA has had.
infrastructure for pursuing justice in our courts. We       Our membership has grown, as well as conference
play a major role in our positions. Let us always           attendance: both are indicators of a bright and
be reminded that to a large degree, we hold                 promising future. So it is with a great sense of
justice in our hands. What will we do with it? I            sorrow that I bid you all farewell. As Tommy, Annie
hope that the members of this Association will ask          and I, set off in a new direction we know our paths
themselves this question each time they deal with           will lead us back home to TACA.
irate individuals, nervous pro se litigants, as well             To the Chair, Kristy, thank you for your support
as attorneys that come to the courthouse. I ask             and friendship. To the Board of Directors, I wish
each of you to remember that we are the face of             you much success – do what your heart tells you
justice to our community. Let us serve them well.           is best for TACA. To my friend and colleague Ed
    I am proud of the leadership that has risen             Wells, your success is certain. To our friends at Sam
from this Association. Great men and women                  Houston, Sharese and Vanessa, you helped make
have been lifted to a higher calling because                it happen. Finally, Mr. Wessels, I will still seek your
TACA has instilled in each of them leadership skills        infinite wisdom and guidance for years to come.
and the desire to serve on a larger scale. As the
newly elected County Clerk of Dallas County, I’m                Best regards,
proud to be among those individuals. This year
TACA celebrates the election of several members
to public office: Tommy Munoz was elected as
Justice of the Peace in Brazos County and Annie                 John Warren



             TEXAS ASSOCIATION FOR COURT ADMINISTRATION
                          FINANCIAL REPORT
                          NOVEMBER 15, 2006

   TACA Checking Account          Balance                       $24,304.08

   TACA Savings Account           Balance                       $10,009.85

   TACA Scholarship Account Balance                             $ 6,315.05
   (Good Will Scholarships)

   These amounts reflect balances after 90% of the Conference expenses have been paid.

                         TEXAS ASSOCIATION     FOR      2     COURT ADMINISTRATION
              BOARD CANDIDATE
                                              Thank You                        LETTERS

TACA Members:
    Wow, it doesn’t seem like it has been five years since I was appointed
to TACA’s Board of Directors. Time flies when you are having fun. During
those five years I have made many new friends and I have seen TACA
continue to grow and promote the professional administration of courts
in Texas. I can’t thank you enough for supporting me through two
elections. The other board members I have had the privilege of working
with should be proud of the many accomplishments of the past few
years.
    A few highlights during the last five years…

       In the time I served on the Board, TACA developed a presence
       on the World Wide Web by creating the TACA website at
       www.mytaca.org. The website serves as a way of communicating
       with TACA members, judges, vendors, and the world. It includes
       information on everything about TACA including the by-laws, operating policies, Board members,
       conference information, electronic versions of the most recent Journals, and more. The website
       is updated frequently and will continue to grow.

       TACA established a relationship with the Correctional Management Institute of Texas (CMIT)
       at Sam Houston State University. CMIT provides secretariat services to TACA assisting with
       membership services, publications, and annual education conferences. This venture has been
       very beneficial to TACA and I am sure that TACA will continue to reap the benefits of that
       relationship.

       TACA’s Annual Education Conferences continue to grow and improve every year. Building on
       lessons learned and seeking input from attendees, the conferences contain education designed
       to provide the required continuing education hours and to help members grow in their jobs. The
       curriculum developed includes topics of interest within the state and nationally.

     None of these would have been possible without the hard work of the Board and the many members
who contribute to everything that TACA accomplishes. Involved members are the strength of any
professional organization. Please take the opportunity to join a committee and make a difference. You
will meet other members, learn from them, and make friends that will last a lifetime. Don’t pass up this
opportunity.
     Now that my tenure on the Board is over, I look forward to serving as TACA’s Treasurer and thank the
Board for their confidence in me. This is an important position in TACA and one that I take very seriously.
I will work to help the Board make wise use of the TACA monies. Without carefully considered planning,
we cannot attain the goals of the organization. I thank you again and look forward to seeing all of you
soon.

Ed Wells




                        TEXAS ASSOCIATION     FOR   3    COURT ADMINISTRATION
                 BOARD CANDIDATE
                                                   Thank You                           LETTERS

TACA Members:
   As my first term of Board member has come and gone, I am again humbled
and honored that you have allowed me to continue for the next two years. You
have given me the opportunity to keep learning. I am here to serve you.
   Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Gracie Herrera



     Wow, I can not believe how fast time goes by! It is another year for our
Association and I am excited about what the new year brings! Now I fully
understand how difficult it is to get back into the daily grind of setting hearings,
answering the never ending phone calls, dealing with attorneys and pro se
parties who are always in a good mood, etc. I know that all of that stress makes
you immediately go back to the relaxation techniques that we learned at our
TACA conference. I can see you right now with your shoulders dropped, arms
hanging down, eyes closed, your head tilted way back and some of you even
had your mouths open you were so relaxed…well, wake up and hang with me
for just a second and then you can return to your other world, that is until your
phone rings again. I just wanted to take a moment to express how much I truly
appreciate the confidence each and everyone of you have placed in me by
electing me to the TACA Board. I understand that I am the rookie and have a
lot to prove, but I give my word that I will work hard and strive to accomplish all
the goals that we set for this year. I understand that I have a lot of challenges
ahead of me, but I look forward to doing my best and making you proud. TACA
is in a good place now that many of you have stepped out of your comfort
zone this year and signed up for committees. I am excited at the commitment
that some of you have shown and the suggestions that each of you have given.
We have so many talented and creative people in this awesome Association
that there is no telling the new heights we can soar to. If you have not had a
chance to sign up for a committee I urge you to do so; it is never too late, and
your ideas alone could be what this organization is in need of! Thanks again to
all of you. I appreciate you and look forward to working with each of you. Have
a great and blessed day. Now you can go back and relax - hurry quick before
the phone rings!

Brandi Loya



    I am humbled by the support you have shown, in electing me to the Board
of TACA. I promise I will always strive to prove your faith was well founded.
The interest of the members shall always be foremost in my thoughts and
decisions. I have no doubt that we will continue to prove why TACA has been
the vanguard of court administration in Texas for the past thirty years, and will
remain there for the next thirty.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to volunteer for a
committee, send in an article to the Journal, or get involved in some aspect of
the Association. It is the member participation that powers TACA.

Thank you,
Randy Walker
                           TEXAS ASSOCIATION        FOR    4   COURT ADMINISTRATION
                            2006 TACA CONFERENCE OVERVIEW
                                             by
                       Sharon Jaquess, 2006 TACA Conference Co-Chair
     TACA’s 2006 Annual                                                                           & Kristy Smith of
Education Conference                                                                              Tarrant County,
held in Corpus Christi, Texas,                                                                    Judge John Peyton
was indeed a celebration                                                                          & Connie Jones of
marking 30 years of                                                                               Dallas County, and
growth and development                                                                            Judge Ann McClure
for court administrators,                                                                         with Valerie Olivas
court managers and                                                                                & Connie Telles-
coordinators in the great                                                                         Odom of El Paso
State of Texas. Attending                                                                         County. They all did
this year’s conference were approximately 210                   outstanding jobs and their time and effort are greatly
members and over 50 of them were new members                    appreciated.
or first-time attendees. Participation is crucial to make            A highlight of the conference was presented
each conference the success it was in 2006. Maintain            by the extremely talented Dr. Joe Peraino, who not
                                    your interest in TACA       only entertained the membership with his humor, but
                                    and continue to be          enriched us with his wisdom in techniques for time and
                                    in attendance—also          stress management. Everyone loved Dr. Joe!
                                    encourage others to              The sessions on Ethics, Security, Technology and
                                    join!                       Developing a Rapport with the District Clerk rounded
                                         The program            out the breakout sessions. Gilbert Sanchez was
                                    this year focused           outstanding in his presentation of establishing and
                                    on “Getting Back            maintaining good
                                    to Basics” and the          relations with our
                                    responsibilities and        district clerks. Repeat
purpose of the Court. This core competency tool                 performers, Honorable
highlighted improving a court’s performance. The                Laura Weiser and
conference began with a reflection on the history of our        Honorable Barbara
State courts and an environmental survey conducted              Walther spoke to
by Carl Reynolds of                                             the group on ethics.
the Office of Court                                             Judges Walther and
Administration. The                                             Weiser are great
information and                                                 contributors to the TACA organization and we continue
knowledge offered                                               to appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication. A
by Mr. Reynolds is                                              basics course on using Excel was well-attended, and
important to TACA                                               special thanks goes to our presenters in technology,
as an organization                                              Jeannette McGowan & Amelia Jernigan. Doug Smith
and for individual                                              gave us essential tools in his session on the Spanish
growth in our careers. He has pledged to do his                 Survivor Kit. TACA members were encouraged and
part to bring unity to the efforts of TACA and the              motivated by Ruby Lehrmann in her plenary session
OCA, which will greatly strengthen our organization.            on Success Motivation. Ed Wells was again a popular
Take an opportunity to get to know his strengths by             choice in his breakout session on the Focus on the
reading his newly developed publication “CourTex”, a            Future of TACA. Ed has a special way of encouraging
Texas Judicial Branch newsletter. The first issue will be       members to participate and let their voices be heard.
                                    published this Fall.                                               The      social
                                         In “Getting                                               highlight of the
                                    Back to the Basics”,                                           conference was our
                                    the      breakout                                              dinner aboard the
                                    sessions in caseflow                                           USS Lexington. This
                                    management were                                                historical World War
                                    presented by our                                               II vessel, dubbed
                                    talented judge-                                                the “B lue Ghost”,
                                    coordinator teams:                                             was a delight to all
                                    Judge Phil Sorrels                                             who participated.
                           TEXAS ASSOCIATION       FOR      5    COURT ADMINISTRATION
Attendees enjoyed                                                                                   help by handing
the delicious King                                                                                  out      materials
Ranch chicken                                                                                       and introducing
provided by Salinas                                                                                 speakers. There are
Catering,           the                                                                             many behind-the-
individual tours                                                                                    scenes members
available aboard                                                                                    who work tirelessly
ship, as well as the                                                                                and with great
IMAX film on fighter                                                                                enthusiasm at our
pilots. A special                                                                                   conferences. Please
round of applause goes to the sponsor of the Lexington          consider getting involved and you will be surprised at
event, Thomson – West, without whom the event would             the joy you receive.
not have been possible.                                             To the conference workers of El Paso, a great big
     During the business meeting, members re-elected            thank you for all the hard work done in soliciting the
Gracie Herrera of El Paso to the Board of Directors,            wonderful and exciting prizes that were raffled at the
elected Kristy Smith of Fort Worth as Chair, and elected        business meeting. Wow! Your teamwork has paid off
new board members Randy Walker of Fort Worth and                for another year in bringing in the monies collected for
Brandi Loya of Lubbock to serve beginning in 2007.              scholarships.
John Warren expressed his pleasure in serving TACA as               As always, we appreciate our secretariat from
Chair and as a board member and promised to stay                Sam Houston State University, Sharese Hurst. Sharese
involved with TACA activities as he pursues his political       will be taking on
dream of Dallas County Clerk. Ed Wells will continue            more responsibilities
his contributions and talents as Treasurer. Linda Kellum        at Sam Houston.
will serve another year on the Board and promised to            Her trusted and
continue as liaison for membership. A heartfelt thanks          able assistant at
goes to each of these members for volunteering their            the conference,
time and talents.                                               Vanessa Farmer,
     Special recognition                                        will be assisting
goes to Cathy Burnett, this                                     TACA in the future
year’s recipient of the highly                                  for conferences and publications and other needed
coveted Justice Charles W.                                      assistance. Welcome, Vanessa!
Barrow Award. Cathy was                                             It is the aim and desire of TACA’s Board and
rendered speechless and                                         conference chairs to develop and present annual
overcome with emotion as                                        conferences that not only educate the members
she was recognized as one                                       on the core competencies, but also entertain and
of TACA’s long-standing                                         provide a time of relaxation for all. Being on the coast
contributing and hard-working members. She has                  in the beautiful Omni Bayfront and Marina Towers
taught PDP for over 15 years, as well as having single-         helped to cinch that goal with the relaxed and inviting
handedly organized and developed the vendor                                                         atmosphere. We will
participation for the TACA Annual Conference for                                                    be in San Antonio
                  many years. Congratulations, Cathy,                                               next year at another
                  on this outstanding honor.                                                        gorgeous Omni
                      Another special award for TACA                                                Hotel. The board
                  Member of the Year went to Jerome                                                 will be meeting
                  Coleman, whose name is well-known in                                              in January for the
                  the Association because of his tireless                                           Action Planning
                  energy and commitment to TACA as                                                  meeting in Huntsville,
                  the Membership chair.                                                             so contact me as to
                      A special thanks from Cynthia                                                 specific educational
                  DeJean and myself to all of the               topics within our core competencies that you have
                  conference committee members who              enjoyed and would like to have again. Also, the
helped to make this year the success it was. Sylvia             social events are to entertain TACA members. Let the
Noriega and Shannon McFarland were responsible                  conference committee know what you would like to
for the wonderful door prizes this year. Special thanks         do, and we will do our best to make it happen. Again,
to Randy Walker, Patricia Bustamante, Joel Espinoza,            I urge you to find a committee that interests you and
Gloria Ellis, Sherry Brown, Jerome Coleman, Elisa Avila,        get involved. TACA is your Association! Thanks for your
Sylvia Buitron, Karma Roberts-Ragster and many                  ear.
other members who stepped up and volunteered to
                           TEXAS ASSOCIATION       FOR      6    COURT ADMINISTRATION
                          SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE REPORT
                                                   by
                                             Gracie Herrera
     This year TACA awarded the following scholarships       Necklace, Gilbert Sanchez from El Paso County won a
to its members:                                              Coke Laptop Bag and a Flat Screen TV, Sandra Garcia
     Sylvia Noriega - Honorable Paul Ferguson                from El Paso County won an Antique Pickle Caster,
     Scholarship                                             Yolanda Short from Taylor County won a Portable DVD
     Cynthia DeJean - Founders Scholarship                   Player, Isidro Sepulveda from Hidalgo County won a
     Jacqueline Strauss Gonzalez – Founders                  DVD Player, Santa Franco from Jones County won a
     Scholarship                                             Camera Photo Studio, Kristy Smith from Tarrant County
     I want to encourage all members to apply for            won $200 cash, Josefina Alfsen from El Paso County
scholarships. TACA                                           won an IPOD.
provides this benefit                                            Congratulations to all of the above!
to its membership,                                               My goal this year was to meet and/or exceed what
so be sure to take                                           we had done last year which was $2,000.00. Although
advantage of it!                                                                                this year we had
If you have any                                                                                 a more items we
questions about                                                                                 unfortunately did
the scholarship                                                                                 not meet it. Our
program, pleas e                                                                                total this year was
contact myself or                                                                               $1,746.00. There was
Valerie Olivas, the Scholarship Committee Chair.                                                a year-long effort
     The winners of our 2nd Annual Scholarship Raffle                                           in obtaining these
held at the TACA Annual Conference in Corpus Christi                                            raffle items. Please
are:                                                                                            support TACA and
     Sherry Brown from Tarrant County won Airline            our scholarship efforts by purchasing raffle tickets next
Tickets, Jo Ellen Stephens from Orange County won            year! I thank all of you who helped in manning the
a $100 Dillard’s Gift Card, Bobbie Moore from Denton         table and those of you who came up and donated
County won a Men’s Watch and a Pen Set, Trisey               items.
Eubanks from Collin County won a Topaz Stone,                    Please help me in the coming next year. I am open
Sylvia Arrieta from El Paso County won a Turquoise           to suggestions.



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                         TEXAS ASSOCIATION      FOR      7    COURT ADMINISTRATION
                      NEWS FROM THE MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
                                                       by
                                                 Jerome Coleman
     I hope everyone had a great time in Corpus Christi.           may access the membership application online at
The Education Co-Chairs and their Committee are to                 www.mytaca.org. Be sure to put your e-mail address
be commended. There were a total of 211 Members                    on the application, along with the person that referred
attending the conference. Out of that 211, there were              you and encourage your Judge to become a Judicial
40 first time attendees. This is the highest number of first       member.
timers in TACA history! The Membership Committee                       Membership would also like to send out special
would like to give a great big thank you to Local                  congratulations to the following members: Kathy
Government Solutions and Smart Start for sponsoring                Grange (25 yrs), Martin Allen (30 yrs) and Bob Wessels
our First Time Attendees Reception. Linda Kellogg,                 (30 yrs). Kristy Smith & Margo Wells were in the running
Gloria Puente, Christie Kersten, Amy Lechuga, Kristina             for our new member recruitment contest. Due to a tie,
Sauceda, Brenda Arp, Susie Saenz, Bruno Acevedo,                   the winner was drawn from a hat and Margo Wells
Judy Bell, Dawn Ryle, Shelby Felmey, Jackie Wortman,               was the recipient of the $100 cash prize. The contest is
Sandy Hickman, Jan Brazelton, Elena DeAnda, Toy                    open to all of our members, so get out there and start
Moore, Lea Peebles, Glenda Taylor, Thelma Lopez,                   recruiting for next year.
Beatrice Castillo and Irvin Hicks were the lucky                       Once again, I would like to thank the Membership
recipients of our door prizes.                                     Committee (Linda Kellum, Estella Alegria-Garza, Nora
     After the elections, our new board consists of Kristy         Anderson, Sherry Brown, Jessica Carrizales, Barbara
Smith (Chair), Linda Kellum, Gracie Herrera, Brandi                Conley, Margaret Flores, Rebecca Gonzalez, Elviara
Loya, Randy Walker and John Warren (Past Chair). We                Leal, Shannon McFarland and Myrna Salcido). A
have a total of 505 members to date. Please remember               special thanks to Sharese Hurst, our Secretariat for a
that dues come up for renewal in January. Reminder                 job well done. Remember TACA is your Organization
cards will be sent out at the end of December. You                 and “TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT WORK”.


                                          CONGRATULATIONS!!
      The following members were acknowledged at the Annual Conference for their tenure with
                           the Texas Association for Court Administration.

    5 Year Members                                                    10 Year Members
    Suzanne Blake                                                     Sylvia Arrieta
    Dawn Callow                                                       Margie Brooks
    Melissa Fowler                                                    Cathy Carson
    Lupe Gutierrez                                                    Annie Rebecca Elliott
    Peggy Inglet                                                      Lilly Fanning
    Connie Jones                                                      Rita Peterson
    Savannah Maurer                                                   Kristy Smith
    Sue Anne Pitcock                                                  Karen Warr
    Donna Ramos                                                       John Warren
    Sandra Rubio
    Christina Torres
    Sherri Tutt

    15 Year Members                                                   20 Year Members
    Cathy Burnett                                                     Cheryl Coffman
    Regina Green                                                      Georgina Enriquez
    Cindy Hall                                                        Jeanette Thomas
    Becky Henderson                                                   Chris Glasgow
    Grace Herrera                                                     Dominga Hernandez
    Myrna Montano                                                     Dottie McDonald

    25 Year Member                                                    30 Year Members
    Kathy Grange                                                      Martin Allen
                                                                      Bob Wessels

                            TEXAS ASSOCIATION        FOR       8    COURT ADMINISTRATION
            COORDINATORS ACROSS THE STATE WIN ELECTIONS
                                                 by
                                            Kristy Smith
Two of our TACA members will be moving on to              four children.
bigger and better things as of January 1st, 2007.             Annie’s decision to seek public office was a
                                                          thoughtful one based upon her desire to give back
               JOHN WARREN                                to a community that had held her in good stead
     Most of our members know him as the TACA             for so long and because of the problems that she
Chair for the past year. As of January 1st, John          had witnessed first hand while working for Fort
Warren’s new job title                                    Bend County. She hopes to show the citizens that
will be that of the Dallas                                effective leadership can help not only the courts
C o u nty Clerk. Besides                                  and the attorneys, but the public in general, by
being busy moving TACA                                    smoothly flowing cases through the courts without
into a new direction, John                                wasting time, resources and money. Annie states,
has been campaigning for                                  “I was always raised to believe that you should
the past year and a half.                                 work hard, treat people with dignity and respect,
During the primary, John                                  and you should never ask an employee to do
was up against 3 other                                    something you would not do yourself.”
democratic candidates,                                        Over the next few years, Annie will be able to put
along with the republican                                 her philosophy to work. She was elected the new
incumbent and another                                     District Clerk of Fort Bend County on November 7th
r e p ublican candidate.                                  with 54.04% of the vote. Congratulations Annie!
After there was not a majority vote, John was
in the runoff with his democratic opponent. He
won 56% of the vote. Then it was time to focus             TACA COMMITTEE SIGN UP SHEET
on beating the incumbent. After many months
of hard work, John won the general election by             I am interested in volunteering for the
an overwhelming 52.10% of the vote, earning his            following committees:
new title as County Clerk.                                 ____    CURRICULUM COMMITTEE
     We applaud John for his efforts and sincerely
thank him for his contribution to our organization         ____    MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
over the past 10 years. John has promised to remain        ____    NOMINATIONS COMMITTEEE
actively involved in TACA and to encourage his
                                                           ____    PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE
new employees to become members.
                                                           ____    SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE
               ANNIE ELLIOTT
                                                           Name: _____________________________________
     Annie is the Court Coordinator for County
C o u rt at Law #3 in                                      Court:______________________________________
F o r t Bend County.                                       Address: ___________________________________
She has been a TACA
member since 1997.                                         Phone: _____________________________________
On October 16, 2005,
Annie announced                                            Email: ______________________________________
her intention to seek
election for the position                                             Please submit request to:
of Fort Bend County                                                       Kristy Smith, Chair
District Clerk. A proud                                                   Court Coordinator
native Texan, Annie                                                   County Criminal Court #10
lives in Richmond with                                                      401 W. Belknap
her husband and their                                                  Fort Worth, Texas 76196

                        TEXAS ASSOCIATION    FOR      9    COURT ADMINISTRATION
                                  2007 TACA Committee List
                                             Susie Saenz                                     Gloria Puente
  CONFERENCE COMMITTEE                       Brooks County, 79th Judicial Court              Willacy County, 197th District Court
                                             361-325-5604                                    956-689-6250
Board Liaison                                                                                gagpuente@yahoo.com
Brandi Loya                                  Jackie Struss
                                             Harris County, 295th District Court             Nelly Sanchez
Cynthia DeJean, Co-Chair                     713-368-6466                                    Cameron County, County Court at Law #3
Harris County, 133rd District Court                                                          956-574-8136
713-368-6195                                 Karen Warr
Cynthia_dejean@justex.net                    Shelby County, 123rd & 273rd District Courts
                                             936-598-9928
                                             Manager123rd@msn.com
Sharon Jacquess, Co-Chair
Hood County, 355th District Court
                                                                                               PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE
817-579-3233
sjaquess@co.hood.tx.us                                                                       Board Liaison
                                                MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE                         Randy Walker
Nora Anderson
Cameron County, 197th District Court                                                         Christie Kersten, Chair
956-574-8150                                 Board Liaison
                                             Linda Kellum                                    Tarrant County, 360th District Court
                                                                                             817-884-2899
Sylvia Buitron
341st District Court                         Jerome Coleman, Chair                           cskersten@tarrantcounty.com
956-523-4329                                 Denton County, Probate Court
                                             940-349-2140                                    Sharon Jacquess
Aleida Castillo                              Jerome.Coleman@dentoncounty.com                 Hood County, 355th District Court
Maverick & Dimmit Counties                                                                   817-579-3233
830-758-1730                                 Bruno Acevedo                                   sjaquess@co.hood.tx.us
                                             Starr County, County Court at Law
Jerome Coleman                               956-487-8502                                    John Warren
Denton County, Probate Court
940-349-2140                                                                                 193rd Civil District Court
                                             Nora Anderson                                   214-653-6998
Jerome.Coleman@dentoncounty.com              Cameron County, 197th District Court
                                                                                             jwarren@dallascourts.org
                                             956-574-8150
Dana Cotherman
Nolan County, County Court at Law
325-235-2353                                 Sherry Brown
                                             Tarrant County, 323rd District court
Courtcoordinator03@yahoo.com
                                             817-838-4647                                      SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE
Mary DeGues                                  sbrown@tarrantcounty.com
Bexar County, Civil District Courts                                                          Board Liaison
210-335-2300                                 Aleida Castillo                                 Gracie Herrera
maryd@bexar.org                              Maverick & Dimmit Counties
                                             830-758-1730                                    Valerie Olivas, Chair
Socorro Herrera                                                                              El Paso County, Family Law Court #1
Cameron County, County Court at Law #1       Cynthia DeJean                                  915-546-3859
956-544-0855                                 Harris County, 133rd District Court             volivas@epcounty.com
                                             713-368-6195
Juanita Malanders Aguilar                    Cynthia_dejean@justex.net
Angelina County, County Court at Law #1                                                      Sherry Brown
936-639-2204                                                                                 Tarrant County, 323rd District court
                                             Gloria Ellis
jmalanders@angelinacounty.net                Oldham County, 222nd District Court             817-838-4647
                                             806-364-7222                                    sbrown@tarrantcounty.com
Melinda Mata
Webb County, 111th District Court                                                            Jerome Coleman
956-523-4230                                 Iltze Garcia
                                             Cameron County, County Court at Law #3          Denton County, Probate Court
Shannon McFarland                            956-574-8136                                    940-349-2140
Tom Green County, District Courts            igarcia@co.cameron.tx.us                        Jerome.Coleman@dentoncounty.com
325-659-6569
Shannon.mcfarland@co.tom-green.tx.us         Melinda Mata                                    Chris Glascow
                                             Webb County, 111th District Court               Taylor County, County Court at Law
Sylvia Noriega                               956-523-4230                                    325-674-1208
District Courts, Tom Green, Concho,                                                          Glasgowc@taylorcountytexas.org
Runnels, Coke, Sterling, Irion, Schleicher   Shannon McFarland
325-659-6569                                 Tom Green County, District Courts
Sylvia.noriega@co.tom-green.tx.us                                                            Christie Kersten
                                             325-659-6569                                    Tarrant County, 360th District Court
                                             Shannon.mcfarland@co.tom-green.tx.us            817-884-2708
Monica Nunez
Harris County, 270th District Court                                                          cskersten@tarrantcounty.com
713-368-6405                                 Bobbie Moore
                                             Denton County, Statutory County Courts
                                             940-349-2100                                    Sally Ryan
Gloria Puente                                                                                Dallas County, 303rd District County
Willacy County, 197th District Court         Bobbie.moore@dentoncounty.com
                                                                                             214-653-7611
956-689-6250
gagpuente@yahoo.com                          Sylvia Noriega                                  sryan@dallascounty.org
                                             Tom Green, Concho, Runnels, Coke,
Karma Roberts-Ragster                        Sterling, Irion, Schleicher, District Courts    Denise Spalding
Panola County, 123rd District Court &        325-659-6569                                    Denton County, 158th District Court
County Court at Law                          Sylvia.noriega@co.tom-green.tx.us               940-349-2320
903-693-0315                                                                                 Denise.spalding@dentoncounty.com
K48ragster@yahoo.com


                               TEXAS ASSOCIATION          FOR     10 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
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                               TEXAS ASSOCIATION   FOR   11 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
          COURTOOLS - TRIAL COURT PERFORMANCE MEASURES
                 MEASURE 3: TIME TO DISPOSITON
     Courts have long sought a set of balanced                COSCA CASE PROCESSING                     ABA CASE PROCESSING
and realistic performance measures that are                   STANDARDS                                 STANDARDS
practical to implement and use. The ten Courtools             Civil:                                    Civil:
performance measures were designed by the                     Non Jury Trial - 100% within 12 months    90% within 12 months
                                                              Jury Trial - 100% within 18 months        98% within 18 months
National Center for State Courts to answer that
                                                                                                        100% within 24 months
call.
     The National Center developed Courtools by               Criminal                                  Criminal
integrating the major performance areas defined               Felony - 100% within 180 days             Felony:
by the Trial Court Performance Standards with                 Misdemeanor - 100% within 90 days         90% within 120 days
relevant concepts from other successful public                                                          98% within 180 days
and private sector performance measurement                                                              100% within 1 year
systems. This balanced set of court performance                                                         Misdemeanor:
measures provides the judiciary with the tools                                                          90% within 30 days
to demonstrate effective stewardship of public                                                          100% within 90 days
resources. Being responsible and accountable is
                                                              Juvenile:                                 Juvenile:
critical to maintaining the independence courts               Detention Hearings: 100% within 24 hrs.   Detention hearings: 100% within 24 hrs.
need to deliver fair and equal justice to the                 Adjudicatory or Transfer Hearings:        Adjudicatory or Transfer Hearings:
public.                                                       -in detention - 100% within 15 days       - in detention - 100% within 15 days
     The Texas Association for Court Administration           -not in detention - 100% within 30 days   - not in detention - 100% within 30 days
has chosen to highlight Measure 3: Time to
Disposition during this issue of the Journal.                 Domestic:                                 Domestic:
     Definition: The percentage of cases disposed             Uncontested - 100% within 3 months        90% within 3 months
or otherwise resolved within established time                 Contested - 100% within 6 months          98% within 6 months
frames.                                                                                                 100% within 1 year
     Purpose: This measure, used in conjunction
with Measure 2 Clearance Rates and Measure                                           Method:
4, Age of Pending Caseload, is a fundamental                       This measure should be reviewed on a regular
management tool that assesses the length of                   (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annual) basis. If reviewed
time it takes a court to process cases. It compares           regularly, the court can observe trends as they
a court’s performance with local, state, or                   develop, then aggregate the data for annual
national guidelines for timely case processing.               reporting.
When the underlying data conforms to the State                     For each case type, the first task is to compile
Court Guide to Statistical Reporting, the measure             a list of all cases that were disposed or otherwise
takes into account periods of inactivity beyond               resolved during the reporting period. For the
the court control (e.g., absconded defendants,                purpose of this measure, “disposed or otherwise
cases suspended pending decision on an                        resolved” is defined as having had an Entry of
appeal) and provides a framework for meaningful               Judgment. If the data for the measure is not
measurement across all case types.                            available in automated form, and data collection
     The case processing time standards published             requires manual review of case files, then the
by the American Bar Association (ABA) and                     measure will likely need to be taken on an annual
those published by the Conference of State                    basis. Sampling is an option in courts where case
Court Administrators (COSCA) provide a starting               volumes are high.
point for determining guidelines. Many states
and individual courts have adopted their own                             Which Cases Are Included?
guidelines, and certain case types (e.g. juvenile)                There are two kinds of cases for which the
have been the focus of more detailed guidelines               time to disposition can be computed. The first are
by a variety of organizations. Courts should take             typical cases that move through the system without
note of existing guidelines and rules of court in their       interruption. When these cases are disposed or
jurisdiction when developing their own guidelines             otherwise resolved by Entry of Judgment during
for each case type.                                           the reporting period, they should be counted.

                          TEXAS ASSOCIATION      FOR      12 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
The filing dates for these cases will vary, but what         of probation, or due to failure of parents to comply
qualifies them for inclusion is the fact that the            with a court order. When these reopened cases
disposition dates all fall within the reporting period       are disposed during the reporting period, they
(e.g., the calendar year).                                   should be included in this measure. In all these
    The second kinds are cases that had their                examples, the time that is counted starts when
progress interrupted and underwent a period of               the case is reopened, not with the date of the
inactivity, but were reopened or reactivated by              original filing.
the court and disposed of during the reporting                    Cases that are in an official period of inactivity
period. An example of this is a contract case                at the end of the reporting period should not be
that is placed on Inactive Status pending the                included in this measure. As this type of case is
outcome of bankruptcy proceedings. Following                 considered to be among the court’s Inactive
those proceedings, the contract case resumes                 Pending cases at the end of the reporting period
and is disposed. Another example is a criminal               (i.e., they are not moving toward disposition for
case in which the defendant absconds after the               a known and legitimate reason and the court is
case was filed. The case is placed on Inactive               aware of this), they should be excluded from the
Status during this time, but when the defendant              analysis. Active Pending cases are excluded from
is apprehended and returned to court, the case               analysis, since no disposition has been reached.
resumes and is disposed.
    Cases in which judgment was previously                      This information was re-produced and
entered but which have been reopened due to                  obtained from nscsonline.org and was originally
a request to modify or enforce existing judgments            created by the National Center for State Courts,
are also included. For example, the court might              300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, Virginia.
grant a motion to consider newly discovered
evidence, and this reopens a case. In juvenile
cases, a case might be reopened due to violation




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                         TEXAS ASSOCIATION       FOR     13 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
Policy                                          Te x a s P u b l i c Po l i c y Fo u n d a t i o n



                                        Perspective
                                                                                                                   May 2006




      How to Avert Another Texas Prison Crowding Crisis
                 by Marc Levin Esq., director of the Center for Effective Justice


Introduction
                                                                          Policy Recommendations
From 1968 to 1978, Texas’ population increased by
19 percent while the prison population grew 101 per-             Reduce Probation Revocations to Prison
cent to 22,439.1 This laid the groundwork for the rul-                Require that all probation departments and judges
ing by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice in                   adopt progressive sanctions model
1980 in the Ruiz v. Estelle case, which found that                    Shorten probation terms to terminate probationers who
overcrowding in Texas prisons created inhumane                        have met obligations
conditions that violated inmates’ rights under the 8th                Legislatively limit probation revocations for nonviolent
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, even                     new offenses, such as minor drug possession that
by 1988, the Texas prison system had only 39,664 in-                  would not otherwise result in prison
mates. Today, the prison system is at capacity with
over 150,000 inmates.2 From 1988 to 2004, the state’s            State Jail Confinees Eligible for Supervised Release
prison population has grown by 278 percent while the                  Allow state jail confinees to apply for parole through
state’s overall population has only risen by 35 percent.              the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
                                                                      Release selected state jail confinees exhibiting good
If policies are not changed to reduce prison inflows,                 behavior to probation
House Corrections Chairman Jerry Madden estimates
                                                                 Drug Sentencing Reform
that another 14,000 prison beds will be needed by
2010.3 The Legislative Budget Board projects that                     Reduce offense levels for possession of small quantities
7,270 of these beds will be needed by 2008 and                        of drugs
10,976 by 2009.4 Although the Texas Department of                     Empower judges to consider factors other than quantity
Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has indicated the greatest                    in sentencing
need is in the more expensive medium and high secu-                   Expand drug courts and judge-ordered mandatory treat-
rity units, even assuming these new beds were allocated               ment and counseling as alternatives to incarceration
equally among units of varying security levels, the state             Increase availability of residential and outpatient sub-
would incur prison construction costs of $1.24 billion                stance abuse treatment facilities
over the next several years.5 This is in addition to an-
nual operation costs of $224 million that would be as-           Leasing New Beds from Private Operators
sociated with 14,000 new beds. And today, the state has               Use short-term leases in lieu of building any new state
a shortage of approximately 2,500 prison guards.6                     prisons or jails
                                                                      Select private operators with full range of prison and
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE                                                reentry services




        900 Congress Ave., Suite 400   Austin, TX 78701 (512) 472-2700   Fax (512) 472-2728     www.TexasPolicy.com

                        TEXAS ASSOCIATION           FOR     14 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
How to Avert Another Texas Prison Crowding Crisis                                                                May 2006


                                                               opposed to committing a new offense—it is even
    If policies are not changed to reduce                      more striking that felony technical revocations have
                                                               declined from 3,638 in the first quarter of 2005 to
    prison inflows, House Corrections                          2,893 in the first quarter of 2006, a 20.48 percent
    Chairman Jerry Madden estimates                            drop. If these trends continue, Texas would achieve a
    that another 14,000 prison beds will                       3,000 annual reduction in the rate of increase of the
                                                               prison population, substantially reducing the antici-
    be needed by 2010.                                         pated need for new prison beds. However, the 80th
                                                               Legislature can do even more to reduce statewide
                                                               probation revocations to prison.
Due to the specter of another federal court takeover of
the state prison system, the current and future crowd-                   Incarceration      TDCJ
ing crisis cannot be solved through putting more in-           Fiscal     Population       Operating
                                                               Year      (End-of-Year)     Capacity    Number Percent
mates in each cell or pitching tents. Similarly, TDCJ
has already taken very creative administrative meas-           2005          151,676         150,834     842        0.6%
ures to fully maximize the capacity at each unit. For-
                                                               2006          152,604         150,834    1,770       1.2%
tunately, there are policy changes that can reduce or
eliminate the need for these new beds without endan-           2007          154,720         150,834    3,886       2.6%
gering public safety.                                          2008          158,104         150,834    7,270       4.8%

Probation Reform                                               2009          161,810         150,834    10,976      7.3%

One in 20 Texans are on probation and probation                2010          165,324         150,834    14,490      9.6%
revocations are a significant component of the state’s
prison overcrowding problem. Some 37 percent of                A large percentage of revocations continue to come
prison intakes and 41 percent of state jail intakes are        from Harris and Dallas County, where the progressive
revoked probationers, resulting in $547 million in             sanctions model is not being fully implemented. In
direct incarceration costs.7 The 79th Legislature of-          Harris County, for example, each of the 21 criminal
fered the 121 local probation departments additional           district court judges runs their own probation docket
funds to hire new probation officers if they would             and only six have committed to using progressive
agree to implement progressive sanctions, which re-            sanctions, even though Harris County received its
duce revocations by responding to each probation               share of the new money. The Legislature should insist
infraction with measured punishments, such as in-              on full cooperation and note that judges may be re-
creased reporting requirements, a curfew, or a shock           ferred to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct if
night in jail. In addition to graduated punishments,           they do not follow state law, including conditions for
progressive sanctions programs also offer positive in-         administering probation that are tied to the receipt of
centives, rewarding probationers who meet terms of             state funds. The Legislature could also simply require
their agreements, such as paying restitution, holding a        probation departments with probation populations
job, and successfully completing counseling and treat-         over a certain threshold that refused the funds to take
ment, with early termination from probation.                   the funds and implement progressive sanctions.

In the first quarter of 2006, we have seen a 12 percent        During the interim, the House Corrections Committee
decrease in felony probation revocations from the              is refining House Bill 2193, the vetoed probation re-
departments which accepted the new money and im-               form measure that passed last session. A key feature
plemented progressive sanctions. As a result, state-           of the bill is shortening Texas’ probation terms,
wide felony probation revocations declined from                which at up to ten years are the longest in the country.
6,306 in the first quarter of 2005 to 5,569 in the first       By shortening probation terms, revocations to prison
quarter of 2006, a 11.69 percent drop.8 Since progres-         will be reduced in several ways. First, those no longer
sive sanctions most directly reduce technical revoca-          on probation will not be at risk of revocation for a
tions—revocations for violating terms of probation as          technical revocation such as missing a meeting or



2                                                                               TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION

                       TEXAS ASSOCIATION          FOR      15 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
May 2006                                                            How to Avert Another Texas Prison Crowding Crisis



failing a drug test. For example, Dallas County Dis-           Parole or Probation for State Jail
trict Judge Keith Dean revoked Tyrone Brown to                 Felons
prison for life simply for testing positive for mari-
juana while on probation.9 Second, since most revo-            In 1993, the Legislature revised the state’s criminal
cations occur in the first few years that a person is on       law code and established a new felony offense class,
probation, releasing longtime probationers who have            state jail felonies. The Legislature shifted low-level
met their obligations will free up additional supervi-         drug and property offenders (previously nonviolent
sion resources to focus on closely monitoring and              Class A misdemeanors and third-degree felons) into
disciplining the remaining probationers who need the           this category. While 78 percent of offenders con-
most attention. Travis County Probation Department             victed of a state jail felony offense are sentenced to a
Director Geraldine Nagy has developed an innovative            term of probation, most of the remaining offenders
matrix for classifying probationers based on their             are sentenced to a period of incarceration in one of
original offense and socialization level so that the           Texas’s 17 state jails, which currently house 14,755
Department can target each probationer with the most           confinees.11 However, over half of those confined in
appropriate type and degree of supervision.                    state jails have been convicted of at least a third de-
                                                               gree felony and have been transferred there due to
                                                               capacity issues and/or because they will be released
   Travis County Probation Depart-                             from the state jail.12
   ment Director Geraldine Nagy has                            While state jail felons can only be sentenced to a
   developed an innovative matrix for                          maximum of two years in a state jail, they, unlike
                                                               other felons, are ineligible for parole or release
   classifying probationers based on
                                                               through mandatory supervision as a result of good-
   their original offense and socializa-                       time credits. Therefore, although state prisoners on
   tion level so that the Department                           average serve only 47 percent of their sentences, state
                                                               jail felons serve 100 percent of their sentences, with
   can target each probationer with the                        the exception of the 2 percent who are released at a
   most appropriate type and degree of                         judge’s discretion.13 Another difference is that 97 per-
   supervision.                                                cent of state jail offenders are not supervised upon
                                                               release while 84 percent of state prisoners are.14


While most of the focus has been on reducing techni-             Early release of some of these non-
cal revocations, the Legislature should also consider
                                                                 violent offenders, particularly those
whether revocations should be limited for nonviolent
new offenses. For example, someone not on probation              who have behaved well in jail and
caught with a small amount of marijuana would only               completed treatment programs
be guilty of a misdemeanor, which at most would re-
sult in a year or less in jail, and more likely just a           there, would free up space for violent
fine. However, the same offense by someone on pro-               offenders.
bation usually leads to being revoked to prison for an
average of four years. Before successfully completing
a drug treatment program, most addicts have at least
one relapse.10 The Legislature should require that pro-        Texas could reduce the need for new prison beds by
bationers undergoing drug treatment, or willing to             making state jail felons eligible for parole and manda-
enter drug treatment, not be revoked to prison, upon           tory supervision through the same procedures that the
their first commission (while on probation) of a non-          Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles now uses for
violent drug offense involving possession of a small           state prisoners. Early release of some of these nonvio-
amount of drugs.                                               lent offenders, particularly those who have behaved
                                                               well in jail and completed treatment programs there,




TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION                                                                                            3
                       TEXAS ASSOCIATION          FOR      16 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
How to Avert Another Texas Prison Crowding Crisis                                                            May 2006



would free up space for violent offenders. Nonviolent          In a February 2006 policy brief,16 we highlighted
third-degree felons in state prisons could be trans-           drug courts as a highly successful vehicle for divert-
ferred to fill the new openings in state jails, which          ing small-time drug offenders from prison, but given
have a substantially lower per day cost than prisons.          the appropriate sentencing laws and sufficient capac-
                                                               ity at inpatient and outpatient drug treatment pro-
Early release of select state jail felons could also be        grams, all judges could participate in an effort to re-
accomplished by placing them on probation for the              duce the unnecessary incarceration of nonviolent,
remainder of their term. Many probation departments            non-dealing drug offenders. A key problem is that,
have expressed concern that, as a result of the proba-         due to the lack of residential drug treatment beds,
tion reform bill shortening probation terms, they will         there is currently a six-month waiting list for such
see a decline in the number of probationers and there-         programs, leading many judges and even some of-
fore lose funds, because 40 percent of their budgets           fenders to choose incarceration rather than wait in the
come from probation fees. Releasing some state jail            county jail for a bed to open up. Residential drug
felons early and placing them on probation would               treatment centers are substantially cheaper than
address this concern. Moreover, it would provide               prison, costing $7,957 per year compared to $16,000
those being released with the supervision they need to         for prison.17 Outpatient drug treatment programs, also
successfully reintegrate into the community while              known as day treatment centers, are still far cheaper.
ensuring that probation resources are expended on
those who need it rather than those who do not.
                                                                  A key problem is that due to lack of
Drug Sentencing Reform                                            residential drug treatment beds,
The Legislature should review and revise the state’s              there is currently a six-month wait-
drug statutes so that, for possession of a small amount
of drugs, the minimum sentence is low enough to pro-              ing list for such programs, leading
vide sufficient discretion for the judge to choose an             many judges and even some offend-
alternative to a long prison term. Some 21.7 percent
                                                                  ers to choose incarceration rather
of Texas prisoners, which amounts to approximately
32,550 inmates, are incarcerated for nonviolent drug              than wait in the county jail for a bed
offenses.15 Even for drug offenses where prison time              to open up.
may be appropriate, excessively high upper ceilings
should be lowered.
                                                               Drug laws such as Chapter 481 could also be modi-
For example, Chapter 481 of the Health and Safety
                                                               fied to allow or instruct judges and juries to consider
Code creates a third degree felony for possession of
                                                               the specific factual circumstances other than simply
between one and four grams of drugs in Penalty
                                                               the quantity to distinguish between users and dealers.
Group 1, which include morphine and methadol. Un-
                                                               For instance, the offender’s criminal history, if any,
der Section 12.34 of the Penal Code, a third degree
                                                               and age should be considered in determining whether
felony requires a prison sentence of between two and
                                                               incarceration is appropriate. Those caught possessing
ten years. By raising the threshold for the amount of
                                                               drugs in their late teens or early 20’s may have come
drugs that turns a state jail felony into a third degree
                                                               under the influence of older individuals and are espe-
felony, dealers could continue to face significant
                                                               cially likely to benefit from community-based treat-
prison terms while mere users can be redirected into
                                                               ment as compared with incarceration.
mandatory treatment in inpatient or outpatient reha-
bilitation programs. Similarly, some current state jail
felonies for possessing small amounts of drugs could
be lowered to Class A misdemeanors. This would
spare many minor drug offenders the difficulty that
convicted felons face when trying to find employment
and housing, obstacles that sidetrack recovery and
community reintegration.



4                                                                               TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION
                       TEXAS ASSOCIATION          FOR      17 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
May 2006                                                                  How to Avert Another Texas Prison Crowding Crisis



Leasing New Beds from Private
Operators
                                                                        Private corrections facilities can in-
While the policy recommendations highlighted above
have the potential to eliminate any need for new beds,                  carcerate offenders in pre-release
if new beds must be freed up, no new state prisons                      minimum security facilities with a full
should be constructed. Historically, such building                      array of education, treatment, and
sprees have created an ever-escalating prison popula-
tion floor. To avoid building new prisons, the state                    reentry services for $30 a day.
has appropriated funds to lease 6,000 beds in county
jails and a handful of beds in other states over the
next two years.18                                                    In February, California Governor Arnold Schwar-
                                                                     zenegger announced a groundbreaking plan to move
However, the continued leasing of county jail beds                   at least 4,500 nonviolent women prisoners from tradi-
for $40 a day offers a poor value to the state because               tional prisons in rural areas to privately operated
these jails have a dearth of education, treatment, or                community centers near their families where they
job training services, all of which are correlated with              would receive education, drug treatment, job training,
reduced recidivism. According to a 2005 study, only                  and counseling.20 If the California Legislature ap-
a third of Texas county jails have any kind of sub-                  proves this plan which is based on years of academic
stance abuse treatment program.19 Private corrections                research, the results will be instructive for Texas and
facilities can incarcerate offenders in pre-release                  other states looking to reduce traditional incarceration
minimum security facilities with a full array of educa-              and harness the benefits of community-based correc-
tion, treatment, and reentry services for $30 a day.                 tions and private sector innovation.
While private operators traditionally required a long-
term contract from the state to justify their upfront
construction costs, at least one operator in Texas has
agreed to begin taking overflow inmates without any
such commitment, but TDCJ continues to lease beds
from county jails instead.


                           Adult Incarceration Actual & Projected Populations
                                         Fiscal Years 2000-2010




Source: “Adult and Juvenile Correctional Population Projections, Fiscal Years 2005-2010,” Legislative Budget Board 2005, available at
http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/PubSafety_CrimJustice/Projections_Reports_2005.pdf.


TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION                                                                                                     5
                          TEXAS ASSOCIATION              FOR    18 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
     How to Avert Another Texas Prison Crowding Crisis                                                              May 2006



     Conclusion
     Texas prisons have once again reached their breaking                    Policy Recommendations
     point, and policy changes will be required to avoid
     the necessity of creating even more new prison beds.
     In addition to averting the costs associated with
                                                                      Reduce Probation Revocations to Prison
     bringing new beds online, the reforms discussed                     Require that all probation departments and judges
     herein could have many other positive consequences.                 adopt progressive sanctions model
                                                                         Shorten probation terms to terminate probationers
                                                                         who have met obligations
        The sheer number of prisoners in
                                                                         Legislatively limit probation revocations for non-
        Texas and the budgetary demands                                  violent new offenses, such as minor drug posses-
        they create means that many soon-                                sion that would not otherwise result in prison
        to-be-released inmates cannot obtain
                                                                      State Jail Confinees Eligible for Supervised
        services such as treatment for drug                           Release
        addiction or mental illness.
                                                                         Allow state jail confinees to apply for parole
                                                                         through the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
                                                                         Release selected state jail confinees exhibiting
     Not only could these changes eliminate the need for                 good behavior to probation
     more prison beds, but they could also result in a re-
     duction in the current prison population. Prison                 Drug Sentencing Reform
     crowding increases the likelihood of riots, prison                  Reduce offense levels for possession of small
     rape, and other disturbances, which have recently                   quantities of drugs
     spiraled out of control in California.21 Crowding also
     makes it nearly impossible for TDCJ to assign in-                   Empower judges to consider factors other than
     mates to units by matching the services offered with                quantity in sentencing
     the inmate’s needs because of the overriding capacity               Expand drug courts and judge-ordered mandatory
     concerns that drive assignments and transfers. Fi-                  treatment and counseling as alternatives to incar-
     nally, the sheer number of prisoners in Texas and the               ceration
     budgetary demands they create means that many
     soon-to-be released inmates cannot obtain services                  Increase availability of residential and outpatient
     such as treatment for drug addiction or mental illness.             substance abuse treatment facilities

     To be sure, there are many unreformed violent of-                Leasing New Beds from Private Operators
     fenders who must be in prison to incapacitate them                  Use short-term leases in lieu of building any new
     during their prime crime-committing years. However,                 state prisons or jails
     the state would be better served with a smaller prison
     system that can better tend to such inmates while                   Select private operators with full range of prison
     freeing up resources for more effective correctional                and reentry services
     alternatives for nonviolent offenders.

     Marc Levin, Esq., is the director of the Center for
     Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
     Contact Marc Levin at: mlevin@texaspolicy.com.




      6                                                                     TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION
Reprinted with permission. Article was originally printed in “Texas Public Policy Foundation” May 2006 Issue.
                             TEXAS ASSOCIATION          FOR     19 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
 SURVEY OF TEXAS JUDGES WHO HEAR MISDEMEANOR DWI CASES
     The Texas Center for the Judiciary has received              SUMMARY OF PROBATION SENTENCE RESPONSES
a three year grant from TxDOT to increase the
                                                                                First Offender Repeat Offender
effectiveness of DWI adjudication in Texas through
improved training, technical assistance, and support            Average Probation 120 days probated for 18      9 months probated for 24
for judges who preside over impaired driving cases.                               months with $400 fine         months with $750 fine
Pursuant to the grant, a new staff position at the Texas        Lowest Probation     60 days probated for 12    6 months probated for 24
Center was created and Judge David L. Hodges                                         months with $100 fine      months with $500 fine
was selected to serve as the Texas Judicial Resource
Liaison. One of the grant goals was to survey judges            Highest Probation    180 days probated for 24   12 months probated for
who hear DWI cases to determine how DWI cases are                                    months with $750 fine      24 months with $3,000 fine
being handled across the State.
     The surveys were sent to 223 judges, geographically            The average negotiated probation plea for repeat
dispersed throughout the State, from both rural                offenders was 9 months in jail, probated for 24 months,
and urban areas, with a widely varying caseload.               with a $750 fine. The average negotiated jail plea for
Responses were received from judges who had from               repeat offenders was 108 days. The lowest negotiated
five months to twenty years on the bench and who               probation plea was 180 days probated for 24 months
disposed of from fifty to 1800 cases per year. Needless        and a $500 fine while the highest was 12 months in
to say, this survey does not have the requisites of a          jail probated for 24 months with a $3,000 fine. Jail
standard statistical sample and some answers are               sentences ranged from 30 to 365 days.
more anecdotal than empirical (based on a judge’s
experience and observations). Keeping that caveat                       SUMMARY OF JAIL SENTENCE RESPONSES
in mind, on average, the judge hearing misdemeanor                 JUDGES WHO HEAR MISDEMEANOR DWI CASES
DWI cases had seven years on the bench and disposed                                          First Offender Repeat Offender
of 440 cases per year.
     This article outlines some of the parameters of DWI        Average Negotiated Jail Plea 50 days + costs   108 days
cases Texas judges are currently hearing and reflects           Lowest Negotiated Jail Plea   3 days + costs    30 days
judicial attitudes toward and use of sentencing,                Highest Negotiated Jail Plea 90 days + costs   365 days
sanctions, treatment, license suspensions and
provisional licenses, and breath interlock devices.                 Sentencing Incentives:
     The average judicial DWI docket is comprised of                Judges were questioned about the need for
85% first time DWI offenders and 15% repeat offenders.         additional incentives they would like to have available
Ninety percent first time DWI offenders received a             when sentencing DWI defendants. The options
probated sentence while seventy-five percent repeat            presented were:
DWI offenders received probation.                                   (1) Suspension of all or a portion of the “civil
                                                                        penalty” for successful completion of probation
SUMMARY OF CASE MIX AND SENTENCE RESPONSES                              terms.
                                                                    (2) Ability to order probation of the mandatory
                          First Offender Repeat Offender
                                                                        driver’s license suspension as long as conditions
Defendant Characteristics       85%           15%                       of probation are successfully complied with.
                                                                    (3) Deferred adjudication of guilt, with the
Sentenced to Probation        90%             75%
                                                                        provision that, even if successfully completed,
Sentenced to Jail             10%             25%                       the offense could be used for enhancement
                                                                        for any subsequent offenses.
                                                                    Seventy-five percent of the respondents checked
     The average negotiated plea for first offenders           one or more of the incentives. Number two was
accepting probation was 120 days, probated for                 checked most often followed by number one, and
eighteen months, with a $400 fine. The average                 then number three. All but one of the respondents
negotiated jail plea for first offenders was fifty days        checked number two along with either one or three,
and costs. It is interesting to note that the lowest           and 20% checked all three.
negotiated plea was sixty days in jail probated for                 When questioned about additional incentives they
twelve months with a $100 fine and the highest was             would like to have available, the judges responded as
180 days in jail probated for twenty-four months and           follows:
a $750 fine. Likewise, the lowest negotiated jail plea              • affordable/available alcohol and substance
for first offenders was three days and the highest was                  abuse treatment
ninety days.                                                        • state-sponsored alcohol rehabilitation, 30-day
                                                                        inpatient

                          TEXAS ASSOCIATION         FOR    20 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
   •   treatment other than Alcoholics Anonymous                    •    require logbook be kept in car with copy of
   •   availability of early release as an incentive                     order (especially when there are no set working
   •   mandatory inpatient treatment if two or more                      hours)
       DWIs within five years                                        • rarely allow under age 21 to have ODL;
   •   deferred adjudication with court supervised                       applicant must be present at hearing
       intensive supervision and mandatory jail time                 All judges reported that they require alcohol
   •   inpatient treatment for indigents                        counseling and ignition interlock if required by statute,
   •   deferred adjudication for DWI should be                  and some judges impose additional requirements such
       available because many cases are being                   as random urinalysis and the maintenance of written
       reduced or pled to some other offense (like              driving logs to be kept with the occupational license
       obstructing a highway); deferred would be                or filed monthly with the clerk of the court.
       better since the ramifications for violations
       would be greater and the judge would have                     DWLI Issues:
       greater control                                               The number of Driving With License Invalid cases
                                                                has increased exponentially over the past several
     Driver’s License Issues:                                   years. In most courts the number of DWLI cases now
     The judges were questioned about the perceived             equals or exceeds the number of the DWI cases, and
effectiveness of driver’s license suspensions. Three            in several courts there are 50% more DWLI cases than
out of four judges answered this question; their most           DWI cases. One judge’s response was “too many to
common response was current laws are “ineffective.”             count!”
     Additional comments are as follows:                             A question about the average disposition of a
     • need codification- too confusing                         DWLI case had the widest range of response. Many
     • need to have ability to deny ODL for safety              jurisdictions granted deferred for the first offense with a
         (currently can only deny if no essential need is       $300 - $500 fine. Others simply imposed three days and
         shown)                                                 $100 fine. Deferred and pretrial diversions are used
     • with the surcharge in place, there is no incentive       extensively because a conviction results in a subsequent
         for a person to validly get their license back         suspension. In one jurisdiction, if a clearance letter is
     • sanctions are too severe economically                    received from DPS, the case is reduced to failure to
     • inability to pay reinstatement fees and civil            display a valid license. In those jurisdictions where
         penalties creates a whole new class of                 deferred is granted, standard probation or jail are the
         offenses… my court is swamped with DWLI’s              only options for any subsequent offenses.
     • not effective; most just continue to drive and
         get charged time after time                                 Sanctions:
     • ineffective - no public transportation and                    Judges were asked if any intermediate sanctions
         defendants can not afford ODL so they drive            were being used before or in lieu of the filing of a
         anyway                                                 Motion to Revoke. Intermediate sanctions being used
     • ODL should be made part of the criminal                  are:
         case (not a separate civil matter) so it can be             • intensive supervision and extension of
         incorporated into the plea agreement and                        probationary period
         granted when defendant is in court                          • weekend jail time
     • worthless - possibly the biggest waste of judicial            • extending probationary period
         resources and total waste of effective deterrent            • weekly reporting
         ever created by a legislative body                          • show cause hearings held by Judge before
     With regard to occupational driver’s licenses,                      Motion is filed
only 5% of the petitions are denied. When granting                   • converting fine and court costs to community
an occupational driver’s license, 85% percent of the                     service
judges allow more than the four-hour minimum. Most                   • modification agreed to by defendant
judges reported they had established policies but very               • additional jail time as a term of probation
few were reduced to writing. Stated policies are as                  • interlock device
follows:                                                             In all but one jurisdiction, revocations are disposed
                                                                of by plea recommendations. In most cases the original
   •  require copy of prior criminal history in writing         sentence is reduced in exchange for defendant’s plea
      before granting order                                     of true, and the average reduction is 50%.
   •· require verification of employment in writing                  Very few judges reported problems regarding the
   • require written permission from employer to                use of breath interlock devices. The problems that
      drive company vehicle                                     were reported were:
   • require hearing in open court with defendant                    • reliability
      present and sworn testimony regarding                          • costs too much
      employment                                                     • lack of reporting
                           TEXAS ASSOCIATION       FOR      21 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
   •  too many false readings                                     •     allow misdemeanor courts to handle felony
   •  provider cannot say low positive is attributed to                 DWIs
      alcohol consumption                                          • take away the right to jury trial on sentencing
   •· only have one local provider                                      phase
                                                                   • seize repeat offenders car upon arrest, do not
     Behavior Change Options:                                           charge storage fee
     When asked to rank the effectiveness of probation,            • make second offense a felony (this was the
jail time and fines, and driver’s license suspension                    most common response)
in changing behavior, 73% of respondents chose                     One of the expressed purposes of the survey was
probation as the most effective; 20% chose jail as most       to determine the educational needs of judges to
effective; 7% chose driver’s license suspension.              hear DWI cases. As a result of the survey, DWI-specific
     Additional methods used by judges to change              education will be offered at this year’s Criminal Justice
behavior included:                                            Conference (August 2-4, 2006), and Judicial Section
     • educational programs                                   Annual Conference (September 10-13, 2006). Topics
     • counseling support groups (AA,NA)                      will include the proper administration of Standardized
     • job skills training                                    Field Sobriety Testing (including Horizontal Gaze
     • mandatory inpatient treatment                          Nystagmus); defense objections and cross-examination
     • condition of probation order and appearance            techniques; training specific to the breath interlock
        bond that defendant may not refuse intoxilizer        device, including its proper installation and operation,
        test if stopped by law enforcement or probation       interpreting the written reports, and most common
        officer                                               methods used by defendants who attempt to defeat
                                                              the device. Our intention is to design the training to
    Systemic Change Recommendations:                          allow for more discussion and less lecture so that we
    Judges were asked the question: “What in your             can learn from each other and address common
experience is working and/or not working with                 problems in these areas.
our current system of impaired driving statues?” A                 If you have any questions or suggestions concerning
representative sample of the responses follows:               the survey, educational subject matter, or method of
    • increase penalty for refusal                            instruction, please contact:
    • use evidentiary search warrants for refusals and
        draw blood                                                Judge David L. Hodges
    • consider interlock on all vehicles                          Judicial Resource Liaison
    • if subsequent offender, impound vehicle at                  Texas Center for the Judiciary
        arrest and refuse ODL                                     1210 San Antonio, Suite 800
    • civil penalties do not work                                 Austin, TX 78701
    • we need intensive treatment options and                     512-482-8986
        close supervision in the context of deferred              254-840-3291
        adjudication                                              254-744-1115
    • treat symptoms, not causes                                  dhodges@yourhonor.com

   When asked what would help dispose of DWI cases                 Reprinted with permission. Article originally printed
more efficiently, the judges responded:                       in the Summer 06’ “In Chambers” publication.
   • getting offense reports more promptly and
      quicker filing by District Attorney
   • the state needs more Technical Supervisors; my
      trial scheduling is next to impossible
   • deferred          with     mandatory    alcohol                A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO
      rehabilitation
   • deferred with judicial oversight of civil
      penalties
                                                                   THOMSON WEST
   • deferred with mandatory jail time as a condition
      and intensive supervision
                                                                     FOR CONTRIBUTING TO
    When asked how the system could be changed to
                                                                   TACA’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY
more effectively deal with the repeat offender, judges
responded:
                                                                     CELEBRATION ABOARD
    • we need more DWI courts
    • SCRAM and other dependable monitoring
                                                                    THE U.S.S. LEXINGTON IN
       needs to be more affordable or provided by
       state
                                                                       CORPUS CHRISTI!
                          TEXAS ASSOCIATION      FOR      22 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
     TEXASLAWHELP.ORG DOUBLES CONTENT AND QUADRUPLES
      NUMBER OF VISITORS DURING 18-MONTH GRANT PROJECT
    Austin, TX—An average of 15,000 people are             zip code or county. Visitors can access income
going online each month for reliable civil legal           eligibility guidelines and types of services provided
information at TexasLawHelp.org, a Web site                by various legal aid offices.
featuring free legal content, self-help forms and              Additionally, the site features free self-help
a legal aid directory. Many Texans cannot afford           forms, such as “Divorce without Children” and a
legal representation, but through the resources            “Protective Order Kit,” which allow low-income
available on TexasLawHelp.org, they are finding            Texans to represent themselves in simple legal
ways to handle their legal issues.                         matters. The free forms available on TexasLawHelp.
    The Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation,          org are specially designed to be accepted in all
the Travis County Law Library and the Texas Legal          Texas courts.
Services Center came together in 2005 to form                  All proprietary content at TexasLawHelp.org
the Partnership for Legal Access to expand and             has been developed and reviewed by licensed
enhance TexasLawHelp.org. With a grant from                Texas attorneys. The site now boasts 800 resources,
the Texas Education Agency, the Partnership for            many of which are available in both Spanish and
Legal Access implemented an outreach, training             English.
and legal content project which has seen several               Site visitors have praised TexasLawHelp.org,
key accomplishments:                                       calling it “very helpful and very supportive.”
    • A 300 percent increase in monthly visitors to        Librarians and community advocates have
        TexasLawHelp.org, from 4,400 in February           lauded the site as a “priceless” and “informative”
        2005 to 18,000 in July 2006                        resource.
    • The addition of 400 new resources                        Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Texas
        to TexasLawHelp.org, including legal               Equal Access to Justice Foundation, says of the
        information and self-help forms                    project, “The response to TexasLawHelp.org has
    • 295 librarians and community advocates               been overwhelming, which speaks to the great
        across the state trained in how to help            need for reliable, affordable legal information.
        patrons and clients use TexasLawHelp.org           Through the Web site, the legal aid community
    TexasLawHelp.org addresses a wide range                is efficiently leveraging its limited resources to
of civil legal issues, including family law matters,       reach the greatest number of people. While
housing, disability rights and more. Examples of           TexasLawHelp.org does not take the place of
the types of resources that can be found on the            legal representation, it does put important legal
site include: “Answers to Questions about Child            information into the hands of Texans who need it
Support in Texas,” “Alternatives to Bankruptcy”            the most.”
and “Wage Rights in Texas.”
    TexasLawHelp.org offers a comprehensive                  This article was contributed by the Texas Equal
legal aid directory that can be searched by                Access to Justice Foundation.


             Special thanks go out to the conference vendors.
          Congratulations to the winners of the vendor door prizes.
 •      Smart Start                                        •        Internet Probation & Parole Control
        Winner: Martha Everett, Amarillo                            Winner: Yolanda Short
        MP3 Player                                                  Pampering Foot Set
                                                                    Winner: Elida Deleon
 •      JAVS                                                        Bath Set
        Portable Media Player
                                                           •        Local Government Solutions
 •      BIS Digital                                                 Winner: Nora Anderson
        Winner: Jo Ellen Stephens                                   Night Light
        Portable DVD Player & Bag

                        TEXAS ASSOCIATION     FOR      23 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
                              Direct Electronic Filing in Criminal Cases

                      Task Force on Indigent Defense, Office of Court Administration
                         Public Policy Research Institute, Texas A&M University

Study Objective
The Task Force on Indigent Defense seeks to provide practical, evidence-based guidance for jurisdictions to
follow in implementing criminal justice processes that are fair, accurate, timely, efficient, and effective.
Integrated information systems offer a promising approach for improving these outcomes for prosecutors and
defense counsel alike.

Direct electronic filing in criminal cases is defined as a case management strategy to automate the flow of
information for the screening and filing of criminal cases directly from law enforcement to the prosecutors to
the court system. This strategy uses a variety of technologies to document case-related information, support
decision-making, and monitor the progress of persons arrested through the system.

Research Approach
To test the impact of electronic information-sharing systems on case processing, four study groups representing
a continuum of inter-departmental integration were identified in three counties. Bexar, El Paso and Harris
Counties graciously provided detailed data on all misdemeanors disposed in calendar year 2004 resulting in a
final dataset of over 90,000 cases. An overview of the study sites and research model is presented in Figure 1.

                             Figure 1. Direct Electronic Filing Research Design




Findings
The greatest case processing efficiencies are gained by integrating effective work practices and information-
sharing technology at critical points in the caseflow process. These include:

   1) Timely transfer of law enforcement reports to the district attorney’s office. The most powerful impacts
      of direct electronic filing systems occur during the first few hours of case processing. Law enforcement
      officers submit offense reports before the end of their work shift.




                         TEXAS ASSOCIATION       FOR    1
                                                       24 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
   2) Determination of charges and preparation of charging documents within the district attorney’s office.
      With early access to case information, a prompt and informed decision can be made about whether to
      file charges.

   3) Transfer of filings to the clerk of courts. After charges are screened and accepted by the prosecutor, the
      charging instrument is quickly available for submission to the clerk and the number of people required
      to generate the filing is reduced to one.

                 Figure 2. Elements of a Model Criminal Direct Electronic Filing System

                 Technological Solutions                                         Work Solutions
                  Electronic transmission of
                  case-related information
                  from law enforcement to the                                Cross-agency commitment
                  prosecutor for an early filing                             to long-term collaboration
                  determination

                  Early electronic                                           Ongoing commitment to
                  confirmation of defendants’                                case processing
                  identity                                                   improvements.

                  Electronically facilitated
                  filing                                                     Repeated opportunities for
                                                                             cross-agency education
                  Integration of information
                  technology systems across
                  departments involved in                                    Flexible and adaptive work
                  justice processing                                         practices

                  Expanded public access to
                  defendant information


Sites utilizing these practices demonstrated the most efficient overall outcomes:

       Nineteen percent of all El Paso’s DIMS cases were reviewed and rejected by the prosecutor before
       the arrest was complete. Harris County estimates that 10 percent of cases are cleared prior to arrest.

       Where direct electronic filing is used, prosecutors typically receive offense reports in about 7 hours.
       By contrast, offense reports for El Paso’s non-DIMS cases require an average of 19 days to reach the
       prosecutor.

       Fifteen to 25 percent of all misdemeanors are disposed within three days of arrest where DIMS is
       available. This is possible because most filings are complete in less than one day following arrest.
       Counties without electronic filing are unable to dispose any cases within three days.

       Sites with direct electronic filing detained up to 18 percent fewer individuals following arrest.

       Among defendants that are detained, those in systems where direct electronic filing is available are
       charged sooner and released faster than at sites without DIMS technology.


                          TEXAS ASSOCIATION        FOR    2
                                                         25 C O U R T A D M I N I S T R A T I O N
                               2007 CALENDAR OF EVENTS
JANUARY                                              JULY
• Board Action Plan Meeting                          • NACM Annual Conference
  January 16-17                                         July 8-12, Chicago, Illinois
• Curriculum Meeting
  January 18-19, Huntsville, Texas                   AUGUST
• Regional Judges Conference                         • Pre-Conference Meeting
  January 21-23, Fort Worth, Texas                     Not Posted Yet, San Antonio, Texas

FEBRUARY                                             SEPTEMBER
• NACM Mid-Year Conference                           • Judicial Section Annual Conference
   February 11-13, New York, NY                         September 16-19, Galveston, Texas
• Regional Judges Conference
   February 11-13                                    OCTOBER
                                                     • TACA Annual Conference
JUNE                                                   October 9-12, San Antonio, Texas
• Professional Development Program
   Not posted yet, Austin, Texas




                                                                              NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
        Texas Association for Court Administration                               U.S. POSTAGE PAID
        Correctional Management Institute of Texas                               HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS
        George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center                                     PERMIT NO.26
        Sam Houston State University
        Huntsville, TX 77341-2296

				
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