Hidalgo County commissioners support creating new district court

The Hidalgo County Commissioners Court on Tuesday afternoon unanimously approved a resolution supporting the creation of one new district court here.

The item passed with no public discussion by the commissioners.

Local Administrative Judge Noe Gonzalez last week asked the commissioners court to pass a resolution supporting the creation of two new district courts to meet the needs of a growing population while also addressing costly overcrowding at the jail, which is resulting in millions in costs associated with incarcerating inmates in several other counties.

Commissioners took no action last week.

In a March 2 letter sent to the commissioners and the county judge, Gonzalez wrote that the request comes from the county’s Board of Judges as a result of the Office of Court Administation’s recommendation that Hidalgo County create 2.8 new district courts.

“As Hidalgo County continues to rapidly grow, we have to ensure that our justice system is ready to keep up with the field court cases. The right to a speedy trial is so important to the legal system that our nation’s founders demanded that it be included in the United States Constitution,” Gonzalez wrote. “Case backlogs delay justice for our community and increase taxpayers’ costs. Both civil disputes and criminal cases must be addressed as soon as possible for our justice system to work the way it was intended to work.”

The resolution sought the support for legislation to create the courts during the 87th Legislature provided there is sufficient funding available and that Gov. Greg Abbott signs the legislation into law.

However, it’s unclear whether a new district court will be created anytime soon.

Creating a district court involves legislators filing and passing a bill that is signed by the governor.

The filing deadline for proposed bills in the 87th Legislature was March 12.