Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
November 21, 2002
Contact: Lewis Simmons
Phone: (512) 463-0130 ~ (940) 636-3765

Senator Estes files bill to create new state district court for Parker County

AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, filed legislation today seeking to create a second state district court for Parker County in response to the existing court's burgeoning criminal and civil dockets.

"During my numerous meetings with constituents from Parker County, this issue has continued to surface among the community's paramount problems," said Estes, whose Senate District 30 includes Parker County. "In response to these requests, today I pre-filed Senate Bill 134 for consideration when the 78th Texas Legislature convenes in January. It is the first bill that I filed in my legislative package for this session."

The new court would be the 413rd Judicial District Court, exclusively for Parker County, to complement the existing 43rd Judicial District Court with Judge Don Chrestman presiding. Court records show Chrestman's caseload to be approximately 44 percent above the average of other single county/single court districts in Texas. The statewide average is about 1,400 cases. As of today, Chrestman said he has more than 2,800 cases pending.

"When a court is that backed-up, the wheels of justice tend to turn rather slowly. Judge Chrestman and the district attorney's office have worked very hard to keep the ever-increasing number of criminal cases moving through his court, but the caseload continues to grow despite their hard work and conscientious efforts," Estes said.

Chrestman said he is a longtime advocate for creating another state district court for Parker County's growing population, and he praised Estes' efforts to seek relief by legislative means.

"It's my opinion that we have needed another court since 1997. We are way behind. The people of Parker County deserve to have another court to handle their criminal docket and civil docket. As I speak with judges from around Texas and other states, I haven't found anyone with the number of cases pending that Parker County has," Chrestman said. "During the first contact I had with Senator Estes after his election, he was very concerned about Parker County and its judicial needs, and he has continued to carry the ball. The people of Parker County appreciate that."