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

For Immediate Release
May 1, 2003
Contact: Lewis Simmons
Phone: (512) 463-0130

Estes' Amendment Will Relieve Parker County Courts

AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, successfully amended a Senate bill today to create an additional county court at law for Parker County in response to the county's growing backlog of cases.

Estes' amendment was adopted on the Senate floor during consideration of Senate Bill 1552 by Senator Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, chairman of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee. The bill creates county courts of law for several counties across Texas. It was approved today by the full Senate and was advanced to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration in the next step of the legislative process.

Estes argued that Parker County has a tremendous backlog of criminal and civil cases on the dockets of its one state district court and one county court at law. The two existing courts have a combined caseload of approximately 6,300 cases.

"I am pleased we were able to pass this amendment," said Estes, whose Senate District 30 includes Parker County. "An additional county court at law will provide much needed relief to the overburdened courts of Parker County and will help ensure that justice remains swift and fair."

Given the county's rapid population growth in recent years, these courts have become some of the most overburdened courts in the state, Estes observed.

"I am delighted with the Texas Senate having passed the bill for another Parker County court at law," said Judge Graham Quisenberry, magistrate of the county's existing court at law. "This will continue to allow our residents to benefit from speedy and efficient justice at the courthouse, both now and in the future."

"We currently have 3,076 cases pending in my court," said State District Judge Don Chrestman of the 43rd Judicial District Court in Parker County. "The new county court at law will be a great expediter. It will move the logjam of civil cases in the district court because some cases can be reassigned to the county court at law and tried more quickly."

Area legislators have tried for years to create an additional state district court for Parker County. A separate bill by Estes, Senate Bill 134, was filed earlier in the 78th Session seeking to create a second state district court. Estes said he is pushing to get that legislation passed before the session ends June 2.

"While a new county court at law will provide significant relief for Parker County, the community still needs another state district court. I'm working to accomplish that goal during the remaining days of this legislative session. Based on the negotiations I've had up to this point, I'm confident the Senate will pass a bill creating a new district court in Parker County," Estes said.

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