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Brazos Co. Takes First Step in Getting Federal Court

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

County Commissioners want Brazos County to be home to a federal courthouse. It's a proposal they've talked about before, but this time the court went in a different direction.

They're lobbying for a Federal District Divisional Court, one that is much smaller and staffed as needed.

But still, it's not cheap, they will have to staff a federal judge, marshals and a support staff and the county is willing to help.

"Maybe this is a way we can implement and bring in a divisional court which is smaller sized court and have our attorneys the opportunity to practice in front of a US district judge," says Brazos County Judge Randy Sims.

1988 was the first attempt to try and get a federal court here in Brazos County.

Judge JD Langley presides over the 85th District Court. He says the proposition has failed mainly because of budget constraints. But he says while a divisional court is a good first step, in the long run, a full time federal court must be considered.

"We are steadily becoming more involved in federal government and federal government is becoming more and more involved here locally with addition of bush school of government, with homeland security additions to the university. This is becoming a federally active area than it has been in the past," says Judge Langley.

The proposal will have to go through local representatives and federal dollars will help fund it.

Waco is the closest federal courthouse, but Brazos County is in the southern district, which means cases go to Houston or San Antonio.It's travel that could easily be eliminated if a court were built here.

"The need is here and its just a matter of time we will be able to obtain funding and the necessary support of federal judiciary," says Judge Langley.

The next step is federal approval. Judge Langley says the process could take up to 3 years before a federal court is in session.


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