Houston Criminal Courts Backlogged as Area Grows

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HOUSTON (AP) The Houston-area population continues to grow and that's created more cases for Harris County's 22 felony courts.

The Houston Chronicle reported Monday that since 1985 the number of felony filings has doubled from about 22,000 annually to 44,000.

It's also the last year the Legislature added a felony court to the county that includes Houston - the nation's fourth largest city with nearly 2.2 million people.

Records show each judge averages almost 720 pending cases. The most senior judge - Michael McSpadden - averages 440 more pending cases than his colleagues.

McSpadden says in the past three years it's built up and he has no idea why. McSpadden, who's had 31 years on the bench, says he doesn't think attorneys are handling cases differently.