Brazos County district judge says cases are backed up, new court needed

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - A Brazos County district court judge says he's overwhelmed with the amount of cases awaiting trial. It's an issue State Representative Kyle Kacal is trying to fix with a new bill filed last month.

Brazos County District court judges say they deserve another courtroom to help balance the caseload.

"It would be totally impossible to try a case every single week because we would not have time to do anything else," said 361st District Court Judge Steve Smith.

Brazos County has the same number of courts now that they did more than 30 years ago. Judge Smith says compared to nine other counties the same size, Brazos County is the third highest for pending cases.

"Almost every one of those counties has four, sometimes five district courts," Judge Smith said.

Smith says Texas law requires them to try the people that are in jail first, but when the number of felony cases filed increases, the courtroom caseload backs up.

"The system here is overwhelmed," said defense attorney, Mark Maltsberger.

Maltsberger said one of his most recent clients has been sitting in jail for two years without a trial date.

"That's not justice for the client, that's not justice for the victim in that case," Maltsberger said.

Court officials say while the number of inmates in the Brazos County jail has decreased, the number of people waiting for their trial continues to rise.

"We have civil jury trials, we have family jury trials, we have bench trials, trials in front of the judge that we have to handle, so we cannot devote 100 percent of our time to jury trials," Judge Smith said.

Judge Smith is hoping a new district court will help everyone involved get to a quicker resolution.

This is the first time a bill has been filed for a fourth district court in Brazos county. KBTX reached out to Rep. Kyle Kacal for comment, but have not heard back.