Witan (San Antonio, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 2, Ed. 1 Wednesday, October 1, 1975 Page: 1 of 18
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st. mary's of texas
school of law
Volume 3, NofX
When Mark Twain allowed as how the
only difficulty with the criminal court
system was finding twelve people every
day who can't read and don't know any-
thing, he didn't know about court problems
in Texas. Here the backlog of criminal
cases waiting on appeal has hit and
passed the Z000 mark and an average of
two years goes by before a conviction
is upheld or reversed. Were this the
Texas court system's only problem, it
would be quite enough.
However, that's just a notorious
example of the problems engendered
by what's been called "they hydraheaded
monster." Texas has the singular dis-
tinction of having created the most com-
plex court system in the entire country
and could probably take honors with that
for the whole world. Texas, as of 1973,
had 2468 courts and 2598 judges. Even
Great Britain, with her populace of 56
million, has fewer judges than the
number serving the 12 million people in
You would think that with all our judges,
Justice with her scales and sword would
be moving with swift alacrity--but she's
not. The two-year delay on the appeal
of a criminal case makes a sham of
Section 10 in the Bill of Rights' first
article guaranteeing that the accused in
all criminal cases shall have the r^gm: ^60 CONSTITUTION, P» *0.
By NELSON W. WOLFF
(Former State Senator,
of a speedy public trial.
The new constitution provides some
long awaited remedies for the maladies
of delayed justice, excessive number of
courts, the complicated appellate and
trial court system and detailed and
contradictory jurisdiction problems. The
progressive changes carried in the new
constitution are the final product of some
six years of debate and research, and are
no less than laudable efforts to infuse
some prudence into Texas jurisprudence.
THE UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM
It's the new constitution's Alpha and
Omega in judicial reform--and it's
drawing a lot of fire from opponents
accustomed to an unwieldy judicial system,
a tradition honored only by time.
Under the new constitution Texas will
have a unified judicial system with four
tiers of courts. When Texas puts her
unified judicial system into force she
will join 29 other states that have either
moved toward a modification of such a
system or embraced it entirely. At the
top of the tiers is the Supreme Court
as the lone high court in the Lone Star
State. A Court of Appeals with juris-
diction to hear both civil and criminal
matters will follow , then the District
Courts (which are the main trial courts)
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Witan (San Antonio, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 2, Ed. 1 Wednesday, October 1, 1975, newspaper, October 1, 1975; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth855610/m1/1/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting St. Mary’s University School of Law.