Some of the computers that 2nd Court of Appeals personnel use won’t run Windows 7, so they can’t operate a new case management system that the court must begin using soon, said 2nd Court Chief Justice Terrie Livingston during a Texas Senate Finance Committee hearing on Feb. 4.
The Legislative Budget Board has recommended a budget of $66.73 million for the court operations of the 14 intermediate appellate courts. In addition to the portion coming to the 2nd Court, Livingston asked the Texas Senate Finance Committee for $251,178 to replace 60 percent of the court’s computers and to make other technology upgrades. Some other courts of appeal have spent funds from their current operating budgets to upgrade to computers that can operate the Texas Appeals Management and eFiling System, Livingston noted.
The Texas Office of Court Administration has also requested $1.77 million to replace 60 percent of the computer equipment in each of the 14 intermediate appellate courts.
The appellate courts have also asked for $12.84 million in extra funds to split amongst them for pay raises for current staff and the addition of new employees. 4th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Catherine Stone told senators that without adequate funding for expert legal staff and skilled administrative employees, the courts “skirt with” the possibility of backlogs.
“Any amount of backlogs, any amount of delay, is unacceptable,” said Stone, the chairwoman of the Council of Chief Justices, an association of the chief justices of the 14 courts of appeals.
— Angela Morris