- Real Estate
- Paris Flash
When Bill Harris ran for judge of the Lamar County Court at Law (CCL) three years ago, he campaigned on making the court more efficient and increasing its jurisdiction at no additional expense to taxpayers.
Going into effect today is legislation that does exactly that.
Gov. Rick Perry on June 14 signed into law, effective Sept. 1, House Bill 3153, which introduces changes that apply only to the Lamar County Court at Law.
First and foremost, the bill permits Harris and the county’s two state district court judges to exchange benches and sit for each other in any matter pending before either court.
“Among other things, this will allow the CCL to hear an increased variety of cases – including felony jury trials, bench trials and probation revocation matters, and including both civil and criminal cases,” Harris said.
“This will provide another court to handle criminal cases, which will assist in keeping the jail population down and give prosecutors, defendants and crime victims another venue to resolve cases,” he said.
The bill also allows Harris and State District Court Judges Eric Clifford (6th State District Court) and Will Biard (62nd State District Court) to share jury panels.
“In other words, if a jury panel is called for a district court but all cases set for trial that day settle, my court can take that panel to try additional cases. Thusly, the panel won’t be ‘wasted,’ “ Harris said.
Other, somewhat technical changes to the CCL statute address fees, clerk duties and juvenile jurisdiction.
“This legislation was three years in the making and required the assistance of numerous individuals,” Harris said.
Harris said he recognizes and deeply appreciates the direct personal assistance of the following:
Also providing important letters of support, Harris said, were:
Harris extended special thanks to former State Rep. Mark Homer of Paris for providing “invaluable assistance” in moving the legislation through the Texas House of Representatives.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra