Judges, the media, the public and policymakers all rely on the statistics collected by OCA on behalf of the Texas Judicial Council to understand the activity of trial and appellate courts in Texas. You can run your own reports based on the data collected, from the Judicial Data Management System.
In May 2008, the Judicial Council approved badly-needed changes to the monthly case activity reports and instructions, and adopted new reporting rules (Sections 171.1 through 171.6 of Title I of the Texas Administrative Code) for the district and county-level courts. These changes go into effect one year from yesterday, or Sept. 1, 2010.
The changes to the reporting forms will:
• Provide more detailed, useful information about court workload and activity, particularly in family law, juvenile and probate cases, where little information is currently collected and the information that is collected is of limited utility;
• Allow policymakers and other interested parties to track important, growing caseloads in child protection, guardianship and mental health cases, which require long-term court involvement and satisfaction of statutorily-mandated timelines; and
• Provide a more accurate picture of a court’s pending caseload by indicating how many cases are “active” cases (i.e., cases under the court’s control) versus “inactive” cases (i.e., cases not under the court’s control, such as a criminal case where a defendant has absconded and warrant has been issued for a defendant’s arrest, or a civil case in which one of the parties has filed for bankruptcy and the case is subject to an automatic stay). This enables a court to measure the age of its pending caseload more accurately and to determine meaningful case-processing times.
For some items on the new reports, the clerk may not have the required information and will have to rely on the judge or the judge’s staff to provide it. Examples include the number of:
•Civil cases ordered to or returned from arbitration or collaborative law proceedings;
•Probate and mental health hearings held;
•Regular status hearings held in drug courts or family violence courts; and
•Release or transfer hearings held (determinate sentence proceedings) in juvenile cases.
The new reporting forms and instructions and further information about them are posted on the OCA website under Required Reporting.