Houston Municipal Courts Reopen for Trials Amid Backlog of Cases


Texas courts are cleared to reopen April 1st for in-person proceedings.

Trials, jury duty, arraignments, and hearings over parking tickets are all starting back up due to a decision by the Texas Supreme Court. However, the backlog of cases in Texas' largest Municipal Courts Department, the City of Houston, could take years to resolve completely. The presiding judge estimates they’re dealing with tens of thousands of cases.

“So, our volume is big,” Judge J. Elaine Marshall said. “This is not the first catastrophe we’ve dealt with, and it may not be the last. But I’m here to try to work us through and get us back to pair where we need to be with this pandemic.”

Marshall says COVID related restrictions will be an added challenge they didn’t have to deal with during events like Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The number of cases they can hear per day will be less than usual, because of city mandated building capacity limits.


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