Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht delivered the State of the Judiciary on February 1 to a joint session of the state legislature, touching on issues including judicial security and compensation, access to justice, electronic records, and the bail system.
“As important as it is for courts to be efficient, it is more important for them to get every case right,” Hecht said during his remarks. “We are committed to making all our processes serve the cause of justice.”
Hecht began by describing what Travis County District Judge Julie Kocurek endured after being shot by a gunman in front of her home in Austin in November 2015. He used the experience of Kocurek, who was in attendance with her family, to urge the Legislature to prioritize funding for additional security for judges across the state.
He also discussed proposed legislation and recommendations from judicial commissions regarding reforming the bail system, supporting treatment for those with mental illness in the justice system, establishing a formula for judicial compensation increases, and providing electronic access to court records for the public.
The need to continue improving access to justice for veterans, sexual assault survivors, and low-income Texans was another focal point of Hecht’s speech.
“If justice were food, too many would be starving. If it were housing, too many would be homeless. If it were medicine, too many would be sick. If it were faith, too many houses of worship would be closed,” Hecht said. “The Texas Judiciary is committed to doing all it can to close the justice gap. We are grateful for the Legislature’s support.”
Read Hecht’s full remarks here.