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Bandera realigned with 198th Judicial District

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Effective Sept. 1, Bandera County will become a part of the 198th Judicial District, which also includes portion of Kerr County.

The 216th Judicial District, in which the country is now included, will be comprised of Comal, Gillespie and Kendall counties and a portion of Kerr County.

The redistricting came about when Gov. Rick Perry signed into law CSHB 3153, an Omnibus Bill that covered not only local redistricting, but also other judicial changes, such as the creation of county courts at law and matters relating to Travis and other urban counties.

When SB 1111 sponsored by State Senator Robert Duncan of Lubbock and HB 3381, filed by District 53 State Representative Harvey Hilderbran, was included in the Omnibus Bill, Bandera County Judge Richard Evans opined that the more inclusive bill had a better change of being enacted into law. His prediction proved correct when Perry signed CSHB 3153.

Not only did the legislation move Bandera County into the 198th Judicial District, it also created the 452nd Judicial District for Edwards, Kimble, McCulloch, Mason and Menard counties - previously included in the 198th District. Duncan represents the rural counties also involved in the realignment.

District Attorney for the 198th Judicial District is Scott Monroe of Kerrville with Melvin "Rex" Emerson serving as district judge.

"There will be some additional costs," Evans said in an earlier interview, adding that no finite numbers had been calculated as yet. However, he anticipated the costs to be "minimal and affordable" when compared to the benefits.

Pleased that the realignment is now official, Evans noted it would allow court cases to move through the system in a more timely manner, clearing the dockets faster.

Earlier he had explained, "Judge (Keith) Williams (of the 216th District) carries the highest case load of any district in Texas.

Currently, court is only held (in Bandera County) once a month. If we become a part of the 198th, we'll get twice as much attention from the DA and judge." District court would convene twice a month.

With regard to that portion of Kerr County included in the 198th District, according to Becky Henderson, district court coordinator, when civil and criminal cases are filed in Kerr County, the cases are distributed to either the 216th or 198th judicial districts on a rotating basis. Kerr County is not divided geographically.