Back in March, the Office of the City Auditor noted that the Dallas Municipal Court system is all kinds of messed up
. Which is why the Dallas City Council's set to get briefed Wednesday on an efficiency study
aimed at cleaning up the mess -- though how much time the council spends with the briefing on Wednesday's a bit iffy, as it shares agenda space with a detailed 181-page preliminary FY2009-'10 budget sneak preview
sure to eat up most of the day.
This much is certain, though: The team charged with fixing the muni courts has ID'd five areas in desperate need of change -- and pronto. According to the briefing, the city needs to:
- Reduce the number of cases that are set for trial
- Decrease the time it takes for a case to go to trial
- Decrease the number of witness scheduling conflicts
- Decrease the time it takes to process citations
- Decrease the number of errors in citation writing
The briefing's full of interesting items worth nothing, such as: It takes anywhere from six months to two years to get a trial; there are, on average, 12,693 traffic trials requested per month; though it costs the city more than $1 million for Dallas police officers to come down and testify, they actually take the stand less than 1 percent of the time; 70 percent of the cases that go to trial wind up getting tossed for myriad reasons; and the city guesstimates that this fiscal year alone, 1,339 citations will get tossed to do writing and/or entry errors that will cost the city $320,038 in revenue.