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Senate Committee on Jurisprudence - 75th R.S. (1997)

Committee Members
Rodney Ellis, Chair
Chris Harris, Vice Chair
David Cain
Robert Duncan
Gregory Luna
Steve Ogden
Jeff Wentworth
Charges
• Study the selection of judges in the state courts as well as the statutory county courts-at-law and probate courts, and make recommendations for any legislative action. The committee should consider the report made to the 75th Legislature by the Texas Commission on Judicial Efficiency and legislation introduced during the 75th Legislature.
• Study and evaluate the process of judicial districting with emphasis on the intermediate level of courts in Texas and, if necessary, make recommendations for any legislative action.
• Review any reports made by the Texas State Auditor regarding the court system and efficiency of the courts which may be issued prior to the 76th Legislature, and consider whether legislative action is needed.
• Study the costs assessed on parties filing civil lawsuits and appeals in district, county and appellate courts and evaluate whether those costs are unreasonable or overly burdensome. The Committee should review relevant legislation introduced during the 1997 regular session.
• Evaluate the collection efforts of criminal fines imposed by the courts to determine how courts, court clerks, community supervision departments, the Division of Paroles in the Department of Criminal Justice, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles may enhance collection efforts. If improvement in collection efforts is needed, the Committee should make recommendations. A review of other states' methods may be conducted.
• Review ways to improve service on juries and service by jurors. The committee should consider the work of the task force created by the Texas Supreme Court to study the jury system in Texas, as well as review the results of any similar studies which have taken place or are presently taking place in other states.
• Review the legal duties of attorneys and guardians in the negotiation and settlement of their client's civil claims. The Committee should consider whether current law and regulations ensure that clients' interests are protected and promote the efficient and effective resolution of claims. The Committee may make recommendations, if necessary, for legislative action.

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