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Wrong Randall Hufstetler?

Judge Randall K. Hufstetler

Family Law Judge

Brazoria County

HQ Phone: (979) 864-1200

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Brazoria County

EOC Building 111 E. Magnolia St.

Angleton, Texas 77515

United States

Company Description

Brazoria County offers 2 Colleges that are conveniently located to all the towns and cities within the county. Educational leaders work closely with the major industries of the County to develop programs and courses that educate and train students for a f ... more

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Background Information

Web References (141 Total References)

Brazoria County Home Page [cached]

Judge Kenneth Randall Hufstetler, 111 E. Locust St., Ste 401A, Angleton, TX 77515

Bail Bond Board [cached]

Randy Hufstetler

Bail Bond Board [cached]

Randy Hufstetler

The Facts [cached]

District Judge Randall Hufstetler told Brazoria County Commissioners during a recent budget meeting that 40 percent of his cases have to be reset because of the docket backlog.

To help solve the problem, he asked commissioners for a new position in his court for an associate judge.
"We are at a crisis point," he said."We have to do something with those family cases."
When the budget finally was approved Sept. 6, Hufstetler's associate judge position was not on it.
Hufstetler told commissioners an associate judge position would cost the county between $105,000 and $111,000 a year in salary and benefits.
It was not the first time Hufstetler had asked commissioners for an associate judge and been denied.
"I've been asking for eight years," he said."I'll keep asking.My charge has been, since I got here, to get people to court and as soon as I possibly can."
Hufstetler is judge for the 300th District, which handles all filings for family law cases, including divorce and custody proceedings.His court also handles some criminal cases, which he hears one week a month.During that week, one of the three county courts at law will hear his family docket.
Hufstetler claims his docket is so overburdened that he can hardly keep up.Most of the delays, he said, are in resets, which are cases on the daily docket that have not been heard and must be reset to another day.
Several attorneys who work in his court agree.
"It's overwhelmed," said Lenette Terry, a family law attorney in Angleton."You spend all the time sending out letters for resets.That costs taxpayers money."
Hufstetler said an uncontested matter in a custody or divorce case can take 60 days to process.If there is a contested matter, which happens often, he said, the case can stretch out to almost two years.
The biggest cost to the overburdened docket is not financial but the strain it puts on families, family law attorney Mirenda Moorhead said.
"It's very frustrating for clients," she said."They are emotionally raw as they can be."
Hufstetler said a divorce or a custody battle is stressful enough, both emotionally and financially.The overextended docket only adds to the stress.
According to Hufstetler's most recent statistics, as of August, his court has 2,950 pending cases.During the month of July his court disposed of 290 cases while 250 new cases were filed.
Though the docket is thick, Hufstetler said, he is slightly ahead of the curve.
Just last year, a new district court and county court at law were created in Brazoria County.The 412th District Court started operating in November, and County Court at Law No. 4 will start next year.
The reason both courts were created was to deal with the rising population in Brazoria County.The district court will be be funded by the state and the county court will be funded by the county.
Even though spending for a visiting judge was increased, Hufstetler and attorneys who work in family law say the visiting judge hurts more than it helps.
Hufstetler said when objections are made against a visiting judge, it only adds to delays.
An associate judge would be a legal professional who would hear the uncontested cases on Hufstetler's docket.An associate judge would be hired directly by Hufstetler and must have a law degree plus extensive experience in family law, he said.
Most of the other four district judges in Brazoria County offer to help Hufstetler when their docket allows.

The Facts [cached]

The $60,000 provided by the three entities should be enough to get it running again, District Judge Randall Hufstetler said.

"If those monies are approved, that will be the start of its revival," he said.
Teen Court also will be overseen by the juvenile probation department, which will hire a coordinator for the program once all funding is approved.
Though the prospect of restarting Teen Court was positive for Hufstetler, his request for an associate judge position was denied by commissioners.Hufstetler, who is the family law judge for Brazoria County, said he needed the position to deal with a surging family court docket.
"I've been asking for eight years," he said.

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