Monday, October 19, 2015

Travis County and the "Overcrowded" Court House

"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it.
Proverbs 21:20

Heman Sweatt Couthouse -- Earlier this morning, we thought there was going to be a hearing in Wallace Hall's case against McRaven.  We've subsequently learned the hearing was rescheduled for November 9th.  This did, however, give us a chance to walk around the current courthouse at 9am on a Monday morning.

A central claim pro-Courthouse advocates make is that:


We need to put the rights and needs of victims of domestic violence and child abuse over their abusers. The layout of the current courthouse forces victims into close interaction with their abusers, and there is no space for children to give private testimony. We must invest in the protection of victims of domestic violence and child abuse!


Travis County is one of the fastest growing communities in the country, and the current courthouse does not meet our needs today, nor will it in the years to come. It is badly overcrowded, and the Family and Child Protective Services dockets are exploding. The time for discussion is over. We must act now.
Which begs the next question, just how crowded is the current Travis County Courthouse at 9am on a Monday morning?!?

5th floor:

3rd Floor:

2nd floor:

But at least they've got a polling station on the first floor:

Bottom Line: That's quite the "overcrowded" courthouse to have this much empty space at one of the busiest times of the week.


  1. Go back at noon. Also, why didn't you take pics of the behind the scenes where the offices are? Also yo ignore the first argument entirely.

  2. There's a LOT more open common space than the 14 year old blackwell thurman justice center. In that new courthouse (where we are still paying off the bonds) I remember being emplaned on a capital murder jury and the waiting area was so small we had to share it with the suspects family. Do you really trust Travis County with nearly 300 million to build a courthouse that will probably be as flawed as the blackwell thurman justice center which went $23 million over budget?

  3. What an idiotic post. "Overcrowded" doesn't mean the courthouse is teeming with humanity at every hour of the day. You might as well take a picture of an empty #1 bus on a Sunday night and say "See? Plenty of room!"

  4. It isn't that we don't need a new courthouse. It's that we don't need an expensive new courthouse downtown with extra space to rent out to lawyers. There is nothing wrong with building one on East MLK for 1/3rd the cost.

  5. They don't usually have a polling station at the Courthouse during all of early voting, btw. Also have a polling station at County Central and at the Juvey place in South Austin, the Juvey place like maybe a first… Trying to help the numbers, but it ain't working.

  6. Check the courtrooms in the court house on a Friday afternoon. Often when I have been over there at that time they are EMPTY. We can do courtroom sharing etc. to get by with what we have. Judges no longer need the big offices with large law books because it is all electronic. And I'm sorry but the families of the victims and the accused spend time together, it is unavoidable - they always have. Just another BS argument to spend more money. Vote NO. We can do more with less.

  7. You are absolutely right about the no crowding issue. I am in that courthouse at least once a week if not more often. It isn't a matter of it being overcrowded, and I will agree some of the restrooms are not the most modern, but they are clean. The problem is, as it was with the 2 previous courthouses (this one was built in 1931), that it is rat infested. And I don't just mean the 2 legged kind. I went into one of the courtrooms several months ago, and it reeked of rats, an unmistakable smell.

    The problem with our public servants is they are very busy building cathedrals to themselves. Travis county has planned to spend $18 billion on new monuments to the public servants' quarters by the year 2035. What's that tack onto your tax bill. On Monday when I was in the courthouse, I was watching the electronic display of the tax docket roll over and over to display the names of the cases being heard that day. That means that for every name on the docket, Travis County is getting a judgment for non-payment of property taxes in order to sell the property. Hundreds of the on that particular day. It makes me sick.
    I got on an elevator, and several people stepped aboard, and yes, it was crowded. Not uncomfortably so, but it was crowded. An attorney said, we could do away with these crowded conditions by voting for the new courthouse tomorrow, to which I said, Oh, so we could see more names roll on the tax docket because people can't pay their present property taxes, yet, you want to increase them? There was dead silence until the next floor.


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