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Office of the City Auditor Reports That Dallas's Municipal Court Is Sorta, Kinda Broken

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Frank Librio at Dallas City Hall was kind enough to pass along this a.m. the latest report from the Office of City Auditor, which has determined that the city's been losing a small fortune in muni court revenue since 2006. Why come? A bunch of reasons, actually, all of which are available in the 21-page doc, which you'll find here in its entirety. But long story short:

Cases are not timely resolved. Dallas Municipal Court is overwhelmed by requests for court adjudication. ... Dallas Municipal Court cases are closed within an average of 290 days. This is significantly longer than a 90-day maximum recommended by the American Bar Association for case resolution.

Collection rate is low. Since FY 2002, the City had had a collection rate of 15.3 percent. In addition, the City had accumulated 1.1 million delinquent citations totaling $424.1 million in fines, court costs, and fees.

Citations are not reconciled. CTS [Court and Detention Services] does not adequately enforce accountability over citations. Citations filed at the Municipal Court are not matched or reconciled with citations issues to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers.

Performance measures do not include effectiveness of collection actions.

The auditor's office then goes on to offer myriad recommendations, among them reporting delinquent traffic citations "to Texas Department of Public Safety to prevent vehicle registrations by defendants with unpaid fines." The audit covers information gathered from October 1, 2002, through the end of last April.

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