The counties we serve have the primary responsibility for funding our budgets. As I understand it, our sole recourse to challenge a funding cut is to "appeal" the commissioners court order approving the budget cut. That "appeal" is made by filing a petition for mandamus in the District Court under Tex. Const. Art. V Sec. 8 ("The District Court shall have appellate jurisdiction and general supervisory control over the County Commissioners Court... ").
Has anyone out there had success in challenging a budget cut? There seem to be two ways to challenge: (1) illegality, if it was not done in compliance with TOMA, the LGC, or other applicable law, or (2) arbitrary, if it lacks sufficient factual foundation.
Anyway, we are approaching budget season. There are 49 CDA, 82 DA and 205 CA offices across the State. Although we represent the State, there is no State office to help us on this - we can only look to each other for help. Please contact me if you have - or are having - an experience in challenging a budget cut.
STATEMENT OF THE CASES
This brief is presented in the appeal of orders entered in three civil enforcement actions brought against the Commissioners Court under the Texas Open Meetings Act and other law.1 The State presents uncontroverted claims: (i) to void a budget reduction to the office of a prosecuting attorney made by the Commissioners Court in violation of law;2 (ii) to enforce the terms of an antecedent civil judgment rendered in a District Court case against the same Commissioners Court for prior violations of the same laws, and (iii) for statutory injunctive relief to stop, prevent and reverse violations of the Act based upon the Commissioners Court’s pattern of violations affecting the safekeeping of and accounting for the public funds of a political subdivision of the State.
State_ex_rel._Durden_-_Statement_of_the_Cases.pdf (93 Kb, 3 downloads)
I will be asking for a couple more days to finish up the brief.
We are 49 CDA's, 82 DA's and 205 CA's, local prosecuting attorneys that rely primarily upon our counties for funding. Fortunately for most all of us, most all of the time, budgets are pretty much "same as last year." The brief will address two cases where significant cuts were made, and why the law did not (2017) and should not (2018) allow them.
Please don't hesitate to reply with comments, or to contact me to brainstorm.
State_ex_rel._Durden_-_Statement_of_the_Issues.pdf (74 Kb, 2 downloads)
The judicial system relies primarily upon funding via the counties. The offices of the district judges, district attorneys and county attorneys are judicial offices established under Article V of the Constitution. The law provides statutory and judicial safeguards to protect the funding of these offices. This brief discusses cases brought to enforce statutory safeguards.
Copy of brief attached in Microsoft Word format. Download and save to your files in case you ever need it.
714_715_716__State_ex_rel_Durden_v_Shahan__Brief_of_Appellant_(final).docx (163 Kb, 10 downloads) Brief
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