Guest Expert: Judge Rick Kennon, 368th District Court
Judge Rick Kennon is the presiding judge and candidate for the 368th District Court. He was appointed to the position by Governor Perry in October and has been on the bench since November 1. He and his fellow judges are taking a proactive stance not only in their duties but also outside the courtroom to mitigate some of what he says had become counterproductive in the judicial process.
Kennon says, “Over the last several years the courts in Williamson County have, for a variety of reasons, enlisted visiting judges on a routine and lengthy basis. This occurs when judges are unavailable, ill, or experience conflicts in communication and cases. The court then must incur additional expense and dockets become backed up; those delays and added expense are a demonstration of judicial inefficiency. However, since the appointments by the governor last fall for the 368th and 277th district courts, we have been collaborating consistently and working well to manage the case load together. The results have been direct and positive.
Kennon says the judges are also working to implement a plan for electronic execution and appraisal of arrest warrants to enable law enforcement to speed up the process. Warrants currently require hands-on review and the officers must sometimes drive to the judges’ homes at all hours to get the signatures. Having the ability to complete the prerequisite tasks for lawful arrests with a laptop or even a smart phone while en route to the scene is an obvious benefit to law enforcement as well as, again, saving the county money.
The bottom line, quite literally, is that while most people may never stand before them, judges have responsibilities—legal and financial—that affect everyone. When not wearing the robe, they are behind the scenes as CEOs of the courthouse and Williamson County is fortunate that ours are not only knowledgeable legal professionals, but they also bring management and business process re-engineering skills to bear for the benefit of all.