Those who come before the municipal court are more likely to be acquitted by a jury than by the court in the Amarillo Municipal Court system.
Records from the Court Administration Office of Texas show that in 2016, 93 percent of persons who did not plead guilty and are were not dismissed by prosecution were found guilty by the municipal court. Among those who went to trial, however, juries acquitted 21 percent of those who came before the court.
The numbers show in 2016, the Court followed the three year trend that had been set. From January 2014 through January of 2017, the municipal court acquitted 7 percent of those who came before the court, while juries acquitted 20 percent of those who came before the court.
Among all 82,849 cases which came before the municipal court during the three year period, 91 percent of those with cases before the court plead guilty. Another 7 percent of those with cases before the court were dismissed by prosecution.
Four cases during the three year period were later appealed to trial.
Also during the three year period, 31,410 cases were satisfied by jail credit. 4,190 cases were either partially satisfied or fully satisfied by community service and 52 cases were dismissed for indigency.
The total court costs and fines collected during the three year period by the Amarillo Municipal Court totaled at $23,843,207. 69 percent of the total fees collected were kept by the City of Amarillo. The remaining total was remitted to the State of Texas.
A series of open records requests were filed by the Amarillo Pioneer to uncover more information on fines collected and trials held.
Those requests were later withdrawn and information requested was satisfied with information collected from the State.
For information about the municipal court, please visit amarillo.gov/?page_id=143.