Ticket Traffic Jams Delay Some More Than a Year

By Grant Stinchfield
|  Friday, Feb 5, 2010  |  Updated 4:42 AM CDT
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Politics Could Be Creating Traffic Ticket Jam at Courthouse

Paybacks and politics may be causing a logjam at a Dallas County courthouse.

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Politics Could Be Creating Traffic Ticket Jam at Courthouse

Paybacks and politics may be causing a log jam inside a county courthouse in North Oak Cliff.
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Paybacks and politics may be causing a log jam inside a county courthouse in North Oak Cliff.

Some people are waiting more than a year to take care of traffic tickets. Judges, lawyers and even some officers are all blaming Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortez.

"The thing is, people should not have to wait," Judge Luis Sepulveda said.

Of the 25,677 traffic tickets Cortez constables wrote last year, not one went to his court, he said.

"It creates a backup in the other court," Sepulveda said. "I'm willing to hear cases, but Cortez doesn't want to give my court any tickets."

Dallas County said Cortez should be splitting his tickets between the two Precinct 5 courts instead of overloading one.

County Judge Jim Foster said the problem lies solely with Cortez.

"We have been promised on at least three occasions (that) the problem would be solved," he said.

Foster said he ordered Cortez to split the tickets and ease the backlog.

"I'm upset he didn't keep his promise," he said. "Don't promise me three times and every time tell me you have an excuse why you didn't do it."

Cortez would only say that the reason he doesn't split the tickets is because, "That's the way it's always been done." In a brief phone interview he said that "may or may not change in the future."

Courthouse insiders said they all believe Cortez refuses to give Sepulveda any tickets because the judge went to the FBI regarding alleged wrongdoing within Cortez's campaign.

No tickets means no revenue for Sepulveda's court. But it also means long lines for people with tickets.

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