Nathan Hecht | KERA News

Nathan Hecht

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht hears a case on Nov. 2, 2015, in Austin, Texas.
Associated Press

The top judge on the Texas Supreme Court gave lawmakers a big wish list during his State of the Judiciary speech in Austin today. Chief Justice Nathan Hecht’s list includes some new spending, some savings and fundamentally rethinking business-as-usual in Texas courts.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo

A major effort to overhaul the bail system in Texas was rolled out Thursday, and the reforms have some powerful backers. The target is a system that releases people held in jail before trial based in part on their ability to pay their bail or a fee to bond out. It’s a system that leaves many of the state's poorest residents to wait in jail until their court date arrives, which advocates say wastes taxpayer dollars and unnecessarily upends lives.   

Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

A large number of Texans — mostly middle class — fall into a "justice gap" where they aren't poor enough to receive free legal aid provided to indigents but can't afford basic legal services on their own, according to Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court.