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Texas State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Texas

Highest Court

The highest court in Texas is the Supreme Court of Texas.  The Supreme Court consists of 9 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Full appellate jurisdiction in civil and juvenile cases.

Court of Criminal Appeals
The Court of Criminal Appeals consists of 9 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Final appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases.

Intermediate Courts

Court of  Appeals
The Court of Appeals consists of 80 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Intermediate appeals from trial courts in their respective courts of appeals districts.

General Courts

District Court
The District Courts consists of 414 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Original jurisdiction in civil actions over $200 divorce, title to land, contested elections, and contested probate matters. (2) 10 District Courts are named Criminal District Courts; others are directed to give preference to certain specialized areas.

Limited Courts

Constitutional County Courts
The Constitutional County Court consists of 254 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Original jurisdiction in civil actions between $200 and $5,000. (2) Probate (contested matters transferred to District Court). (3) Exclusive original jurisdiction over misdemeanors with fine greater than $500 or jail sentence. (4) Appeals de novo from lower courts or on the record from municipal courts of record.

County Courts At Law
The County Courts at Law consists of 192 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Limited jurisdiction over civil matters, and most under $100,000. (2) Limited jurisdiction over criminal matters. (3) Appeals de novo from lower courts, or on the record from municipal courts of record.

Probate Courts (County)
The Probate Court consists of 16 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Limited primarily to probate matters.

Municipal Courts (Local)
The Municipal Courts consists of 1,294 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Criminal misdemeanors with fines less than $500. (2) Exclusive jurisdiction over municipal ordinance violations (Fines up to $2,000). (3) Limited civil penalties in cases involving dangerous dogs. (4) Magistrate functions.

Justice of the Peace Courts (Local)
The Justice of the Peace Courts consists of 835 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions under $5,000. (2) Small Claims (3) Criminal misdemeanors punishable by fine only (no confinement). (4) Preliminary hearings. (5) Magistrate functions.

Additional Information

State of Judiciary Message
At the beginning of each regular session of the legislature, the Supreme Court Chief Justice shall deliver a written or oral speech discussing the accessibility of the courts to the citizens and the future of the courts. This is to promote better communication between the judiciary and legislative branch. (§ 21.004 GOV’T)

Judicial Fund
The judicial fund is created in a separate fund in the state treasury to be administered by the comptroller. The funds hall be used only for court-related purposes for the support of the judicial branch of this state.(§ 21.006 GOV’T)

Disqualification of Justices
The chief justice may certify to the governor when one or more justices of the supreme court have recused or disqualified to hear and determine a case in court.  Upon receiving this information, the governor shall commission the needed and qualified active appellate or district justices to try and determine the case. (§ 22.005 GOV’T)

Training for Prosecuting Attorneys Related to Punishment Enhancement Because of Bias or Prejudice
The court of criminal appeals shall provide to prosecuting attorneys the needed training related to the use of Section 12.47 PENAL, Penal Code, and Article 42.014 CODE CRIM. P., Code of Criminal Procedure, for enhancing punishment on a finding that an offense was committed because of the defendant’s bias or prejudice as defined in Article 42.014 CODE CRIM. P., Code of Criminal Procedure.(§ 22.111 GOV’T)

Use of Teleconferencing Technology
At the decision of the chief justice or presiding judge, the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, or a court of appeals may allow an oral argument to be presented by the use of teleconferencing technology from any location.(§ 22.302 GOV’T)

Donation of Reimbursement
The juror may donate their compensation for jury service according to the standards and rules set forth in this statute.  (§ 61.003 GOV’T)

Appointment for Particular Matters
The county judge for reasonable cause may appoint a visiting judge who will have the powers of the county judge when concerning the assigned matter.  The be appointed a visiting judge, a person must be agreed on by the counsels of record, if the counsels are able to agree. (§ 26.022 GOV’T.)

Inside Texas State Courts