The district courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. The
geographical area served by each court is established by the Legislature, but
each county must be served by at least one district court. In sparsely populated
areas of the State, several counties may be served by a single district court,
while an urban county may be served by many district courts.
District courts have original jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases,
divorce cases, cases involving title to land, election contest cases, civil
matters in which the amount in controversy (the amount of money or damages
involved) is $200 or more, and any matters in which jurisdiction is not placed
in another trial court. While most district courts try both criminal and civil
cases, in the more densely populated counties the courts may specialize in
civil, criminal, juvenile, or family law matters.
Jack Robison | Judge 207th Judicial District
Bruce Boyer | Judge 22nd Judicial District
Gary Steel | Judge 274th Judicial District
Dib Waldrip | Judge 433rd Judicial District
Steve Thomas | District Court Administrator
District Courts are the general trial courts of the state, handling most
major litigation. These courts hear felony cases, divorce proceedings,
questions involving titles to land, contested elections, juvenile matters
and any civil matter involving a claim of more than $1,000.
District judges must be licensed attorneys with at
least 5 years of practicing law. They are state officials, elected to a
four-year term, whose salaries are paid by the state. Supplements to Judges'
salaries, District Court employees' salaries and operating costs of the
courts are paid by the county.
The Grand Jury is appointed by the District Judge from
a list of prospective members. The responsibility of the Grand Jury is to
determine whether there is probable cause to believe a crime has been
committed by hearing evidence presented by the
Criminal District Attorney's office. When the Grand Jury feels that
there is sufficient evidence, it returns an indictment and the case is
placed on the Court's Docket. If the Grand Jury feels evidence is
insufficient, it does not return a true bill of indictment. Each Grand Jury
serves three months. At the end of three months, the Grand Jury is dismissed
and a new Grand Jury is impaneled.
The jury that most citizens are familiar with is called
a Petit Jury. Every litigant has the right to trial by
jury. In civil cases, however, no jury is impaneled unless requested. The
requesting party pays the jury fee.
When an indictment is tried in a District Court, it is
heard by a petit jury of 12 citizens. Their verdict must be unanimous.
In misdemeanor cases, a person is not charged by a
Grand Jury indictment but on information prepared by the District Attorney's
office. Such cases are filed in County Courts at Law and may be heard by a
six person Petit Jury. The verdict must be unanimous.
When called for Petit Jury duty for the district court,
jurors should report to the third floor of the Courthouse Annex.
Fees charged by the District Court are the same as those charged by the
County Court. The Commissioners Court set the following fees according to
Section 118.131 of the Local Government Code. These fees became effective
January 1, 2004.
Special Notes: In the case where the sum is exorbitant,
the Commissioners Court may adjust the fee. When money is collected by the
Sheriff or Constable without a sale, one-half of the above rates shall be
For all services not listed above, the District Court shall charge $55.
In addition to his/her judicial responsibilities, the district judge also appoints and supervises the
District Court Administrator,
juvenile probation officers,
adult probation officers and the bailiff of the court. Each District Court also has a court reporter who is appointed by the District Judge to record all court proceedings and prepare transcripts of those proceedings.
District Court Administrator
The district court administrator, appointed by the Board of District Judges,
performs or oversees all non-judicial business of the District Court. He/She maintains judicial control of all court staff services, including functions
performed by the clerk of courts, court coordinators, bailiffs, court reporters, probation departments and all other comparable services in county
judicial district. The District Court Administrator also ensures that all civil, criminal, domestic relations and juvenile cases are set before the courts.