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The Texas Judicial System - Essay Example

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The Texas Judicial System

One of the most complex elements of the judicial system is that there are two distinct systems - federal and state, even though most of the cases are filed in state courts. Texas' system is based on confusing array of courts with overlapping jurisdictions and has the double court system even at the highest appellate level. The Texas Supreme Court has nine members and is the last resort in civil cases. The nation has much criticized the Texas judicial system, especially for the large campaign contributions during elections of the state judges and high execution level, however, in overall the system is not very effective effective.
In 1822, the first provisional justice of the piece in Texas has been appointed - Josiah Bell appointed by Stephen Austin. Shortly after the revolution, the Spanish law has been replaced by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas under which the judicial power was focused in Supreme Court. The state was divided into judicial districts - each county had the court and the judge elected by popular vote. However, the chief justice of the state was elected by the ballot of the houses of Congress. The justice of the Supreme Court were elected by the governor with the consent of the Senate, however, in 1850 the offices were made elective (Braden 47). In 1876 additional appellate court of the last resort was established while the Supreme Court did not review the decisions of the Court of Appeals. Within the next decade, the intermediate level of appeal courts was established. In 1891, the Court of Appeals became the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals with the jurisdiction over criminal cases appeals from district and county courts.
Today there are three levels of the courts, including district, county and inferior. Moreover, there is no uniform jurisdiction among the levels and it is necessary to examine the statutes of each. There are also courts of appeals and two courts of the last resort. Inferior courts include justice and municipal courts which have the most uniform jurisdiction in the state. The traffic offense cases are filed to inferior courts - they collect fines and are the revenue producers. Counties with more than 30,000 population have from 4 to 8 precincts - each having one justice of peace serving for the term of 4 years. Justice of the peace courts are filed criminal offenses punishable by fine (not more than $5,000). Justice of peace also serve as the magistrates and can issue warrants to arrest and search (Braden 60-68).
Municipal courts are established in more than 800 cities and have more than one judge. The city's governing body appoint the judges of municipal courts, even though some of the judges are elected by the voters. Municipal courts are not courts of record and have jurisdiction over city ordinances violations punishable by fines. The county courts are divided into two systems: constitutional courts and statutory courts. Constitutional courts have jurisdiction over the inferior courts and criminal jurisdiction over the misdemeanors and civil matters. The judge of the constitutional court has legislative and executive functions and serves the term of four years. The statutory county courts have jurisdiction over civil, family and criminal matters, even though it varies throughout the state. District courts are trial courts and have jurisdic ...Show more

Summary

The Texas judicial system is very complex and multi-leveled. There are three characteristics which make Texas judicial system different from other states': there are two appellate courts, trial courts do not have uniform jurisdiction and the judges are selected through partisan elections…
Author : jerrod58
The Texas Judicial System essay example
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