Texas District Courts
The Texas District Courts form part of the Texas judicial system and are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. As of September 2011, 456 district courts serve the state, each with a single judge, elected by partisan election to a four-year term.
District courts have original jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases, divorce cases, land title disputes, election contests, civil matters in which at least $200 is disputed or claimed in damages, as well as other matters. Most district courts consider both criminal and civil cases but, in counties with many courts, each may specialize in civil, criminal, juvenile, or family law matters.
Districts can cover a single county or several counties, with many districts overlapping one another. Harris County, the state's most populous, is home to 59 district courts - each one covering the entire county. While district courts can and do share courthouses and clerks to save money, each is still legally constituted as a separate court. This is dramatically different from the situation in most U.S. states (or most other jurisdictions), in which a single trial court is staffed by multiple judges, each of whom has authority to act in the name of that court.
In sparsely populated areas, a single district can cover numerous counties: several districts span five counties, for example. Some counties share numerous overlapping districts, such as the 12 districts that serve the same 13 county region of central and eastern Texas, with each district covering the entirety of the 13 counties.
Counties containing the most districts
|County||Largest city||District courts|
|Bexar County||San Antonio||27|
|Tarrant County||Fort Worth||27|
|El Paso County||El Paso||13|
- Texas District Court homepage
- Map of court jurisdictions
- Breakdown of district composition by county
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