Texas District Courts

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The Texas District Courts form part of the Texas judicial system and are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. As of January 2019, 472 district courts serve the state, each with a single judge, elected by partisan election to a four-year term.[1]

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.[2]

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 60 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.[3]

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.[3]

Counties containing the most districts[edit]

The following data is accurate as of January 2019.[4]

County Largest city District courts
Harris County Houston 60
Dallas County Dallas 39
Bexar County San Antonio 27
Tarrant County Fort Worth 27
Travis County Austin 19
Hidalgo County McAllen 12
Collin County Plano 11
Denton County Denton 9
Fort Bend County Sugar Land 8
Jefferson County Beaumont 8

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Court Structure of Texas" (PDF). Texas Judicial Branch. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  2. ^ "TJB | About Texas Courts | Trial Courts". www.txcourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  3. ^ a b "The Texas Judicial System" (PDF). Texas Judicial Branch. September 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Complexities in the Geographical Jurisdictions of District Courts as of January 2019" (PDF). Retrieved 29 March 2019.

External links[edit]