Courts with only original jurisdiction hear and resolve cases heard for the first time only based upon the facts presented in evidence before the tryer of fact (the jury or the judge). Courts with only appellate jurisdiction review and determine cases heard in lower courts based upon purported errors made in the application of the law. Facts are not in controversy. High court level: Texas has a bifurcated court system, a two-court system, at the state’s highest level. The Texas Supreme Court is the court of last resort in civil cases. The Court of Criminal Appeals has final authority to review criminal cases. Both the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals have elected chief justices and eight justices who serve staggered six-year terms, and with qualifications for election the same in both courts. Texas has two courts of last resort, designed by the 1876 constitutional delegates to fragment political power. The Texas Supreme Court is seen as probably the superior court, as it develops administrative procedures for state courts as well as hearing appellate civil cases from lower courts. The Court of Criminal
Appeals hears only criminal cases on appeal. Intermediate appellate court level: The state’s intermediate level appellate courts, the Courts of Appeals, sit in 14 districts covering the state. Appeals are directed from district and lower courts in a given court of appeals district to that particular appellate court. Appellate judges are elected to six-year terms. In 2003, there was a combined total of more than 12,000 cases on the dockets of the courts of appeals, with more than 70 percent of the cases criminal appeals. Courts of appeals hear both civil and criminal cases from district courts. Trial Court Level: District Courts : The district court is the primary trial court in Texas. District courts have primary original jurisdiction over civil case involving values of $200 to infinity. Civil cases with large amounts-in- controversy are tried in state district courts. Divorce, title to land, contest elections, defamation of character, contested probable matters tried in district court. District courts have original jurisdiction in felony criminal matters. In 2003, there were 420 judicial districts with at least one judge per district, though large counties often have a number of district courts—Harris county has 59 district courts. District judges are elected in partisan elections to four year terms. County Courts : Each county has a constitutional county court, with the county judge elected countywide to a four-year term. The county judge need not be a lawyer. The county judge also is chief executive officer of the county, and presides over the county’s policy- making body of the commissioners’ court. The county court shares some original jurisdiction with both JP courts and district courts in civil cases and its original civil jurisdiction ranges from $500 to $2,000.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 29 pages?
- Spring '08
- Common Law, Supreme Court of the United States, United States Supreme Court