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Who prepares the jury trial docket?

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May 16, 2011, 13:45
Who prepares the jury trial docket?
Whose job is it to prepare a list of cases that are ready for trial & serve that list on defense counsel? I've been doing it for over 4 years & I'm ready to pass the responsibility along to the appropriate party, whoever that is. We share a court coordinator with neighboring counties who refuses to do it, despite her job title. I pressed the issue before, but all that got me was a meeting with her & a district judge in which she offered to mail the docket out, as long as I kept preparing it. The judge said that sounded like a great idea.

Can anyone point me towards a statute or case law that says its ... I don't know ... maybe a COURT COORDINATOR's job to prepare the trial docket? Thanks.
May 16, 2011, 13:59
I don't think there is a statute that says the court coordinator is supposed to manage the docket specifically, however, the commissioners can probably reduce the coordinator's pay or remove the position entirely if it can be shown that the position is not needed.

� 74.102. Duties
(a) The courts by local administrative rule shall designate the duties of the court coordinators.
(b) To promote uniform and efficient administration of justice in this state, the court coordinators shall cooperate with regional presiding and local administrative judges and state agencies having duties in the area of the operation of the courts.

Tex. Gov't Code Ann. � 74.102 (Vernon)

There is no inherent authority for a court or a group of courts to create a position or designate a person to serve as court administrator or coordinator, whose duties are generally to control the judicial docket in an effort to achieve the efficient use of judicial resources.

36 Tex. Prac., County And Special District Law � 22.26 (2d ed.)

See generally, Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. JM-49 (1983) (district court has no authority to appoint court coordinator and designate compensation); District Judges of 188th Judicial Dist. v. County Judge and Commissioners' Court for Gregg County, Tex., 657 S.W.2d 908 (Tex.App.�Texarkana 1983, no writ) (district judges failed to prove that position of court coordinator and computer system for courts was essential for administration of justice, and therefore not entitled to mandamus against commissioners court to fund position not specifically authorized by law); cf., County Commissioners' Court of Dallas County v. Williams, 638 S.W.2d 218 (Tex.App.�Eastland 1982, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (unsuccessful suit by attorney against commissioners court challenging allocation of court space for district courts hearing civil matters).
May 16, 2011, 15:44
shollis, your situation sounds awful. In our county, the judge and his court coordinator direct the county clerks office in how to arrange the various dockets. Sometimes there's miscommunication or computer errors and we get a weird docket, but that's rare. Most of the time, it works.

If I were picking and choosing which cases were going to trial and when, I'd have the defense bar howling and scratching at my door in five seconds. They might have a good argument for there being a conflict between the prosecutor's interest in closing the case and the court's interest in the orderly procession of cases through the trial docket while affording each defendant his/her entitled rights. Imagine the damage that could be done if civil attorneys on either side got to set the schedule: plaintiff's attys would want trial ASAP and Defense Attys would set it for two days after never.

I think it is the court's responsibility to set the schedule and the clerk's responsibility to give notice (with the court coordinator there for backup when needed). I think that judges can consider the opinions of the prosecutors and the defense bar in choosing the most expedient way to process their caseload, but that ultimate decision and responsibility should remain with the judge. Besides, DAs have plenty of other stuff to work on.
May 20, 2011, 10:09
Ken Sparks
If there is a written reset agreement setting a case for trial, why would you need to mail the docket to defense counsel?
May 20, 2011, 10:32
Could someone send me a copy of what you are using in your jurisdiction for written agreed rest notices? my email is
May 20, 2011, 11:51
Ken Sparks
I sent one.