When our County Court at Law was created, legislation also directed that the County Court "has no probate, juvenile, civil, or criminal jurisdiction." Does that limit the Chapter 15, CCP authority for the County Judge? Who may want to magistrate arrested suspects, issue search warrants and arrest warrants, etc.
Posts: 39 | Location: Sinton, Texas, USA | Registered: February 26, 2004
My recent experience with Eastland would lead me to believe that that court, at least, would interpret the statute to say that your County Judge has no jurisdiction outside Commissioners Court and other "courthouse housekeeping" duties. I think that they would read the no criminal part of the statute quite narrowly.
Just my thought... and another appeals court may read it differently
The provision which you cite clearly conflicts with art. 4.01 (6), CCP, but I believe is effective to remove the criminal jurisdiction of the "county court." It is less clear that the county judge is not to still be considered a magistrate under art. 2.09. While the safer approach would be for the judge to refrain from acting as a magistrate, I also think someone would have a hard time challenging those actions based merely on the statute creating the county court at law.
Constitutional County Judges who handle judicial functions have a judicial continuing education requirement; TAC oversees the record-keeping on this. I'm betting that your county judge has filed an exemption affidavit with TAC's County Judge's Education Committee swearing that he does not perform any judical acts and claiming an exemption from the continuing education requirement that applies to county judges who do perform judicial acts. Has he? If he has, it's an easy answer -- if he's opted out of the continuing education requirement, he cannot perform any judicial functions, and the tasks you mention are clearly judicial in nature. This would be true even if he arguably has any judicial authority left that he could otherwise have opted to perform.
Posts: 341 | Location: Tarrant County, Texas | Registered: August 24, 2001
quote:if he's opted out of the continuing education requirement, he cannot perform any judicial functions
Guess that is now the issue, Ann, after the AG interpreted the other statutes. A second issue arises under Canon 6 B. of the Code of Judicial Conduct. I doubt any of these judges will start performing these duties, but real issue is whether they should ever be asked to do so.