Chapter 28 2 texas courts systems
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Chapter 28-2: Texas Courts Systems. Guided Notes. Texas Judicial System. A. Consists of : Courts Judges Law enforcement agencies B. Serves the purposes of: Supporting a system for the trial and punishment of criminals Providing a system to arbitrate (resolve) legal disputes

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Chapter 28-2: Texas Courts Systems

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Chapter 28-2: Texas Courts Systems

Guided Notes

Texas Judicial System

A. Consists of :

  • Courts

  • Judges

  • Law enforcement agencies

    B. Serves the purposes of:

  • Supporting a system for the trial and punishment of criminals

  • Providing a system to arbitrate (resolve) legal disputes

  • Deciding the meaning and enforcement of state laws

Texas’s Judicial System

C. Has Authority over:

  • Texas Civil Law

  • Texas Criminal Law, as

    well as the right to oversee

  • Legality of lawspassed by Legislative branch and Executive branch of Texas government

Texas Civil Law

A. Civil Law pertains to legal disputes between:

  • Private citizens

  • Businesses

  • Governments

    B. Most civil casesconcern disputes about:

    1) Money

    2) Property

    3) Insurance claims

    4) Child custody and support

C. Criminal Law: 1. Laws that describe what people can and cannot do.

2. Itdeals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses.


(2) Types of offenses:

You may want to write these down!!!

*A felony is a "very serious" crime.

*A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act.

D. Felony

  • Felons can receive punishments which range in severity from probation, imprisonment, and execution.

  • Punishments Can Include:

  • Loss of voting rights

  • Exclusion from certain jobs

  • Restricted from:

  • Obtaining certain licenses

  • Purchase/possession of firearms

  • Running for public office

E. Misdemeanors

  • Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies.

  • In general, misdemeanors are crimes with a maximum punishment of 12 months or less of incarceration, typically in a local jail.

E. Misdemeanors

  • Often punished with probation, community service or part-time imprisonment, served on the weekends.

  • Misdemeanors never result in the loss of civil rights, but may result in loss of privileges, such as professional licenses, public offices, or public employment

F. Plea Bargain

  • This is made when a person charged with a crime (defendant) agreesto plead guilty to a lesser charge.

G. The Jury System

1. Grand Jury: Decides whether a trial is warranted (legally necessary)

  • Consists of 12 citizens called jurors

  • At least 9 out of 12 jurors must agree on whether decision of trial

  • 2. Petit Jury: Decides verdict.

  • Verdict must be unanimous: guilty or not guilty.

  • Depending on case, either the judge or jury decides sentence.

H. Jury Bills

  • When there is enough evidence for a trial, the “charge” is called “true bill”

  • When there is not enough evidence for a trial, the “charge” against a person is called “no bill” and dropped

Texas Trial Courts


District Courts:Most Texas District courts try BOTH criminal and civil cases

County Courts: Texas Constitution requires each of the 254 counties in Texas to have at least one county court

County courts try Civil cases between $500.00 and $5,000.00 and criminal misdemeanor cases with fine over $2,000.00

Municipal Courts:Located in larger cities.

Violations of city ordinances and Misdemeanor cases

with maximum fines below $2,000.00

A. Justice of the Peace

  • Located in small towns and rural areas

  • Try civil cases

  • Minor criminal cases

  • Issue search warrants

  • Perform marriages

  • Set bail costs

  • Determine cause of death

  • Can send cases to higher courts

B. Appeals Courts

  • 14 Courts of Appeals

  • Listen to CivilandCriminal cases appealed from District or County courts.

  • Each Court of Appeals has at least 3 justices, including a presiding chief justice.

  • The specific number of justices on each court is established by the Legislature.

  • Judges on the Texas Courts of Appeals serve

    6-year terms

C. Justice for Juveniles

Texas Department of Juvenile Corrections oversees 1)juvenile trials,2) facilities, 3) boot camps, 4) courts, and 5) rehabilitation for offenders

up to the age of 18

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