Court Structure - Federal
For Federal cases the 5th Circuit Courts are used for Texas. This court has twenty-nine active seats for judges. Some of the judges have different duty stations. The Honorable Catherine Haynes, appointed by President G.W. Bush is responsible for the Dallas duty station.
The 5th Circuit Courts are located in New Orleans with ancillary courts located in Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; Jackson, MS; San Antonio, TX; Shreveport, LA and Lafayette, LA.
Court Structure – State, County, and Local
Besides Oklahoma, Texas is the only other state to have a bifurcated court system. This means there are two courts. The Texas Supreme Court handles civil matters. State criminal appeals are handled through the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Texas Supreme Court handles all non-criminal matters, which includes juvenile delinquency. The state considers delinquency to be a civil matter. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals allows the judicial power of the state and describes the Court's jurisdiction. The court sets rules for judicial eligibility, elections, and vacancies.
The Texas Supreme Court of Criminal Appeals exercises discretionary review over criminal cases, but the only cases the court must hear are those cases that involve capital punishment or denial of bail. The court can issue the right to new trials or reassessing punishment in capital punishment cases. There has been some controversy surrounding representation of indigent clients and the appellate attorneys.
The state trial court of general jurisdiction is known as the district court. The geographical area served by each district court is established by the specific statute creating that court and does not necessarily correspond to the area served by any previously established court. Each court has one judge. District courts have jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases, divorce cases, land title disputes, election contests, civil matters in which at least $200 is...