Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Ch. 11 | the judicial branch

  • role: interpret & apply state constitutional provisions, statutory laws, & agency regulations 
  • civil law: concerning noncriminal matters (business contracts, personal injury, etc.)
  • criminal law: concerning felony & misdemeanor offenses by individuals against other person & property, or in violation of laws & ordinances 
  • Texas courts interpret & apply state law 
trial & appellate courts:
  • local trial courts: handle class C misdemeanors 
-municipal courts
-justice of the peace courts
  • county trial courts: probate, civil, & criminal jurisdiction
  • state trial (district) courts: exclusive original jurisdiction over civil cases w $200+
  • intermediate appellate courts: hear appeals of civil & criminal cases from district & county 
  • highest appellate courts: 
-court of criminal appeals 
-Texas supreme court: civil law cases, establishes rules of civil procedure for state's lower courts
  • specialty courts: deal w particular types of problems/populations
  • alternative dispute resolution: use of mediation, conciliation, or arbitration to resolve disputes among individuals w/o resorting to court trial  
  • the State Commission on Judicial Conduct plays role in disciplining state's judiciary 
  • the State Bar of Texas oversees the state's lawyers 
-Legal Aid: free legal attorney w Legal Services Corporation
  • Texas has two types of juries:
-grand juries: 12 persons w qualifications of trial jurors; serves 6 months while determining whether sufficient evidence exists to indict persons accused of committing crimes
-trial (petit) juries: 6 or 12 members
  • qualifications of Texas juror:
-citizen of U.S. & Texas
-18+ years old 
-of sound mind
-not convicted of felony
  • exemptions:
-70+ years old
-legal custody of a child younger than 10 
-enrolled in/attending university, college, secondary school
-primary caregiver for an invalid
-employed by legislative branch 
-serving w/in preceding 2 years in counties w populations of 200,000+
-active military duty outside the county
  • civil law:
-torts: injury to person/person's property resulting from the wrongful act of another
-domestic relations
-family law
  • civil trial procedure:
  1. plaintiff files petition/complaints against defendant & the remedy sought
  2. petition filed w clerk of court
  3. lawsuit contemplated
  4. clerk issues a citation which is delivered to defendant
  5. defendant files an answer to plaintiff's charges 
  6. judge sets a trial date 

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