Jurisdiction means the court’s authority to hear a
There are over 3,000 courts that settle more than 10
million cases per year in Texas.
Different types of cases can be Civil or Criminal.
Civil law protects rights and property and hold person
responsible for their actions.
A civil court case is when a person sues another person
for things such as property damage or violation of their
People involved in a court case are known as the
plaintiff (person suing) or the defendant (person being
Criminal law is also known as “prohibitive law”.
A criminal court case is when a person is in court for
breaking a law such as running a red light.
Criminal law reflects societal views which allows it to
change in different circumstances.
Preponderance is the practice of weighing evidence
and testimony in a court case.
In a criminal case the jurors must all agree that the
defendant is guilty for them to be convicted.
A criminal case has a prosecutor hired by the state but
a civil case is between individuals or corporations.
In some cases an act can be both civil and criminal
depending on if there is a law saying you cannot harm
Two types of courts are trial court and appellate court.
A trial court is the actual court in which a verdict is
reached in order convict a person.
An appellate court is a court that reviews the
conclusion of the trial courts and make sure the
verdict is correct and just.
The appellate court may rule the case to be upheld,
reverse and rendered, or reverse and remand.
Reverse and render is when the case is overturned.
Reverse and remand is when the verdict of the case is
wrong but has been chosen to not be overturned.
The types of trial-level courts are the municipal courts,
justice courts, county courts, and district courts.
Municipal court is based on violations of a city
ordinance such as curfew violation or noise
Justice court is “the people’s courts” and can hear both
criminal and civil cases.
County courts have cases that are about personal
injury or tax disputes.
District courts can also hear criminal or civil cases and
handles more serious cases.
Cases in the district courts can get billions of dollars
depending on the case.
Intermediate courts and dual supreme courts are types
of appellate courts.
Intermediate court of appeal hears case appeals from
state’s county and district courts that do not involve
cases in which the defendant was sentenced to death.
Dual supreme court is made up of the Texas Supreme
Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The
Texas Supreme Court works with appeals from civil
cases and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals deals
with criminal cases.
Decisions from court cases help public policy making.
The courts can make guidelines for certain acts and
they have the same effect as a law.
The guidelines need to help both the majority and the
minority when dealing with public opinion
In Texas judges may be elected by city councils or city
officials or by popular election
Judges need to run in partisan elections. This is
required in the state of Texas along with several other
The reason for having partisan elections is because
Texas is traditionalistic and people elected will be
more responsive to what the people want.
More minorities have been appointed by the governor
to fill judicial spots.
Missouri Plan stopped the rising cost of campaigning
which provided the opportunity for minorities to
qualify for representing in courts