Law:Title 2. Judicial Branch. Subtitle A. Courts (Texas)

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Subtitle A. Courts

Contents

Chapter 21. General Provisions

Section  21.001.  Inherent Power And Duty Of Courts.

(a) A court has all powers necessary for the exercise of its jurisdiction and the enforcement of its lawful orders, including authority to issue the writs and orders necessary or proper in aid of its jurisdiction.

(b)  A court shall require that proceedings be conducted with dignity and in an orderly and expeditious manner and control the proceedings so that justice is done.

(c)  During a court proceeding a judge may not request that a person remove an item of religious apparel unless:

(1)  a party in the proceeding objects to the wearing of the apparel; and

(2)  the judge concludes that the wearing of the apparel will interfere with:

(A)  the objecting party's right to a fair hearing; or

(B)  the proper administration of justice; and

(3)  no reasonable alternative exists under which the judge may:

(A)  assure a fair hearing; and

(B)  protect the fair administration of justice.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 54, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  21.002.  Contempt Of Court.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (g), a court may punish for contempt.

(b)  The punishment for contempt of a court other than a justice court or municipal court is a fine of not more than $500 or confinement in the county jail for not more than six months, or both such a fine and confinement in jail.

(c)  The punishment for contempt of a justice court or municipal court is a fine of not more than $100 or confinement in the county or city jail for not more than three days, or both such a fine and confinement in jail.

(d)  An officer of a court who is held in contempt by a trial court shall, on proper motion filed in the offended court, be released on his own personal recognizance pending a determination of his guilt or innocence. The presiding judge of the administrative judicial region in which the alleged contempt occurred shall assign a judge who is subject to assignment by the presiding judge other than the judge of the offended court to determine the guilt or innocence of the officer of the court.

(e)  Except as provided by Subsection (h), this section does not affect a court's power to confine a contemner to compel the contemner to obey a court order.

(f)  Article 42.033, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Chapter 157, Family Code, apply when a person is punished by confinement for contempt of court for disobedience of a court order to make periodic payments for the support of a child. Subsection (h) does not apply to that person.

(g)  A court may not punish by contempt an employee or an agency or institution of this state for failure to initiate any program or to perform a statutory duty related to that program:

(1)  if the legislature has not specifically and adequately funded the program; or

(2)  until a reasonable time has passed to allow implementation of a program specifically and adequately funded by the legislature.

(h)  Notwithstanding any other law, a person may not be confined for contempt of court longer than:

(1)  18 months, including three or more periods of confinement for contempt arising out of the same matter that equal a cumulative total of 18 months, if the confinement is for criminal contempt; or

(2)  the lesser of 18 months or the period from the date of confinement to the date the person complies with the court order that was the basis of the finding of contempt, if the confinement is for civil contempt.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 8.44(1), eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 560, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 646, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 25, Sec. 34, eff. Nov. 1, 1989; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 262, Sec. 87, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.24, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1297, Sec. 71(4), eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 425 Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  21.004.  State Of Judiciary Message.

(a) At a convenient time at the commencement of each regular session of the legislature, the chief justice of the supreme court shall deliver a written or oral state of the judiciary message evaluating the accessibility of the courts to the citizens of the state and the future directions and needs of the courts of the state.

(b)  It is the intent of the legislature that the state of the judiciary message promote better understanding between the legislative and judicial branches of government and promote more efficient administration of justice in Texas.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 129, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  21.005.  Disqualification.

A judge or a justice of the peace may not sit in a case if either of the parties is related to him by affinity or consanguinity within the third degree, as determined under Chapter 573.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 148, Sec. 2.01(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 21, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.95(28), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  21.006.  Judicial Fund.

The judicial fund is created in a separate fund in the state treasury to be administered by the comptroller. The fund shall be used only for court-related purposes for the support of the judicial branch of this state.

Added by Acts 1986, 69th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 11, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 22, 1986.



Section  21.007.  Child Support And Court Management Account.

(a) The presiding judges of the administrative judicial regions shall administer the child support and court management account of the judicial fund and may name the committees they consider necessary to aid in administering the account.

(b)  Only the chief justice may call and convene meetings of the presiding judges to administer the account. The presiding judges shall act by majority vote.

(c)  On request of the presiding judges, the Office of Court Administration shall assist the presiding judges in administering the account.

(d)  The Office of Court Administration and the presiding judges shall file a report with the Legislative Budget Board at the end of each fiscal year showing disbursements from the account and the purpose for each disbursement.

(e)  A county commissioners court, statutory county court judge, district judge, or court clerk may apply to the presiding judges for funds from the account. After receiving an application, the presiding judges may conduct an on-site assessment of the needs of the applicant. Before acting on any other pending applications, the presiding judges shall act on applications for funds to employ a court master and other judicial employees or to purchase equipment necessary to comply with state or federal law relating to the Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984 (P.L. 98-378). All funds expended are subject to audit by the comptroller of public accounts and the state auditor. Funds shall be allocated among the various administrative judicial regions taking into consideration the intent of the legislature that the amount of federal funds available under the Title IV-D program of the Social Security Act, as amended, for the collection and enforcement of child support obligations shall be maximized. The presiding judges are given the power to contract with the Office of the Attorney General and local political subdivisions as may be necessary to achieve this intent.

(f)  After approval of an application by the presiding judges, the applicant may be directly reimbursed by the comptroller from the child support and court management account for expenses incurred pursuant to the approved application in accordance with this Act. A person paid from funds drawn on the account is an employee of the county, and that person's salary may be supplemented from other sources, including local or federal funds and public or private grants. Funds allocated for personnel may not be used to pay the salary of a district or statutory county court judge. Funds allocated for personnel may be used to pay in full or in part the salary of an employee, to supplement the salary of an existing employee, or to hire additional personnel. The presiding judges and the Office of Court Administration shall cooperate with any state or federal agency to provide for the fullest possible supplementation of the account and shall act as necessary to qualify account funds for any federal matching funds or reimbursement of funds available under the Title IV-D program administered by the attorney general.

(g)  It is the purpose of this section to increase the funds available for the collection and enforcement of child support obligations and the administration of justice in each county in this state and to provide funding to be used for court-related purposes for the support of the judicial branch of this state. Funds available from the judicial fund and its special account may be supplemented by local or federal funds and private or public grants. A county commissioners court may not reduce the amount of funds provided for these purposes because of the availability of funds from the judicial fund or the special account.

Added by Acts 1986, 69th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 11, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 22, 1986.



Section  21.008.  District Court Support Account.

(a) The district court support account of the judicial fund is created to be administered by the office of court administration as directed by the supreme court.

(b)  The comptroller shall allocate to the district court support account such amounts from the judicial fund as may be designated in the General Appropriations Act.

(c)  The district court support account may be used only for court-related purposes for the support of the district courts of this state to defray the salaries of support personnel and other expenses incurred in the operations of the courts, the necessary expenses of the administrative judicial regions, and for the administration of this section.

(d)  The State Board of Regional Judges is created to administer the funds appropriated to this account and to the child support and court management account of the judicial fund created by Section 21.007. The board shall be composed of the nine regional administrative judges of the state, who shall have the authority to organize, elect officers, and make such rules as may be necessary for the proper administration of these accounts.

(e)  The office of court administration shall file a report with the Legislative Budget Board at the end of each fiscal year showing disbursements from the account and the purpose for each disbursement. All funds expended are subject to audit by the comptroller and the State Auditor.

(f)  Funds allocated for personnel may be used to pay in full or in part the salary of an employee, to supplement the salary of an existing employee, or to hire additional personnel.

(g)  It is the purpose of this section to increase the funds available for the administration of justice in each county in this state and to provide funding to be used for court-related purposes for the support of the judicial branch of this state. Funds available from the judicial fund and its special account may be supplemented by local or federal funds and private or public grants. A county commissioners court may not reduce the amount of funds provided for these purposes because of the availability of funds from the judicial fund or the special account.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 674, Sec. 3.01, eff. Aug. 31, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 646, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 28, 1989.



Section  21.009.  Definitions.

In this title:

(1)  "County court" means the court created in each county by Article V, Section 15, of the Texas Constitution.

(2)  "Statutory county court" means a county court created by the legislature under Article V, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, including county courts at law, county criminal courts, county criminal courts of appeals, and county civil courts at law, but does not include statutory probate courts as defined by Section 3, Texas Probate Code.

(3)  "County judge" means the judge of the county court.

(4)  "Statutory probate court" has the meaning assigned by Section 3, Texas Probate Code.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 148, Sec. 2.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Renumbered from Sec. 21.008 by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 16.01(18), eff. Aug. 28,1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 394, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 746, Sec. 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1991; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 431, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.


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