Bill Text: TX HB4735 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the creation of magistrates in Fort Bend County.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 3-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-17 - Referred to Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence [HB4735 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB4735-Introduced.html
  86R8977 CAE-D
 
  By: Reynolds H.B. No. 4735
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the creation of magistrates in Fort Bend County.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Article 2.09, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Art. 2.09.  WHO ARE MAGISTRATES. Each of the following
  officers is a magistrate within the meaning of this Code: The
  justices of the Supreme Court, the judges of the Court of Criminal
  Appeals, the justices of the Courts of Appeals, the judges of the
  District Court, the magistrates appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Bexar County, Dallas County, or Tarrant County
  that give preference to criminal cases, the criminal law hearing
  officers for Harris County appointed under Subchapter L, Chapter
  54, Government Code, the criminal law hearing officers for Cameron
  County appointed under Subchapter BB, Chapter 54, Government Code,
  the magistrates or associate judges appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Lubbock County, Nolan County, or Webb County,
  the magistrates appointed by the judges of the criminal district
  courts of Dallas County or Tarrant County, the associate judges
  appointed by the judges of the district courts and the county courts
  at law that give preference to criminal cases in Jefferson County,
  the associate judges appointed by the judges of the district courts
  and the statutory county courts of Brazos County, Nueces County, or
  Williamson County, the magistrates appointed by the judges of the
  district courts and statutory county courts that give preference to
  criminal cases in Travis County, the criminal magistrates appointed
  by the Brazoria County Commissioners Court, the criminal
  magistrates appointed by the Burnet County Commissioners Court, the
  county judges, the judges of the county courts at law, judges of the
  county criminal courts, the judges of statutory probate courts, the
  associate judges appointed by the judges of the statutory probate
  courts under Chapter 54A, Government Code, the associate judges
  appointed by the judge of a district court under Chapter 54A,
  Government Code, the magistrates appointed under Subchapter JJ,
  Chapter 54, Government Code, the magistrates appointed by the Fort
  Bend County Commissioners Court [as added by H.B. No.   2132, Acts of
  the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011], the justices of the
  peace, and the mayors and recorders and the judges of the municipal
  courts of incorporated cities or towns.
         SECTION 2.  Chapter 54, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter NN to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER NN.  MAGISTRATES IN FORT BEND COUNTY
         Sec. 54.2301.  AUTHORIZATION; APPOINTMENT; TERMINATION;
  ELIMINATION. (a) The Commissioners Court of Fort Bend County by
  majority vote may appoint one or more part-time or full-time
  magistrates to perform the duties authorized by this subchapter.
         (b)  An order appointing a magistrate must be signed by the
  county judge of Fort Bend County, and the order must state:
               (1)  the magistrate's name; and
               (2)  the date the magistrate's employment begins.
         (c)  A magistrate may be terminated by a majority vote of the
  Commissioners Court of Fort Bend County.
         (d)  An authorized magistrate's position may be eliminated
  on a majority vote of the Commissioners Court of Fort Bend County.
         Sec. 54.2302.  QUALIFICATIONS; OATH OF OFFICE. (a) To be
  eligible for appointment as a magistrate, a person must:
               (1)  be a citizen of the United States;
               (2)  have resided in Fort Bend County for at least the
  four years preceding the person's appointment; and
               (3)  have been licensed to practice law in this state
  for at least four years.
         (b)  A magistrate appointed under Section 54.2301 must take
  the constitutional oath of office required of appointed officers of
  this state.
         Sec. 54.2303.  COMPENSATION. A magistrate is entitled to
  the compensation set by the Commissioners Court of Fort Bend
  County.  The compensation shall be paid from the general fund of the
  county.
         Sec. 54.2304.  JUDICIAL IMMUNITY. A magistrate has the same
  judicial immunity as a district judge.
         Sec. 54.2305.  PROCEEDING THAT MAY BE REFERRED. (a) The
  judge of a district court or county court at law or a justice of the
  peace may refer to a magistrate any case or matter relating to a
  case for proceedings involving:
               (1)  a negotiated plea of guilty or no contest and
  sentencing before the court;
               (2)  a bond forfeiture, remittitur, and related
  proceedings;
               (3)  a pretrial motion;
               (4)  a writ of habeas corpus;
               (5)  an examining trial;
               (6)  an occupational driver's license;
               (7)  a petition for an order of expunction under
  Chapter 55, Code of Criminal Procedure;
               (8)  an asset forfeiture hearing as provided by Chapter
  59, Code of Criminal Procedure;
               (9)  a petition for an order of nondisclosure of
  criminal history record information or an order of nondisclosure of
  criminal history record information that does not require a
  petition provided by Subchapter E-1, Chapter 411;
               (10)  a motion to modify or revoke community
  supervision or to proceed with an adjudication of guilt;
               (11)  setting conditions, modifying, revoking, and
  surrendering of bonds, including surety bonds;
               (12)  specialty court proceedings;
               (13)  a waiver of extradition; 
               (14)  selection of a jury; and
               (15)  any other matter the judge or justice of the peace
  considers necessary and proper.
         (b)  A judge may refer to a magistrate a civil case arising
  out of Chapter 59, Code of Criminal Procedure, for any purpose
  authorized by that chapter, including issuing orders, accepting
  agreed judgments, enforcing judgments, and presiding over a case on
  the merits if a party has not requested a jury trial.
         (c)  A magistrate may accept a plea of guilty from a
  defendant charged with misdemeanor, felony, or both misdemeanor and
  felony offenses.
         (d)  If the magistrate is acting as an associate judge under
  Section 54.2316, the magistrate may hear any case referred under
  Section 54A.106.
         (e)  A magistrate may not preside over a criminal trial on
  the merits, regardless of whether the trial is before a jury.
         (f)  A magistrate may not hear any jury trial on the merits.
         Sec. 54.2306.  ORDER OF REFERRAL. (a) To refer one or more
  cases to a magistrate, a judge or justice of the peace must issue an
  order of referral specifying the magistrate's duties.
         (b)  An order of referral may:
               (1)  limit the powers of the magistrate and direct the
  magistrate to report only on specific issues, perform particular
  acts, or receive and report on evidence only;
               (2)  set the time and place for the hearing;
               (3)  prescribe a closing date for the hearing;
               (4)  provide a date for filing the magistrate's
  findings;
               (5)  designate proceedings for more than one case over
  which the magistrate shall preside;
               (6)  direct the magistrate to call the court's docket;
  and
               (7)  set forth general powers and limitations of
  authority of the magistrate applicable to any case referred.
         Sec. 54.2307.  POWERS. (a)  Except as limited by an order of
  referral, a magistrate to whom a case is referred may:
               (1)  conduct hearings;
               (2)  hear evidence;
               (3)  compel production of relevant evidence in civil or
  criminal matters;
               (4)  rule on disputes regarding civil discovery;
               (5)  rule on admissibility of evidence;
               (6)  issue summons for the appearance of witnesses;
               (7)  examine witnesses;
               (8)  swear witnesses for hearings;
               (9)  make findings of fact on evidence;
               (10)  formulate conclusions of law;
               (11)  rule on a pretrial motion;
               (12)  recommend the rulings, orders, or judgment to be
  made in a case;
               (13)  regulate proceedings in a hearing;
               (14)  accept a plea of guilty from a defendant charged
  with misdemeanor, felony, or both misdemeanor and felony offenses;
               (15)  select a jury;
               (16)  accept a negotiated plea on a probation
  revocation;
               (17)  conduct a contested probation revocation
  hearing;
               (18)  sign a dismissal in a misdemeanor case;
               (19)  enter an order of dismissal or nonsuit on
  agreement of the parties in a civil case;
               (20)  in any case referred under Section 54.2305(a)(1),
  accept a negotiated plea of guilty or no contest and:
                     (A)  enter a finding of guilt and impose or
  suspend the sentence; or
                     (B)  defer adjudication of guilt;
               (21)  conduct initial juvenile detention hearings if
  approved by the juvenile board of Fort Bend County; and
               (22)  perform any act and take any measure necessary
  and proper for the efficient performance of the duties required by
  the order of referral.
         (b)  A magistrate may sign a motion to dismiss submitted by
  an attorney representing the state on cases referred to the
  magistrate, or on dockets called by the magistrate, and may
  consider unadjudicated cases at sentencing under Section 12.45,
  Penal Code.
         (c)  Except as provided by Sections 54.2305(e) and (f), a
  magistrate has all of the powers of a magistrate under the laws of
  this state and may administer an oath for any purpose.
         Sec. 54.2308.  FORFEITURES. Bail bonds and personal bonds
  may be forfeited by the magistrate court in the manner provided by
  Chapter 22, Code of Criminal Procedure, and those forfeitures shall
  be filed with:
               (1)  the district clerk if associated with a felony
  case;
               (2)  the county clerk if associated with a Class A or
  Class B misdemeanor case; or
               (3)  the same justice court clerk associated with the
  Class C misdemeanor case in which the bond was originally filed.
         Sec. 54.2309.  COSTS.  (a)  When the district clerk is the
  clerk under this subchapter, the district clerk shall charge the
  same court costs for cases filed in, transferred to, or assigned to
  the magistrate court that are charged in the district courts.
         (b)  When the county clerk is the clerk under this
  subchapter, the county clerk shall charge the same court costs for
  cases filed in, transferred to, or assigned to the magistrate court
  that are charged in the county courts.
         (c)  When a justice clerk is the clerk under this subchapter,
  the justice clerk shall charge the same court costs for cases filed
  in, transferred to, or assigned to the magistrate court that are
  charged in the justice courts.
         Sec. 54.2310.  CLERK. (a)  The district clerk serves as
  clerk of the magistrate court, except that:
               (1)  after a Class A or Class B misdemeanor is filed in
  the county court at law and assigned to the magistrate court, the
  county clerk serves as clerk for that misdemeanor case; and
               (2)  after a Class C misdemeanor is filed in a justice
  court and assigned to the magistrate court, the originating justice
  court clerk serves as clerk for that misdemeanor case.
         (b)  The district clerk shall establish a docket and keep the
  minutes for the cases filed in or transferred to the magistrate
  court.  The district clerk shall perform any other duties that local
  administrative rules require in connection with the implementation
  of this subchapter.  The local administrative judge shall ensure
  that the duties required under this subsection are performed.  To
  facilitate the duties associated with serving as the clerk of the
  magistrate court, the district clerk and the deputies of the
  district clerk may serve as deputy justice clerks and deputy county
  clerks at the discretion of the district clerk.
         (c)  The clerk of the case shall include as part of the record
  on appeal a copy of the order and local administrative rule under
  which a magistrate court acted.
         Sec. 54.2311.  COURT REPORTER. At the request of a party,
  the court shall provide a court reporter to record the proceedings
  before the magistrate.
         Sec. 54.2312.  WITNESS. (a)  A witness who appears before a
  magistrate and is sworn is subject to the penalties for perjury
  provided by law.
         (b)  A referring court may issue attachment against and may
  fine or imprison a witness whose failure to appear after being
  summoned or whose refusal to answer questions has been certified to
  the court.
         Sec. 54.2313.  PAPERS TRANSMITTED TO JUDGE. At the
  conclusion of the proceedings, a magistrate shall transmit to the
  referring court any papers relating to the case, including the
  magistrate's findings, conclusions, orders, recommendations, or
  other action taken.
         Sec. 54.2314.  COSTS OF MAGISTRATE. The court shall
  determine if the nonprevailing party is able to defray the costs of
  the magistrate.  If the court determines the nonprevailing party is
  able to pay those costs, the court shall assess the magistrate's
  costs against the nonprevailing party.
         Sec. 54.2315.  JUDICIAL ACTION. (a) A referring court may
  modify, correct, reject, reverse, or recommit for further
  information any action taken by the magistrate.
         (b)  If the court does not modify, correct, reject, reverse,
  or recommit an action of the magistrate, the action becomes the
  decree of the court.
         (c)  At the conclusion of each term during which the services
  of a magistrate are used, the referring court shall enter a decree
  on the minutes adopting the actions of the magistrate of which the
  court approves.
         Sec. 54.2316.  MAGISTRATE AS ASSOCIATE JUDGE. A magistrate
  appointed under this subchapter may act as a civil associate judge
  under Subchapter B, Chapter 54A.  To the extent of any conflict with
  this subchapter, a magistrate acting as an associate judge shall
  comply with provisions regarding the appointment, termination,
  referral of cases, powers, duties, and immunities of associate
  judges under Subchapter B, Chapter 54A.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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