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Texas Politics - The Justice System
Comparing Texas and U.S. court caseloads Comparing Texas and U.S. court caseloads
original jurisdiction
3.3    Statutory Courts of General Jurisdiction - Texas District Courts

There is only one type of statutory court of general jurisdiction, the Texas District courts. The District courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction in Texas. Each county must be served by at least one District court, but the size and shape of each district is determined by the Legislature, primarily on the basis of population.

Most District courts try both criminal and civil cases. District courts have original jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases, divorce cases, cases involving title to land, election contest cases, civil matters in which the amount in controversy (the amount of money or damages involved) is $200 or more, and any matters in which jurisdiction is not placed in another trial court. In densely populated counties the District courts may specialize in civil, criminal, juvenile, or family law matters.

The state District courts handle a huge number of cases. In 2003 alone, Texas District courts took on more than 800,000 new cases. And though the U.S. District courts are the workhorses of the national court system, this chapter's feature Caseloads in the Courts illustrates that the state courts handle many more cases.

Texas Politics:
© 2009, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin
3rd Edition - Revision 115
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