On This Day 13 Years Ago, 9-1-1 Call for Help found to be Non-testimonial

On November 2, 2015, The Waco Court of Appeals, in Kearney v. State, 181 S.W.3d 438 (Tex. App.—Waco 2005), found that statements made during a call to 9-1-1 to report an armed robbery in progress were not testimonial. The owner of a Western Union store heard gunshots and saw a masked man waving a gun demandingContinue reading “On This Day 13 Years Ago, 9-1-1 Call for Help found to be Non-testimonial”

On this Day 17 Years Ago: A New Frontier

A New Frontier On this day, 17 years ago. The El Paso Court of Appeals held that not all “split bonds” are invalid in Frontier Ins. Co. v. State, 64 S.W.3d 481 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2001). In the case, a defendant charged with possession of between 50 and 2,000 of marijuana. A magistrate set bail at $40,000,Continue reading “On this Day 17 Years Ago: A New Frontier”

Three Resources to Inform Your City about Municipal Court

We feel it is very important for courts to share information about issues related criminal justice, municipal courts, fines and costs, and the public perception of the courts with their cities. Here are three resources that you should be aware of: 1. Attend Texas Municipal League’s Annual Conference with City Staff Not only will spendingContinue reading “Three Resources to Inform Your City about Municipal Court”

Personal Bonds: What I Learned from What You Should Read

In the latest issue (July 2018) of The Recorder: The Journal of Texas Municipal Courts, the article gracing the front page is all about personal bonds. It is informative, straightforward, and succinct. Authors Ryan Kellus Turner (TMCEC’s General Counsel and Director of Education) and Henry W. Knight (TMCEC’s summer intern and a University of Texas Law student enteringContinue reading “Personal Bonds: What I Learned from What You Should Read”

Mental Health Summit, Day 2 Takeaways

TMCEC’s Mental Health Summit, Day 2 continued with the great training today. I want to share with you some more of the important points I took away from today’s sessions. 1. Empathy is Something We’re Generally Not Good With, but It is Powerful and has Its Place in Court. Dr. Brian Sims of the NationalContinue reading “Mental Health Summit, Day 2 Takeaways”

Mental Health Summit, Day 1 Takeaways

Today marked day 1 of TMCEC’s 2nd Mental Health Summit, and I was fortunate to attend as a participant. After the TMCEC’s first Mental Health Summit in 2016, it became clear the topic of mental health is an important concern for municipal judges in Texas, and it deserves attention at educational programs to highlight currentContinue reading “Mental Health Summit, Day 1 Takeaways”

Are the Days Numbered for Driver’s License Suspensions for Nonpayment?

Recently, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) published a model policy titled Resolution in Support of Limiting Driver’s License Suspensions to Violations that Involve Dangerous Driving. While the name of the resolution says plenty, here is the official summary taken from the resolution: A person whose driver’s license is suspended will often find it moreContinue reading “Are the Days Numbered for Driver’s License Suspensions for Nonpayment?”

Walk-In Docket Success in Texas

Many courts in Texas enhance the administration of justice in their jurisdictions through the use of walk-in dockets. Walk-in dockets refer to the practice of courts designating specific times for defendants to show up to see a judge or appropriate court personnel regarding charges against them. While defendants are still given a scheduled court dateContinue reading “Walk-In Docket Success in Texas”

Procedural Justice in a Video Nutshell

This week, in Austin, about 20 municipal court leaders were able to spend a couple of days with Emily LaGratta of the Center for Court Innovation to discuss how Procedural Justice can lead to the more successful administration of justice in Texas municipal courts. Emily did a wonderful job leading an interesting, energizing, and useful discussion. ItContinue reading “Procedural Justice in a Video Nutshell”