Important COVID-19 Resources from OCA

COVID-19 led to significant changes for Texas municipal courts. One excellent resource for information from the Office of Court Administration (OCA) is the Texas Judicial Branch home page at txcourts.gov. On the page, you will find links to all COVID-19 information at the top of the Announcements Box. Included in the Announcements box are linksContinue reading “Important COVID-19 Resources from OCA”

Waiver of Fines and Costs: A Recent History

The waiver of fines and costs has long been a tool for judges when dealing with defendants that have an inability to pay. When and how waiver can be used, however, has changed drastically in the last two legislative sessions. In this entry, we will look at the evolution of waiver before and after recentContinue reading “Waiver of Fines and Costs: A Recent History”

An Important Message: TMCEC Training Summer 2020

As our first entry to our newly rebuilt blog, Full Court Press, I would like to share an important message from TMCEC Executive Director, Ryan Turner, about what lies ahead with regards to live training for the rest of the academic year ending August 31, 2020. To hear it from Ryan himself, watch the videoContinue reading “An Important Message: TMCEC Training Summer 2020”

Fort Worth Court Director Theresa Ewing Receives National Award

Theresa Ewing is the Director of Municipal Court Services for the Fort Worth Municipal Court. Earlier this year, the National Center for State Courts selected Ms. Ewing to receive its 2018 Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented annually to honor those who have made substantial contributions to the field of court administration and toContinue reading “Fort Worth Court Director Theresa Ewing Receives National Award”

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”