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About Organization of the 33rd/424th Judicial Districts

(Updated 10/21/2008 to realign San Saba County)

Effective January 1, 2007 Oct 1, 2008 the two districts will be "virtually" segregated so that

  • the 33rd will handle, primarily, all cases in Burnet and San Saba county and
  • the 424th will handle, primarily, all cases in Blanco, Llano and San Saba counties.

Each judge will manage the docket in his respective counties totally separately from the other. Thus, whether you are on a civil, criminal family or juvenile docket you may have settings in more than one county of the two districts before each of the courts.  When that occurs, resolve the conflict through the coordinator (see below) for the court where you feel a scheduling conflict exists.

Instead of a civil/criminal division the following judge/staff alignment exists:

For Judge Jones (33rd): coordinator is Sheila Smith (direct line 512-715-5219); reporter is Stephanie Larsen.
For Judge Mills (424th): coordinator is Cindy Keele (direct line 512-756-5438); reporter is Jennifer Hoffman.

As of March 8, 2007 we added the position of Administrative Assistant which has been filled by Sheila Pancoast Stewart. Her primary role is to support the two Court Coordinators.

The Standing Orders (see Forms and Files) contain a copy of the administrative order of Oct 1, 2008 implementing this change, and it is filed in each of the clerk's offices. You will note that in San Saba all  cases were transferred on the docket to the 424th.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the judges will sit for one another in order to balance docket needs, usually on jury trial weeks.

Random articles, notes and general info

Alternate juror strikes, methodology

I often have questions about how alternate jurors are to be selected, and how additional peremptory strikes are to be used. The answer is found at Section 62.020(e) of the Government Code:

(e) Each side is entitled to one peremptory challenge in addition to those otherwise allowed by law or by rule if one or two alternate jurors are to be impaneled. Each side is entitled to two peremptory challenges in addition to those otherwise allowed by law or by rule if three or four alternate jurors are to be impaneled. 
The additional peremptory challenges may be used against an alternate juror only, and the other peremptory challenges allowed by law or by rule may not be used against an alternate juror.

 Here is the procedure I use (using a civil jury with 6 strikes per side as an example):

Exercise your 6 strikes within the first 24 people ((6 strikes x 2 sides) + 12 to be seated = 24).

Then within the next three veniremen, you have one additional strike.  That's if one alternate is to be chosen. If two are to be chosen, then make the strike within the next four veniremen.  That guarantees two will remain.

If three alternates are to be seated, then make your two strikes within the next seven people.  If there are no double strikes, that will leave exactly three. And if four alternates are to be seated, strike within the next eight.

As clearly stated within the statute, you must use the extra strikes only against alternates. That means within the range of the venire which is outside of the first 24 (or more if there are more parties, or in the criminal case). 

Depositions: Attorney AND firm responsible for costs

Both the attorney and the firm are liable for the reporter's charges. See below.

Gov't Code Sec. 52.059. CHARGES FOR DEPOSITIONS.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an attorney who takes a deposition and the attorney's firm are jointly and severally liable for a shorthand reporter's charges for:

(1) the shorthand reporting of the deposition;

(2) transcribing the deposition; and

(3) each copy of the deposition transcript requested by the attorney.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an attorney who appears at a deposition and the attorney's firm are jointly and severally liable for a shorthand reporter's charges for each copy of the deposition transcript requested by the attorney.

(c) Prior to the taking of any deposition, a determination of the person who will pay for the deposition costs will be made on the record, if an attorney is unwilling to be bound by the provisions of Subsection (a) or (b).

(d) In this section:

(1) Firm means:

(A) a partnership organized for the practice of law in which an attorney is a partner or with which an attorney is associated; or

(B) a professional corporation organized for the practice of law of which an attorney is a shareholder or employee.

(2) An attorney takes a deposition if the attorney:

(A) obtains the deponent's appearance through an informal request;

(B) obtains the deponent's appearance through formal means, including a notice of deposition or subpoena; or

(C) asks the first question in the deposition.


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