The Texas court system is comprised of Justice Courts, Municipal Courts, County-Level Courts, District Courts, Courts of Appeals, and the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals.
Texas Justice Courts
There are 807 Justice Courts in Texas, and 807 judges preside over them. These courts are local trial courts with limited jurisdiction over misdemeanor cases, civil claims up to $10,000, small claims, landlord and tenant issues and magistrate functions.
Texas Municipal Courts
Texas has 928 Municipal Courts with 1,272 judges. These courts are also local trial courts with limited jurisdiction over misdemeanors, municipal ordinance violations, civil cases and magistrate functions.
Texas County-Level Courts
There are 515 county-level courts in Texas with 515 judges. The Constitutional County Courts are located in each county and have jurisdiction over civil claims up to $10,000, probate matters, misdemeanors, juvenile cases and appeals from Municipal Courts and Justice Courts.
Statutory County Courts have jurisdiction over civil, criminal and appeals as outlined by the state's constitution. They also hear civil cases with claims up to $200,000. Statutory Probate Courts have limited jurisdiction over probate matters, and are located in 10 counties.
Texas District Courts
Texas has 465 District Courts with one judge presiding over each of them. These are state-level trial courts that hear cases of divorce and contested elections, felony criminal matters, juvenile delinquency and land title cases.
Texas Courts of Appeals
80 justices sit in 14 Courts of Appeals in Texas and exercise regional jurisdiction over appeals from county-level courts.
Texas Supreme Court
The Texas Supreme Court has nine justices and is the court of last resort for civil and juvenile cases in the state. It hears civil appeals from the Courts of Appeals.
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
The Court of Criminal Appeals also has nine justices and is the court of last resort for criminal appeals and appeals of death sentences from the Courts of Appeals and District Courts.
Texas Notable Court Cases
Lisa Ann Diaz of Plano, Texas was charged with drowning her two young daughters in 2003 after she also tried to commit suicide. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and released in 2006 to an outpatient program.
Patsy Ardoin was killed in 2006 when her truck crossed a railroad operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. The following year, the father of her surviving daughter sued the railroad company and they were found at fault and awarded over $8 million to the plaintiff.
In 2016, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state's public school financing "'satisfies minimum constitutional requirements." The case was brought by school districts wanting the Supreme Court to force the Legislature to split tax revenues equitably between wealthy and poor school districts. The high court stated that the court cannot make such specific policy decisions, which must be determined by the Legislature.