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Sec. 54.10: Hearings Before Referee

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (e), a hearing under Section 54.03, 54.04, or 54.05, including a jury trial, a hearing under Chapter 55, including a jury trial, or a hearing under the Interstate Compact for Juveniles (Chapter 60) may be held by a referee appointed in accordance with Section 51.04(g) or an associate judge appointed under Chapter 54A, Government Code, provided:

(1) the parties have been informed by the referee or associate judge that they are entitled to have the hearing before the juvenile court judge; and

(2) after each party is given an opportunity to object, no party objects to holding the hearing before the referee or associate judge.

(b) The determination under Section 53.02(f) whether to release a child may be made by a referee appointed in accordance with Section 51.04(g) if:

(1) the child has been informed by the referee that the child is entitled to have the determination made by the juvenile court judge or a substitute judge authorized by Section 51.04(f); or

(2) the child and the attorney for the child have in accordance with Section 51.09 waived the right to have the determination made by the juvenile court judge or a substitute judge.

(c) If a child objects to a referee making the determination under Section 53.02(f), the juvenile court judge or a substitute judge authorized by Section 51.04(f) shall make the determination.

(d) At the conclusion of the hearing or immediately after making the determination, the referee shall transmit written findings and recommendations to the juvenile court judge. The juvenile court judge shall adopt, modify, or reject the referee's recommendations not later than the next working day after the day that the judge receives the recommendations. Failure to act within that time results in release of the child by operation of law and a recommendation that the child be released operates to secure the child's immediate release subject to the power of the juvenile court judge to modify or reject that recommendation.

(e) Except as provided by Subsection (f), the hearings provided by Sections 54.03, 54.04, and 54.05 may not be held before a referee if the grand jury has approved of the petition and the child is subject to a determinate sentence.

(f) When the state and a child who is subject to a determinate sentence agree to the disposition of the case, wholly or partly, a referee or associate judge may hold a hearing for the purpose of allowing the child to enter a plea or stipulation of evidence. After the hearing under this subsection, the referee or associate judge shall transmit the referee's or associate judge's written findings and recommendations regarding the plea or stipulation of evidence to the juvenile court judge for consideration. The juvenile court judge may accept or reject the plea or stipulation of evidence in accordance with Section 54.03(j).

Comments

Added by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 2157, ch. 693, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1830, ch. 743, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 27, 1979; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 385, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 74, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1086, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 232, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1477, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1007 (H.B. 706), Sec. 2.03.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 79), Sec. 6.08, eff. January 1, 2012.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 981 (H.B. 678), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.