Contact    TexasJCMH    Powered by LawBox   
 

Sec. 574.0085: Associate Judges

(a) The county judge may appoint a full-time or a part-time associate judge to preside over the proceedings for court-ordered mental health services if the commissioners court of a county in which the court has jurisdiction authorizes the employment of an associate judge.

(b) To be eligible for appointment as an associate judge, a person must be a resident of this state and have been licensed to practice law in this state for at least four years or be a retired county judge, statutory or constitutional, with at least 10 years of service.

(c) An associate judge shall be paid as determined by the commissioners court of the county in which the associate judge serves. If an associate judge serves in more than one county, the associate judge shall be paid as determined by agreement of the commissioners courts of the counties in which the associate judge serves. The associate judge may be paid from county funds available for payment of officers' salaries.

(d) An associate judge who serves a single court serves at the will of the judge of that court. The services of an associate judge who serves more than two courts may be terminated by a majority vote of all the judges of the courts the associate judge serves. The services of an associate judge who serves two courts may be terminated by either of the judges of the courts the associate judge serves.

(e) To refer cases to an associate judge, the referring court must issue an order of referral. The order of referral may limit the power or duties of an associate judge.

(f) Except as limited by an order of referral, an associate judge appointed under this section has all the powers and duties set forth in Section 201.007, Family Code.

(g) A bailiff may attend a hearing held by an associate judge if directed by the referring court.

(h) A witness appearing before an associate judge is subject to the penalties for perjury provided by law. A referring court may issue attachment against and may fine or imprison a witness whose failure to appear before an associate judge after being summoned or whose refusal to answer questions has been certified to the court.

(i) At the conclusion of any hearing conducted by an associate judge and on the preparation of an associate judge's report, the associate judge shall transmit to the referring court all papers relating to the case, with the associate judge's signed and dated report. After the associate judge's report has been signed, the associate judge shall give to the parties participating in the hearing notice of the substance of the report. The associate judge's report may contain the associate judge's findings, conclusions, or recommendations. The associate judge's report must be in writing in a form as the referring court may direct. The form may be a notation on the referring court's docket sheet. After the associate judge's report is filed, the referring court may adopt, approve, or reject the associate judge's report, hear further evidence, or recommit the matter for further proceedings as the referring court considers proper and necessary in the particular circumstances of the case.

(j) If a jury trial is demanded or required, the associate judge shall refer the entire matter back to the referring court for trial.

(k) An associate judge appointed under this section has the judicial immunity of a county judge.

(l) An associate judge appointed in accordance with this section shall comply with the Code of Judicial Conduct in the same manner as the county judge.

Comments

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 107, Sec. 6.47, eff. Aug. 30, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 770, Sec. 6, eff. June 16, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.45, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 890), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2009.