Voter registration applications are available at Hays County Election Office, other county offices, libraries post offices, Texas Department of Public Safety offices and Texas Department of Human Services. Voting locations are posted at the Hays County Election Office website.
General information about county courts at law:
Many people are not sure what to expect when they first have contact with the County Court at Law. They should know that the Judges and the attorneys appreciate their attendance and participation in the important functions of the court.
For most citizens, contact with a court is limited. A citizen may be selected for jury duty or may appear as a witness. They may be Plaintiff or Defendant and some will be there for probate matters. Some will be
there to be married. All of these matters are normal functions of our court system.
Historically, Statutory County Courts at Law are created by the Texas
Legislature to address a local need. The first Statutory County Court at Law was created in 1907 in
Dallas County. The Legislature has continued to establish these courts on an ad hoc basis in response
to a county's request and need.
By 2004, the Legislature had created 212 Statutory County Courts at Law in 81 counties and 17
probate courts. These courts vary significantly from county to county and have general, civil, criminal
or specialized jurisdiction. Each individual county court's jurisdiction is defined by the specific statute that created the court.
The judge presiding over the court must be a licensed attorney practicing in Texas for at least four years. Judges are elected county-wide for a
four-year term. If they are appointed to fill a vacancy, as is the case
of the former Honorable Judge Howard Warner, they are selected by the
County commissioners Court and serve until an election can occur.
The powers and duties are set out in the Government Code, specifically chapter 25.
The judge can issue writs of injunction, mandamus, attachment, garnishment, sequestration,
and habeas corpus in cases where the offense charged is within the jurisdiction of the court. The judge has all other powers and duties of the county judge.
Hays County Court at Law #1 specifically oversees cases involving criminal
(Class A and B misdemeanors and appellate jurisdiction over Class C
offenses), civil, probate, family, and juvenile cases. In addition, this court hears appeals from JP court.
This court does not have jurisdiction over matters concerning roads, bridges, and public highways or over the general administration of county
business. These functions are handled by they Hays County Commissioners Court.
All to often judges are elected on a partisan basis. Robert Updegrove believes a Hays County Court at Law judge's proper role is to be non-partisan. There is no such thing as Democratic or Republican justice.
A judge needs to work equally well with law enforcement, adult and juvenile supervision, plaintiff and defense attorneys, prosecutors, and the great citizens of Hays County.