Clients of mine who have experienced the criminal justice system in multiple Texas counties are often surprised by how different the process is in each locality. The Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure are the same across the State. However, judges still have a lot of discretion in how they run their docket.
For example, how many resets do you get in a court before you must plea or set the case for trial? What time does docket start? What forms do you need to get a plea done? Does the client have to show up at each hearing?
It’s important for lawyers and defendants to know what they are getting into before they arrive. Recently, Dennis Jones was appointed as Judge in the Kaufman County Court at Law. Judge Jones published a short list of protocols for his court that you should know.
1. Defendants must be present at all court settings.
2. Only two resets may be obtained through the coordinator, thereafter see the judge.
3. No resets for plea settings, unless seen by judge.
4. Court costs shall be paid in full at the time of plea.
5. Defendants must turn off all electronic devices.
6. No food or beverages.
7. No shorts, flip flops, or tank tops.
Also, the CCL courtroom is now in the space where the CCL2 courtroom used to be. So the County Court at Law is upstairs, and CCL2 is downstairs. The CCL courtroom is small, and there will not always be room for all the defendants to sit in their during docket call. So you may have to sit in the hall while your lawyer works on your case in the courtroom.
Defendants should still check in with the bailiff, even if they can not sit in the courtroom.