Municipal Court Rules

AUTHORITY FOR RULES
Under the inherent power and duty of all Texas Courts as codified in Section 21.001 of the Texas Government Code, the following Rules of the Court of the City of Manor (hereinafter, Rules) are promulgated and shall apply and govern any and all proceedings held within any Municipal Court of the City of Manor, County of Travis, State of Texas.

APPLICATION
The Rules apply to each Attorney, to each Defendant representing himself/herself (hereinafter referred to as “Pro Se Defendant”) in the Municipal Court of the City of Manor, Texas, to all Court Staff, as well as to any and all witnesses or observers who appear in the Municipal Court of the City of Manor, Texas. A judge may circulate rules for their Court which do not conflict with these rules and applicable law. Failure to comply with these Rules may result in the imposition of sanctions including contempt.


AUTHORITY OF SITTING MUNICIPAL JUDGES

The Municipal Court of the City of Manor is one Court. Each Judge, whether full time or associate (sitting for a full time Judge), has authority within the Court in which they are sitting and in the Manor Municipal Court in general as does any Municipal Judge of a Court of Non-Record in the State of Texas. Each Judge is also a Magistrate for every county into which the City of Manor goes and has all authority as a Magistrate in any of those counties as set forth in State Law.

HOURS OF OPERATION
The Municipal Court office shall be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the exception of City observed holidays or when Court is otherwise closed by order of the Administrative Judge or City Manager. A Judge cannot ethically speak to any party regarding the merits of a case without both parties present (Prosecutor and Defendant/Defendant Attorney) unless as authorized by the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. Each Judge is “on call” 24 hours a day 7 days a week for emergency situations and for Magistrate duties.

ARRAIGNMENT SETTING
The court appearance date that appears on a citation or summons is an arraignment setting.

ARRAIGNMENT DOCKET
The purpose of the arraignment setting is to determine the defendant’s plea to the offense charged and for the Court to apprise defendants of their Constitutional Rights. At the arraignment setting, which may be either in open court (Plea Court) or at the Court Clerk’s window (pursuant to Standing Orders), the defendant may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest). If a not guilty plea is entered, the case will be set for pre-trial hearing at a later date. If the defendant wishes to have a trial by jury, a jury trial request may be made at the arraignment or at the pre-trial conference.

PLEA

A plea of Not Guilty, Guilty, or No Contest (Nolo Contendre) must be filed with the Clerk of the Court typically within thirty (30) days following the issuance of a citation. All pleas must be in writing. If a defendant fails to timely answer the citation, the Defendant shall be placed in an Arrest Warrant status and shall post a cash bond if Defendant wishes to proceed with a Not Guilty plea and request a trial. A PLEA CANNOT BE ACCEPTED FROM ANY INDIVIDUAL EXCEPT THE DEFENDANT OR DEFENDANT’S ATTORNEY OF RECORD.

  • WRITTEN PLEAall pleas shall be in writing, except for pleas entered in open court before a judge. A fine payment shall constitute a plea of nolo contendere as allowed by law.
  • REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE – A motion by a party for an interpreter pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 57.002, shall be made in writing at the time a plea is entered or as soon as practical thereafter as a party becomes aware of the need for interpreter services. Individuals with disabilities that require assistance should be made at the time the plea is entered. Requests for visual of audio aids should be made at least one (1) week prior to the scheduled trial so that proper arrangement can be made. Not all requests will be met due to software/equipment unavailability.
  • PLEA BY MAIL – The date of the postmark shall be designated as the date of filing of any plea received by mail.
  • PLEA BY FAX – The date of the receipt of a FAX by the Court Clerk’s office shall be designate as the date of filing of any plea.
  • DEFENDANT APPEARANCE – A defendant who is not represented by an attorney must appear at all court settings of their cases.
  • RESPONSIBILITY – It is the responsibility of all persons with business before the court to; (a) Determine the date, time and nature of each setting of case(s); and (b) Update or notify the court of any change of address.
  • NOTICE – Notice of the date, time, and nature of each setting shall be given to each party in writing, in person or by mail, to the last known address of a party or counsel. A copy of each notice shall be included in the papers of the case, and marked as to the manner of its delivery.
  • VERBAL REPRESENTATIONReliance upon verbal representation from any court personnel concerning any matter shall not be considered grounds for continuance, setting aside of a warrant or any other relief. Reliance upon a police officer’s verbal statement(s) regarding disposition of an offense is not binding upon the court.
  • COMPLAINT – A copy of the Complaint shall be made available to the Defendant or counsel for the Defendant no later than 10 business days before the pre-trial hearing. A Complaint shall not be considered timely if this deadline is not met or if the Defendant waived the issuance of a Complaint.

TRIAL SETTINGS
A request for a trial may be made in person, by the defendant or by the defendant or by attorney, prior to or at the scheduled arraignment docket. The request shall specify either a jury or non-jury setting.

Upon making a request for trial, the attorney of record shall provide his name, office address, bar card number, and telephone number. A defendant representing themselves and requesting a trial shall provide current work and home address and telephone numbers.
Upon making a request for trial, a pre-trial shall be scheduled by the court. A juvenile defendant must appear at all court appearances.

CONDUCT REQUIRED OF ALL ATTORNEYS AND PRO SE DEFENDANTS
Attorneys shall advise their clients and witnesses of all the LOCAL RULES OF THE COURT that may be applicable, and shall ensure that their clients and witnesses follow and fully adhere to all appropriate LOCAL RULES OF COURT. Attorneys and Pro Se Defendants shall be dressed appropriately while in attendance of the Court.

Pro Se Defendants (individuals acting on their own behalf) shall conform their behavior to all provisions of the Canon of Ethics applicable to licensed Attorneys.

All parties shall be prompt in arriving for Court and attending to Court business. Attorneys, Defendants represented by Attorneys, and Pro Se Defendants shall be on time. The Attorney for the Defendant and the Pro Se Defendant shall sign in for the Defendant on the Court’s docket sheet prior to the docket call. The State shall not be required to make an announcement for trial on cases where the Defendant failed to personally answer the docket call. The Defendant shall appear as required by law. All witnesses shall be present at docket call.

If a Defendant fails to timely appear as required by the Court for any court setting and the case is not otherwise disposed of, the Defendant shall be placed in a “Bond Status” where a cash bond will be required to be posted.

Once an individual as entered a Courtroom and appeared before the Court, whether Defendant, Attorney, or witness, they shall not leave the Courtroom without obtaining permission from the Judge, Bailiff, or Court Personnel.

During a trial or any hearing, any objections, arguments, and comments shall be directed to the Court and not to opposing counsel or to Pro Se Defendants. Any objections which have been raised during a hearing or trial shall be supported by a legal basis for such objection. Argument upon an objection will not be entertained except with the permission of the Court.

During a trial or any hearing, all participants in the proceedings shall address each other and members of the Jury without familiarity. The use of first names should be avoided. While addressing the Court, Attorney’s and Pro Se Defendants shall rise and remain standing at their positions at counsel tables unless directed otherwise by the Judge.

During a trial or any hearing, Attorneys and Pro Se Defendants shall remain seated at the counsel tables at all times, except:
  • When the Judge enters and leaves;
  • When addressing the Judge or Jury;
  • When objecting to the opposing party;
  • Whenever it may be proper to handle documents, exhibits, or other evidence; or
  • When the Judge directs otherwise.
Attorneys and Pro Se Defendants shall not approach the Bench except after requesting and receiving permission from the Judge.

COURTROOM DECORUM
The Court is charged with the responsibility of maintaining proper order and decorum. Accordingly, the Court shall require all litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the Judge deals in an official capacity, to conduct and dress in a manner deemed fitting and respectable

FORMAL OPENING
Each Court session shall be brought to order by formal announcement by the Bailiff of the Court, requiring all present in the Courtroom to rise as the Judge takes their place on the Bench.

CONDUCT REQUIRED OF ALL PERSON ATTENDING COURT
Court is in session whenever the Judge is on the Bench. While the Court is in session, unless the Judge directs otherwise the following conduct must be observed:
  • NO SMOKING or use of tobacco products, including snuff or chewing tobacco.
  • NO READING of extraneous materials, such as books, newspapers or magazines.
  • NO PROPPING of feet or sitting on tables, railings, or on the back of the chairs/benches.
  • NO TALKING during the hearings/trials, except by participants.
  • NO EATING of food, drinking of beverages, or chewing and/or popping of gum.
  • NO STANDING in the Courtroom, particularly in front of Bailiff or in front of the Bench, unless instructed by the Judge/Bailiff, or when addressing the Court, or as necessitated by the business of the Court.
  • NO GESTURES, facial expressions, or sounds indicating approval or disapproval of a ruling by the Court or a comment of a witness.
  • NO INAPPROPRIATE ATTIRE, including pajamas, shorts, tank tops, mini-skirts, sleeveless shirts, torn up clothing, undergarments showing, and/or inappropriate “message” on clothing.
  • NO UNATTENDED CHILDREN or children under the age of 10 years of age allowed in the Courtroom, unless child(ren) is appearing for Court.
  • NO CELLULAR TELEPHONES or electronic devices (computer, recording devices, game devices, etc.) allowed in the Courtroom. Failure to comply will result in item(s) being confiscated and returned at the end of the hearing
  • NO HATS or head coverings including scarves, bandanas or do-rags, unless such items are religious in nature.
  • NO WEAPONS, including knives, pepper spray, objects construed as weapons, allowed in the courtroom other than the Judge presiding, a Texas Peace Officer, or a Bailiff employed by the City.

Failure to abide by the Courtroom Conduct may result in Contempt of Court or a Peace Officer escorting the individual(s) out of the Courtroom.

DOCKET ORDER
Subject to the discretion of the Judge calling the docket, the order of the cases proceeding to Jury or Bench trial shall be as follows: 

  • Preferential settings.
  • Defendant’s represented by Attorney.
  • Docket as set by Court Personnel.
  • Other circumstances as determined by the Court.
All cases not reached for trial and not otherwise disposed of on a particular day’s docket will be noted as a “Failure to Appear” unless a timely request for continuance was requested by any party and granted by the Court.

PREFERENTIAL SETTING
To receive a preferential setting, subject to Judge’s approval, a party must meet one of the following criteria: 
  • Reside more than fifty (50) miles outside the city limits of Manor, Texas;
  • Have a condition, illness, or injury (may have to show proof if not visible) that would necessitate an expedited disposition of the case; or
  • Have an outside witness who has appeared on at least one prior trial setting without the case having been reached.

RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS
 
Upon written request by any party, thirty (30) days prior to commencement of a hearing or a trial, court proceeding, limited to trial testimony and Motions before the Court, shall be recorded. Manor Municipal Court is a Court of Non-Record and in order to Appeal a finding of guilty a defendant must request a Trial De Novo (a new trial) and post a cash bond double the amount of the fine and court costs.

VISUAL/AUDIO AIDS
Any party seeking to utilize a video or audio aid must provide their own necessary equipment, unless a party has made special request within thirty (30) prior to a scheduled Jury or Bench Trial. Cell Phones cannot be used as evidence. If a party as evidence that is located on a cell phone it is the suggestion of the Court to download said evidence on a different media source.


MEDIA ACCESS

As a general rule, broadcast media will not be allowed to record any court proceeding. Any exceptions may be made by the presiding judge in each particular case.

PRETRIAL CONFERENCE AND HEARING
The Clerk of the Court shall set an Attorney pretrial conference for all Attorneys and Pro Se defendants that file a request for a Jury or Bench Trial court date. A defendant that is represented by an Attorney is not required to attend the pretrial conference or hearing. The Complaint shall be given to the Pro Se Defendant or Defendant’s Attorney upon the request of a trial or no later than the pretrial conference or hearing. A Plea bargain offer shall be presented to all parties by the City Attorney.

No adult criminal trial setting shall be docketed unless the Defendant or Defendant’s Attorney has first appeared in person at a pretrial hearing under Article 28.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. A Plea bargain offer shall be presented by the City Attorney to the Defendant or Defendant’s Attorney; if such offer is rejected, such rejection shall be evidenced in writing by the Defendant or Defendant’s Attorney, and the case shall then be set for a Jury or Bench Trial.

PRETRIAL MOTIONS

Pretrial Motions shall be in writing and filed with the Clerk of the Court at the Municipal Court offices located at 105 E. Eggleston Street, Manor, Texas 78653, with a courtesy copy to the presiding Judge. Pre-trial motions shall be filed no later than ten (10) business days prior to the date of the pretrial hearing. Pretrial motions shall be relevant and specific as to the case involved.

Service of a motion or response shall be made pursuant to law. Each motion shall contain a certificate of service signed by the Movant, indicating that a copy of such motion has in fact been served on the opposing party and setting out the manner and date of service.

MOTIONS FOR CONTINUANCE

Motions for Continuance require reasonable basis in fact and will not be granted for delay purposes, but only to ensure that justice is done. Continuance are governed by Chapter 29, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. These rules augment but do not replace that Code.
       
FORM 
All Motions for Continuance shall be in writing and shall be filed at least five working days prior to scheduled court date with the Court Personnel. Such Motions shall be filed immediately upon discovering the necessity for the continuance.

Each Motion for Continuance shall contain the following:
  • The cause number; The name of the Defendant;
  • The date and time of the setting requested to be continued;
  • The requested date for the new setting of the case, if any;
  • The specific facts justifying the continuance;
  • A certificate of conference indicating the agreement/disagreement of the opposing party; and
  • An oath attesting to the truth of the matters contained in the Motion.

EMERGENCY MOTIONS
Where the underlying facts which form the basis for a Motion for Continuance were not discovered and could not have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence, an emergency motion for continuance may be file. Emergency Motions for Continuances may be filed at any time prior to respective court proceeding, and will be ruled on by the Court at the call of the docket.

FACTORS
Except in cases where constitutional or statutory continuance are sought, the following factors will be among those considered in determining whether to grant or deny a Motion for Continuance:
  • The specific nature of the conflict in scheduling;
  • The time from the date on which the charge was initiated by citation or affidavit to the date that the continuances is sought;
  • The number of continuances previously granted to each party; and
  • The timeliness of the filing of the Motion, including the date on which the scheduling conflict, if any, became known to Movant.

FORUM
A Motion for continuance shall be presented in writing (fax and e-mail acceptable) and shall be filed with the clerk of the court, unless in open court. Such motions shall be filed immediately upon discovering the necessity for a continuance. Motions filed less than five (5) business days prior to the scheduled hearing will be ruled on at the call of the docket.

Each motion shall contain the following:
  1. The cause number;
  2. The name of the defendant;
  3. The date and time of the setting to be continued; and
  4. The specific facts justifying the continuance.

Subsequent motions for the same setting shall be presented to the judge who approved or denied the original motion, if practicable.

DENIED MOTION
If a Defendant’s motion for continuance is denied, in order for the Defendant to avoid a warrant, a bond in the amount set by the Court may be required to be posted, at the discretion of the Judge denying the Motion. It is the responsibility of the Defendant or Defendant’s counsel to determine whether the Motion was granted or denied and to determine whether a bond is required. If a State’s Motion for Continuance is denied, the case will proceed to trial, plea, or other disposition.

MOTIONS TO WITHDRAW
Any Attorney who makes an appearance on behalf of a Defendant or represents to the Court that they are the Attorney of record for a party shall continue to be considered by the Court as the Attorney of record for that Defendant until a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel is filed by that Attorney and is granted by the Court.

WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT A HEARING
A Motion to Withdraw as counsel for Defendant may be granted without a hearing only if the moving Attorney obtains an agreement by the state and files a verified certificate stating the last known mailing address of the Defendant and files along with the Motion a written consent to the withdrawal signed by the client which consent acknowledges that the Defendant has been advised of all future court settings.

WITHDRAWAL WITH A HEARING
If all requirements are not satisfied, a Motion to Withdraw must be presented to the Court at a hearing after notice to the Defendant and to all other parties, as prescribed by Rule Seven of the Local Rules of the Court.

SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL
If a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Defendant also contains a Motion to Substitute Counsel and Notice of Appearance by another Attorney, and obtains a written agreement by the State, that Appearance will satisfy the requirements and the Attorney names in the Notice of Appearance will hereafter be considered by the Court as Attorney of record for the Defendant.

APPEAL PROCESS
Manor Municipal Court is a Court of Non-Record and upon such request of an appeal a defendant must file an appeal within ten (10) days from the finding of guilty and post a cash bond in the amount double the fine and court costs. Once the defendant has filed their request and post a cash bond the Clerk of the Court will schedule a Trial De Novo. If the defendant fails to appear to the Trial De Novo the defendant forfeits the cash bond and the right of the appeal.

PAYMENT OF DEFERRED DISPOSITION FEES 
The Clerk of the Court shall not accept payment of deferred disposition fees after the deadline set out in the deferred disposition order. However, if the Court is not open for business the day of the deadline set out in the deferred disposition order, the Clerk is authorized to accept the deferred disposition fee on the first regular business day the Court is open for business.

JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS
An individual is considered a juvenile (10-16 years of age), and is charges as a juvenile with an offense within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court, must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all appearances. No action will be taken unless the juvenile is so accompanied by such parent or legal guardian. However, the Court may hear the case if satisfied that due diligence has been used to obtain the presence of the parent or legal guardian.
 A minor (under 21 years of age) charge with an alcohol related offense under Chapter 106 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code must be present in open court before a judge to enter a plea of guilty or no contest. Furthermore, no person under 18 years of age may be convicted of an alcohol-related offense without the parent or legal guardian present. However, the court may hear the case if satisfied that due diligence has been used to obtain presence of the parent or guardian.

PARENT’S PRESENCE REQUIRED
A parent’s presence is required for all juvenile court proceedings. A parent (includes a person standing in parental relation, a managing conservator, or a custodian) is required to be present with a juvenile at all court proceedings.

NOTICE OF CURRENT ADDRESS
The parent and child have a continuing obligation to give written notice of current address to the Court per Section 45 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

PAYMENT

All fines, court costs, and fees assessed are due and payable at the time judgment is entered.

EXTENSION TO PAY FINES, COURT COSTS AND FEES
If a Defendant is unable to pay the fines, court costs, and fees assessed on the day judgment is entered, an extension may be granted by the Court, conditional upon the Defendant completing a contact information form in the office of the Clerk. It is the intent of the Court to finalize the judgment of each and every case filed with the Court no later than ninety (90) days from the date of judgment.

CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED TO SATISFY FINES, COURT COSTS, AND FEES

In the event of arrest for City of Manor Arrest Warrants or Capias Pro Fine Warrants a Judge may allow credit for time served to satisfy fines, court costs, and fees (except OMNI); unless otherwise ordered, a Defendant who is found guilty may receive credit for time served in that case, upon arrest, at a rate of $50 per day to be applied to the fine, court costs, and fees (except OMNI) owed. Unless otherwise directed by a Judge, Defendants shall be given CONCURRENT credit for time served on cases in Arrest Warrant Status (no judgment on file) and CONSECUTIVE credit for time served on Capias Pro Fine Warrant Status (judgment on file). In no case shall the credit for time served exceed the balance owed in a case.

COMMUNITY SERVICE TO SATISFY FINES, COURT COSTS, AND FEES
A Defendant is eligible to satisfy fines, court costs, and fees assessed by the Court if the Defendant can prove indigency. In order to prove indigency, the Defendant must submit to the Court a Financial Disclosure/Affidavit of Indigency form in a format approved by the Administrative Judge, and the Court must make a finding of indigency. An Indigency Hearing will be conducted no later than thirty (30) days from the date of filing of the Financial Disclosure/Affidavit of Indigency Form.

INDIGENCY DURING APPEAL
If a Defendant is indigent or otherwise financially unable to pay either the Appeal Bond or to pay for the transcript, they may file an Affidavit of Indigency with the Court and file a Motion to Waive Costs on forms approved by the Court. Such Affidavit of Indigency and/or Motion to Waive Costs must be filed within the ten (10) day statutory period to file an Appeal Bond. A hearing on the Motion to Waive Costs shall then be scheduled by the Court which has entered the Order being appealed.

ARREST WARRANTS/CAPIAS PRO FINE WARRANTS
If a Defendant obtains an Arrest warrant (no judgment) or a Capias Pro Fine warrant (judgment) and has not be taken to jail, the Defendant may remedy the judgment with the Court personnel by making payment in full on each case file that is in Warrant Status.

Upon a plea of guilty or no contest, a waiver of jury or bench trial, the Court Clerk may process a payment plan upon the following terms for Arrest Warrants (not Capias Pro Fine Warrants):

  1. completion of a payment plan application/financial information statement;
  2. all case files are subject to the $25 State Time Payment Plan fee if not paid by the 31st day after judgment rendered;
  3. defendant shall pay a minimum of $25 down immediately;
  4. defendant shall stay in "non-renewal" status with Omnibase;
  5. warrants shall be recalled from active status and from Travis County Warrant Service Division; and
  6. payments on the balance shall not be lower than $50 monthly (unless directed by Judge).

If defendant claims they cannot make the payments in accordance with this order, the Court Clerk may process the case work, indicating a plea of guilty or no contest, waiver of a bench or jury trial, payment due within thirty (30) days, and an indigent hearing set upon:
  • Indigent paperwork provided. Proof of ALL income, bills, debts and financial obligations must be presented at the time of hearing.
  • Failure to appear at the indigent hearing, or full payment within thirty (30) days as ordered, will result in a Capias Pro Fine warrant being issued.

 In the event that Defendant cannot make the payments in accordance with the Order, due to changed circumstances, provided they have come to the court before they have defaulted, the clerks are authorized to set the Defendant on a Show Cause hearing docket in order to have the opportunity for the Judge to assess the current financial situation of the Defendant. In the interim, the Defendant is encouraged to make periodic payments in the amount they believe they can afford to make, to reduce the amount outstanding and provide the court with additional evidence of the amount they are able to pay, all of which will be taken into consideration at the time of the Show Cause hearing.

It is the responsibility of the Defendant to know when they must appear before the City of Manor Municipal Court.

SEVERABILITY
If any provision of these policies, rules and regulations as contained in the Rules of the Court or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid or unconstitutional, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect other provisions or applications of these policies, rules and regulations which can be given effect without the invalid or unconstitutional provision or application, and to this end the provision of these policies, rules and regulations are severable. In lieu thereof there shall be added provision as similar in terms to such illegal, invalid, unconstitutional and unenforceable provision as may be possible and be legal, valid, constitutional and enforceable.

INAPPLICABILITY TO CIVIL CASES
The Rules of the Court set forth herein are the Rules of the Court applicable to criminal proceedings, and are not applicable to civil cases and administrative hearings.

CONSTRUCTION
The rules of the Court shall not be construed so as to enlarge, diminish, modify, or alter the jurisdiction, powers, or authority of the Municipal Court of the City of Manor or the State of Texas.

The City of Manor Strives to promote Community spirit through the preservation of our unique character and heritage, while fostering a dynamic economic environment.

Copyright © Manor, Texas  2016

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