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MANOR MUNICIPAL COURT RULES
RULE ONE: AUTHORITY
1.1 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.
1.2 JUDGES STANDING ORDERS
The judges standing orders are effective January 10th, 2020: STANDING ORDERS UPDATED 10/7/2021
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.
1.4 AUTHORITY OF SITTING MUNICIPAL JUDGES
The Municipal Court of the City of Manor is one Court. Each Judge, whether Presiding or Associate (sitting for the Presiding 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.
1.5 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 Presiding 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.
1.6 EFFECTIVE DATE
These Local Rules are effective January 10, 2020 and supersede all previous Local Rules of the Manor Municipal Court.
RULE TWO: COURTROOM DECORUM
2.1 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.
2.2 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:
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.
2.3 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 (individuals representing themselves without an attorney) 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. Pro Se Defendants should be prepared to present their cases in a proper manner. The clerk shall NEVER give legal advice, recommend attorney’s, or provide any information beyond the clerk’s role in the court.
Attorneys and Pro Se Defendants must proceed through a security checkpoint prior to entry into the courtroom. If an Officer senses your admittance would be detrimental to the safety of every person located in the building, you will not be allowed admittance.
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 an active warrant status.
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:
Attorneys and Pro Se Defendants shall not approach the Bench except after requesting and receiving permission from the Judge. Nor shall they rest their arms or hands on the bench. Attorneys and Pro Se Defendants shall have all paperwork and documents ready when called to approach the Judge’s bench.
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.
2.4 COURTROOM DECORUM
The Court is charged with the responsibility of maintaining proper order and decorum. Accordingly, the Court shall require all defendants, 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. All parties shall:
2.5 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) days prior to a scheduled Jury or Bench Trial. Cell Phones cannot be used as evidence. If a party has evidence that is located on a cell phone it is the suggestion of the Court to download said evidence on a different media source.
2.6 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.
RULE THREE: APPEARANCE, PLEAS & WARRANTS
A Pro Se Defendant is considered to have entered an appearance if the Pro Se Defendant submits proof of photo ID, or is able to be identified by the clerk in person, and submits a request for action on their case, and, if through correspondence, submits a signature (original, electronic, or digital) in conjunction with the other requirements for entering an appearance. If a citation is filed with the wrong appearance date/time or filed less than ten (10) days preceding the Initial Appearance date listed on the citation, the clerk shall schedule the Initial Appearance date/time 15 business days from the original Initial Appearance date listed on the citation and notify the Pro Se Defendant. This applies to any undeliverable notice in which corrections can be made to resend notice. An attorney for a defendant must make an appearance in a case in writing filed with the clerk of the court in which the case is pending or, if the case has not been set in any Court, the appearance shall be filed at the Court’s cashier window.
A plea of Not Guilty, Guilty, or No Contest (Nolo Contendre) must be filed with the Clerk of the Court typically within ten (10) days following the issuance of a citation. All pleas must be in writing. If a defendant fails to timely answer the citation, the Defendant may be placed in an Arrest Warrant status. A PLEA CANNOT BE ACCEPTED FROM ANY INDIVIDUAL EXCEPT THE DEFENDANT OR DEFENDANT’S ATTORNEY OF RECORD.
3.3 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 or may set a up a payment plan per the standing orders, 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):
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:
It is the responsibility of the Defendant to know when they must appear before the City of Manor Municipal Court.
RULE FOUR: MOTIONS
4.1 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. Pre-trial motions shall be filed no later than five (5) 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.
4.2 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.
All Motions for Continuance shall be in writing (fax and e-mail acceptable) and shall be filed at least five (5) business days prior to scheduled court date with the clerk of the court, unless in open court. Such Motions shall be filed immediately upon discovering the necessity for the 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 for Continuance shall contain the following:
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 filed. 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.
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:
A Motion for Continuance shall be presented to the Court in which the case is set to be heard. In all cases, the ruling on a Motion for Continuance shall be at the discretion of the Judge of the Court where the case is set to be heard. Subsequent motions for the same setting shall be presented to the Judge who approved or denied the original motion, if practicable.
4.7 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.
4.8 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.
4.9 WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT A HEARING
4.10 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 4.1 of the Local Rules of the Court.
4.11 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.
4.12 VACATION LETTERS
Attorneys shall file a vacation letter no less than sixty (60) days prior to the anticipated date that the vacation is to begin. Such notices shall be filed with the Court clerks or by or other approved means. If the vacation letter is not filed at least sixty (60) days prior to the vacation commencement date, the Attorney shall file Motions for Continuance in each case set during the vacation period for the Judge to consider.
RULE FIVE: SETTINGS
5.1 ARRAIGNMENT SETTING
The court appearance date that appears on a citation or summons is an arraignment setting.
5.2 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.
5.3 TRIAL SETTINGS
Upon making a request for trial, a Pre-trial shall be scheduled by the court. A juvenile defendant must appear at all court appearances.
5.4 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:
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.
5.5 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 10 days prior to trial. 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.
RULE SIX: JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS AND MINORS
6.1 JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS
An individual is considered a juvenile (10-16 years of age), and if charged 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.
6.2 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.
6.3 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.
RULE SEVEN: POST-TRIAL PROCEEDINGS/POST JUDGEMENT
All fines, court costs, and fees assessed are due and payable at the time judgment is entered.
7.2 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.
7.3 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 $150 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.
7.4 COMMUNITY SERVICE TO SATISFY FINES, COURT COSTS, AND FEES
7.5 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 five (5) days from the finding of guilty and post a cash, personal or surety bond in the amount double the fine and court costs. Once the defendant has filed their request and posted a bond the Clerk of the Court will forward all requests and bonds to the judge for final review.
RULE EIGHT: SEVERABILITY AND CONSTRUCTION
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.
8.2 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.
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