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Texas Court Records

The state of Texas hosts a unique and complex court structure unlike most states in the country. It includes the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Appeals, District Courts, County Courts, County Courts at Law, Probate Courts, Justice of the Peace, and lastly Municipal Courts. Each has an important role to fill in the judicial system and will produce numerous legal documents every year that become the state’s court records.

Texas Court Records

History of Texas Courts

On December 29, 1845 Texas achieved statehood and was admitted into the United States; however, in prior years, the Republic of Texas drafted a constitution which included provisions for a Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and associate justices. From 1846-1850 the court was held in session at the capital city of Austin. Later it was decided that sessions should be held in Galveston and Tyler as well. This continued until 1945 when the constitution amended that all Supreme Court proceedings take place in the state capital.

Texas Court Statistics

Texas Courts recieve 12,902,327 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 13,264,593 filings and gave 13,482,256 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 11,916,611 filings and had 11,739,186 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2012 13,264,593
2013 13,731,198
2014 13,113,315
2015 12,485,918
2016 11,916,611

Texas Court Records Availability

Texas lags behind many states in the accessibility of online court records. Many municipalities, cities, and courts have records available, but unfortunately they are not very succinct or unified throughout the state or major courts. Dallas County boasts an online tool to search for court records by name or record number.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Traffic: 7,258,760 (60.9 %)
Domestic Relations: 397,468 (3.3 %)
Criminal: 2,690,078 (22.6 %)
Civil: 1,570,305 (13.2 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Traffic: 7,337,015 (62.5 %)
Domestic Relations: 368,523 (3.1 %)
Criminal: 2,665,380 (22.7 %)
Civil: 1,368,268 (11.7 %)

Texas Main Court Information

Texas is similar to most states in that the Supreme Court is the court of last resort for civil cases. It differs because all appellate criminal cases are finalized in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The only other state to have two courts of last resort is Oklahoma. Texas also features fourteen Courts of Appeals, which represent specific districts to serve as intermediate appellate courts of civil and criminal cases appealed from lower courts of the state.

Texas hosts many trial courts as well; District Courts have the highest authority of these lower courts and provide one justice for each of the 448 District Courts of the state. They hold jurisdiction in felony proceedings, divorce, election contests, land title disputes, and civil disputes where the amount is over $200. County Courts often have overlapping jurisdiction with the aforementioned courts and handle similar types of cases.

Municipal courts are numerous in the state of Texas, with 915 hearing cases as of September, 2010. The caseload of Municipal courts is dependent to the city, but may consist of civil, minor offenses, and traffic violations. Probate Courts serve municipalities of Texas and have jurisdiction over probate matters, mental health cases, and matters of guardianship. The courts of The Justice of the Peace oversee lower civil and criminal cases, but may convict crimes with fines as punishment only.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Texas at year end 2016 has increased by 3.5% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 383,688 with a rate of 1,472 cases per 100,000 population, lower than it's in 2016.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2012 383,688 13,264,593
2013 383,422 13,731,198
2014 364,805 13,113,315
2015 370,794 12,485,918
2016 397,468 11,916,611

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

Year Incoming Caseload Outgoing Caseload Caseload per 100,000 Population
2012 383,688 372,009 1,472
2013 383,422 367,296 1,450
2014 364,805 354,669 1,353
2015 370,794 347,390 1,350
2016 397,468 368,523 1,427

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Texas

More Domestic Relations Cases than Texas:

State: Caseload:
New York 570,709

Less Domestic Relations Cases than Texas:

State: Caseload:
California 388,903
Pennsylvania 342,163
Virginia 342,040
New Jersey 247,042
Florida 233,545

Texas Caseload Statistics

The caseload of the Supreme Court in 2014 resulted in 1,211 filings and 1,217 dispositions for the state of Texas. The Court of Criminal Appeals has a much heavier caseload, which includes 11,101 filings and 11,549 dispositions for the same year.

Texas Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Texas counts 2,662,239 with 337,481 felony cases and 2,324,758 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 3,276,526 325,105 2,913,706
2013 3,401,246 332,015 3,034,734
2014 3,006,892 329,458 2,645,485
2015 2,989,073 334,336 2,647,081
2016 2,690,078 337,481 2,324,758

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has increased by 2,682 cases, it went from 1,567,623 to 1,570,305 with clearance rates of 93% and 87%.

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2012 1,567,623 93
2013 1,596,824 87
2014 1,644,896 84
2015 1,595,525 101
2016 1,570,305 87