- Municipal Court
The Municipal Court has jurisdiction over Class C misdemeanors filed by the Marble Falls Police Department and exclusive jurisdiction over violations of City Ordinances that occur in the territorial jurisdiction of the City and on property owned by the City in the City's extraterritorial jurisdiction. Fines may be provided for violations relating to fire safety, zoning, public health, and sanitation. Municipal Courts have limited civil jurisdiction and are able to assess civil penalties for owners of dangerous dogs. Marble Falls Municipal Court also has jurisdiction over all the Fail to Attend School cases in the Marble Falls Independent School District.
The Municipal Judge also serves as magistrate of the State. In this capacity, the Municipal Judge has authority to issue warrants for the apprehension and arrests of persons charged with the commission of an offense. As a magistrate, the Municipal Judge may issue emergency protection orders, hold preliminary hearings, discharge an accused, or remand the accused to jail and set bail.
The Court must maintain a record of each case filed before the Court, prepare judgments, hold indigence hearings, issue warrants, approve community service requests, magistrate juveniles, certify juvenile statements, and prepare cases for trials. The Municipal Judge presides over all trials, unless a reason for recusal is presented.
Appointed by City Council, the judge is responsible for presiding over trials and other court proceedings, for performing certain magistrate functions, and for the general administration of the court. The judge must be impartial, ensure that justice is done, and rule on matters presented by the parties.
The judge is not an adversary and must decide questions only on the basis of law. He or she must never assume the role of prosecutor or of defense counsel nor act as a special advisor to the police or as a rubber stamp of law enforcement. The judge must never be influenced by the city to produce revenue or to enforce laws selectively.
The judge must allow the prosecution and the defense, as well as all other components of the system, to perform their duties vigorously, but always within the limits allowed by law. The judge will rely heavily on administrative support by the clerk. However, the judge can never delegate judicial duties to the clerk. The judge must not allow the clerk to influence judicial decisions or the verdict. Only the evidence presented and the applicable law can be the legitimate basis for any judicial decision.
Court clerks look to the judge for direction in matters pertaining to overall court policy and judicial procedures. The clerk’s primary responsibilities include processing the clerical work of the court; administering daily operations of the court; maintaining court records; coordinating the scheduling of cases; and performing other duties as may be outlined in the city charter or ordinances.
In the absence of more detailed, written administrative duties for a clerk by the governing body, the judge may assign various administrative duties. The court clerk can have a tremendous impact on participants’ perceptions of the justice system. Each participant has a right to know and understand the court’s procedures, thus the clerk should provide participants with information on court procedures while avoiding giving legal advice. The responsibility of the court clerk’s position and the scope of duties have greatly increased in recent years. The professionalism, timeliness, and accuracy of the court clerk’s actions are important to the proper operation of the municipal court. The court clerk must fulfill all duties impartially and competently. Within the role of administratively assisting the court as a whole, the court clerk is responsible for seeing that the court’s papers are accurate, orderly, and complete.
Deputy Court Clerk
Deputy clerks perform a variety of clerical duties under the administrative supervision of the clerk of court and assist in the processing and organizing of court documents. They also perform day-to-day clerical and administrative duties. Their primary responsibilities include processing the clerical work of the court; administering daily operations of the court; maintaining court records; coordinating the scheduling of cases; and performing other duties as may be outlined in the city charter or ordinances.
In the absence of more detailed, written administrative duties for a clerk by the governing body, the judge may assign various administrative duties. Same as the Court Clerk, the deputy clerk can also have a tremendous impact on participants' perceptions of the justice system. The professionalism, timeliness, and accuracy of the deputy clerk's actions are important to the proper operation of the municipal court. They must fulfill all duties impartially and competently.
While the clerk's duty is to serve all participants equally in the legal system, the clerk must remain independent of any particular participant. This means that the clerk must be as courteous and helpful to defense lawyers as prosecutors and to defendants as police officers. The clerk must never attempt to influence the outcome of any case.
Juvenile Case Manager
A juvenile case manager provides services in cases involving juvenile offenders before a court consistent with the court's statutory powers. Juvenile case managers assist the court in administering the court's juvenile docket and in supervising its orders in juvenile cases. Juvenile case managers timely report any information or recommendations relevant to assisting the judge in making decisions that are in the best interest of the child. Juvenile case managers are employed by local governments as a strategic measure to help prevent children from becoming further involved in the justice system and to curb juvenile crime at the local level.
In the Marble Falls Truancy Court, our Juvenile Case Manager handles all cases and intervention measures dealing with Truancy and Parent Contributing cases.
Contracted by the City of Marble Falls, the prosecutor's role is to seek justice. In the broad view, the prosecutor represents the public's interest in enforcing the criminal law strictly but fairly. The prosecutor also has a duty to maintain public respect for the system. The Code of Criminal Procedure provides that it is the primary duty for municipal court prosecutors not to convict but to see that justice is done.
All prosecutions in municipal court shall be conducted by the city attorney or deputy city attorney. Some cities have in-house city attorneys; others contract with solo practitioners or law firms. Depending on the volume of complaints filed in a municipal court, prosecution may entail some or all of an attorney's time. The prosecutor may also be the county attorney of the county in which the municipality is situated if the county attorney so desires.
Just as municipal court clerks perform many of the same duties as their counterparts at the county and district levels, the city prosecutor performs basically the same role as the prosecuting attorney in other criminal trial courts. Although most cases in municipal courts are less complex than those in county and district courts, the volume of cases is much greater. The prosecutor's time for case preparation and consultation with police officers, witnesses, and complainants is usually limited. Because prosecutors, not judges, decide which complaints are filed in the court, only the prosecutor should advise and direct peace officers in preparing criminal cases.
The prosecutor's role is to seek justice, to screen out or to ask for dismissal of cases where there is insufficient evidence or evidence wrongfully gathered, and to seek convictions fairly and only of the guilty. Judges should be mindful that prosecutors have discretion over which cases to prosecute and trial strategy. Prosecutors, however, should be mindful that they cannot dismiss charges or cases, except upon written grounds and with the judge's approval.