Judicial Orientation for New County Judges

January 30 - February 3, 2023

Overton Hotel & Conference Center
2322 Mac Davis Ln.
Lubbock, TX 79401

For more information, contact Ashley Royer or Regan Williams at (800) 456‑5974.

Overton Hotel & Conference Center
2322 Mac Davis Ln.
Lubbock, TX 79401
(806) 776-7000

Sponsored by:

The Texas Judicial Academy is a partnership between the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Tech University School of Law.

Overview

The Judicial Orientation for New County Judges is a great opportunity for newly elected judges to meet their peers and other professionals in judicial education. New judges will become acquainted with and proficient in the key functions of their judicial duties. Our goal is for judges to leave the education sessions with ample knowledge and confidence to perform the duties of their office.

Reimbursement

This program is partially funded by a Judicial and Court Personnel Training Fund Grant administered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In accordance with the grant guidelines, judges may be reimbursed for attendance to this conference, up to $750 total per fiscal year.

All travel reservations made through third party vendors (Hotels.com, Expedia.com, Booking.com, etc.) cannot be reimbursed. For more information on reimbursement, please call Ashley Royer at (800) 456-5974.

Reimbursements must be submitted to TAC within 60 days of the event.  Any reimbursement received after 60 days will not be reimbursed.

Reimbursement may be provided for county judges only.

Who Should Attend

All county judges with judicial duties who were elected in the 2022 general election, and any judge elected or appointed since Jan. 1, 2019.

To encourage open discussion as well as, to facilitate judicial security precautions, ONLY member judges, that session's speaker, and TAC staff are allowed in the meeting rooms during sessions. This would apply, for example, to guests, assistants, spouses, etc. Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this policy.

Registration Information

The registration fee for this conference is $250.

Registration fees are voluntary and used for expenses that are unallowable or are insufficiently covered by the Judicial and Court Personnel Training Fund Grant. This includes speaker fees, materials, meals, and social activities. Fees collected are deposited to a fund held for county judge education within the general revenue funds for the Texas Association of Counties.

County Judges Education Advisory Committee

Hon. Don Allred, Chair, Oldham County Judge
Hon. Brett Bray, Blanco County Judge
Hon. Stephanie Davis, Comanche County Judge
Hon. Charlie Falcon, Andrews County Judge
Hon. Lucy Hebron, Wood County Judge
Hon. Woodrow “Woody” Gossom, Jr., Wichita County Judge
Hon. Justin Lewis, Hill County Judge
Hon. Francisco Ponce, Dimmit County Judge
Hon. Byron Ryder, Leon County Judge
Hon. Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Judge
Ms. Jamie Baker, Associate Dean and Director of the Law Library, Texas Tech University School of Law Library (ex-officio)
Mr. Nathan Cradduck, Tom Green County Auditor (ex-officio)

Overton Hotel & Conference Center
2322 Mac Davis Ln.
Lubbock, TX 79401
(806) 776-7000

You may book your room online or by calling (806) 776-7000 and requesting a room in the "TAC New Judges Orientation" room block.

The room rate will be the prevailing state government rate, currently $98 per night for single or double occupancy. This rate may change after the new fiscal year begins on Sept. 1, 2022 based on GSA guidelines but will not exceed the prevailing GSA rate at the time of the conference in January. Once the GSA rate is confirmed in September 2022, we will update this page to reflect any change to the rate if needed.

Sunday, Jan. 29
2-5 p.m. Registration Desk Open
Monday, Jan. 30
7 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk Open
7-8 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
8-8:15 a.m. Call to Order and Introductions
Speakers: Hon. Susan M. Redford, Executive Director, TAC
Hon. Stephanie Davis, Comanche County Judge and Chair of the County Judges Education Advisory Committee
Hon. Stephanie Moreno, Judicial Program Manager, TAC
8:15-9:15 a.m. Welcome to the Judiciary: An Overview of the Texas Judicial System
Speaker: Honorable Nathan Hecht, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas
9:15-10:15 a.m.

An Introduction to the Office of Court Administration
Speaker: Ms. Megan LaVoie, Administrative Director, Office of Court Administration

This session will explore the Office of Court Administration’s mission, the resources available to county judges and the extensive programs and services that are provided.

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30-11:30 a.m

What Do I Do Now? Judicial Education Requirements, Judicial Immunity and Introduction to the County Judges Benchbook
Speaker: Hon. Stephanie Moreno, Judicial Program Manager, TAC

Over the course of the next few days you will receive an abundance of information about the types of cases you may see in your courtroom. This session will focus on other information you should know about your role in the courtroom, educational requirements, and an introduction of the judicial benchook.

11:30 a.m.-Noon Break and Buffet Lunch
12-1 p.m. Lunch with Mentors: Judicial Resources
This lunch & learn session will discuss and answer questions regarding a variety of resources available to county judges and to their counties.
1-2 p.m.

The Basics of a Court Docket
Speakers: Mr. Jeff Rinard, Director of Enterprise Planning & Regulatory Services, Office of Court Administration
Ms. Sheri Wooden, Court Consultant, Office of Court Administration

This session provides the new judge with a statewide overview of the cases processed by constitutional courts, then focuses on the pending cases in his/her court.

2-2:15 p.m. Break
2:15-3:15 p.m.

DPS Docket Management
Speaker: Mr. Orlando Gallegos, Texas Department of Public Safety

This session will discuss the court’s role in preparing and managing the court’s docket and will provide practical tips to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your court. Texas DPS will also explain how some cases remain pending in your court, resources available to identify those cases and how to dispose of them.

3:15-3:30 p.m. Break
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Recusals, Disqualifications, Sharing the Bench, and Visiting Judges
Speaker: Hon. Justin Lewis, Hill County Judge

This session covers the circumstances under which a judge is disqualified to hear a particular case, when the judge may need to recuse himself/herself in the interest of justice, and the procedures to have another judge assigned to hear those matters. We will also review bench sharing agreements.

4:30 p.m. Recess
Tuesday, Jan. 31
7 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk Open
7-8 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
7-8 a.m.

OPTIONAL BREAKFAST SESSION
Administrative Session: Budget Planning
Speaker: Mr. Paul Miles, Associate General Counsel, TAC

TAC Legal counsel will provide this administrative session to review the budget planning calendar, your responsibilities as county judge and best practices in adopting the county budget.

8:15-9:15 a.m.

Introduction to Evidence
Speakers: Hon. George Morrill, Bee County Judge
Mr. Brian Watson, Esq., Attorney and Mayor of Beeville

This presentation will focus on the purposes of the rules of evidence, basic relevance and unfair prejudice, opinion evidence, and hearsay.

9:15-10:15 a.m.

Criminal Law Overview
Speaker: Professor Donnie Yandell, Clinical Instructor, Texas Tech University School of Law

This session will discuss misdemeanor crimes and the consequences of conviction for those crimes. It will begin by defining the different misdemeanors crimes and the range of punishment for each.

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Indigent Defense
Speakers: Mr. Scott Ehlers, Director of Public Defense Improvement, Texas Indigent Defense Commission
Mr. Joe Stephens, Chief Public Defender, Concho Valley Public Defender

This session will provide an introduction to the right to counsel for those charged with crimes who are unable to afford to hire their own attorney. This will include an overview of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission’s grant and monitoring programs, the Texas Fair Defense Act, and the key requirements county judges have to comply with to appoint counsel to represent indigent defendants.

11:30 a.m.-Noon Break & Buffet Lunch
12-1 p.m.

Lunch with Mentors: DWI Sentencing Options, Pre-trial Services and Bond Forfeitures

This lunch and learn session will provide an opportunity for mentors to discuss sentencing options in DWI cases and pre-trial services that allow a pathway to success for defendants.

1-2:30 p.m.

Senate Bill 6: Damon Allen Act
Speaker: Hon. Stephanie Moreno, Judicial Program Manager, TAC

The 2021 legislative session made several changes to the way judges issue magistrate warnings and bail bonds. This session will provide the most up-to-date training on how to comply with the most recent legislative changes.

2:30-2:45 p.m. Break
2:45-4:15 p.m.

Legislative Update: Public Safety Reporting System
Speaker: Mr. Noe Barrios, Director of Legislative Services, TAC

TAC Staff will provide a detailed review of legislative changes in Senate Bill 6 with required trainings outlined in the statute and provide an overview of the the Public Safety Reporting System.

4:15-4:30 p.m Break

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Ex Parte Communications and Pro Se Litigants
Speaker: Hon. Greg Holly, Ward County Judge

Dealing with unrepresented (pro se) parties and avoiding improper ex parte communications are related, but distinct, challenges for county judges. Providing access to the courts is important, but a judge can easily cross the line and inadvertently engage in improper communications or actions. This session helps the new judge, as well as his/her staff, to better navigate these challenges as they arise.

5:30 p.m. Recess
Wednesday, Feb. 1
7 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk Open
7-8 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
7-8 a.m.

OPTIONAL BREAKFAST SESSION
Administrative Session: Disaster Declarations
Speaker: Mr. Paul Miles, Associate General Counsel, TAC

This session will review the legal responsibilities of the county judge during disasters.

8:15-9:15 a.m.

Protective Orders
Speaker: Hon. Deborah Earley, County Attorney, Blanco County

This session reviews the authority, jurisdiction, procedures and considerations mandated by Section 71 of the Texas Family Code for protective orders and family violence. It will also examine duties of law enforcement regarding family violence prevention, specifically as set forth in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 5.04 and the challenges presented to county judges.

9:15-10:15 a.m.

Appeals from the Justice Court
Speaker: Hon. Ann Marie Carruth, Judge, 72nd District Court

This course will provide the timelines, steps and laws concerning the county court’s role as the appellate court of the justice and municipal courts.

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Occupational Driver’s Licenses
Speaker: Hon. Chris Clark, Judge, Ector County Court-at-Law #2

This session will be an overview of the legal processes related to occupational drivers licenses and appeals from administrative license suspensions.

11:30 a.m.-Noon Break & Buffet Lunch
12-1 p.m. Lunch with Mentors: Solutions for Mental Health System Shortfalls
This lunch and learn session will provide a discussion with experienced judges related to regional solutions for shortfalls in the Mental Health system.
1-2 p.m.

Guardianships
Speaker: Hon. Curtis Parrish, Lubbock County Judge

This presentation is to give new judges a basic understanding of guardianships in Texas. By the end of this session, the new judges should be able to answer some straightforward questions about guardianships such as: What is a guardianship? How is one created and managed? What does a guardianship accomplish?

2-2:15 p.m. Break
2:15-3:15 p.m.

Mental Health Proceedings
Speaker: Professor Brian Shannon, Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor, Texas Tech University School of Law

This session includes an overview of mental health proceedings under the Texas Health & Safety Code, including emergency detention warrants and civil commitment proceedings. The session will also include a summary of criminal competency proceedings under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

3:15-3:30 p.m. Break
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Probate Overview
Speaker: Professor Gerry W. Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law

Professor Beyer will provide an overview of property transmission upon death and the role you will play in the process. For example, he will explain what happens to property if a person dies without a will, as well as the requirements of a valid will under Texas law. Also explained are the basic legal steps necessary to get property from the decedent to the decedent's heirs and beneficiaries.

4:30 p.m. Recess
Thursday, Feb. 2 - Day at Texas Tech University School of Law
7-8 a.m. Registration Desk Open
7-8 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
7:30-8:30 a.m. Transportation to Texas Tech University School of Law
Buses will depart from Conference Center entrance
8:30-9 a.m. Welcome from the Dean and Faculty
Speaker: Dean Jack Nowlin, Dean of the Texas Tech University School of Law
9-10 a.m. Practicum 1
10-11 a.m. Practicum 2
11 a.m.-Noon Practicum 3
12-1:30 p.m. Lunch with Dean Nowlin and Texas Tech University School of Law Faculty
1:30-2:30 p.m. Practicum 4
2:30-3:30 p.m. Practicum 5
3:30-4:30 p.m. Practicum 6
4:30-5:30 p.m. Reception
5-6 p.m. Transportation to the Overton Hotel & Conference Center
Friday, Feb. 3
7 a.m.-Noon Registration Desk Open
7-8 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
7-8 a.m.

OPTIONAL BREAKFAST SESSION
Administrative Session: Commissioners Court Meeting Procedures and Decorum

Speaker: Mr. Drew Williams, Associate General Counsel, TAC

TAC Legal counsel will provide answers to frequently asked questions relating to the procedural rules of Commissioners Court. He will provide best practices, tips and advice on policies that can assist the court in running an efficient and organized public meeting.

8:15-9:15 a.m.

Introduction to the Code of Judicial Conduct
Speaker: Hon. David Hall, Judge, Nolan County Court-at-Law

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigates ethical complaints against Texas judges. This session will outline the commission’s operations and summarize the ethical canons prescribed for you and your staff.

9:15-10:15 a.m.

Social Media and Ethics for Judges
Speaker: Hon. Tramer Woytek, Judicial Resource Liaison, TAC

The explosion of social media has affected how county judges handle cases in the courtroom, interact with attorneys and litigants, and even campaign for office. This session will focus on how Internet access, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media have affected judges inside and outside the courtroom.

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Considerations for Setting Bail
Speaker: Hon. Tramer Woytek, Judicial Resource Liaison, TAC

This session will provide practical implications of the new requirements of setting the amount of bail, considerations relating to the release of certain defendants on a monetary or personal bond, and the duties of magistrates in criminal cases.

11:30 a.m.-Noon

What Now? Advice from Experienced Judges
Speakers: Judicial Education Advisory Committee Members

Before you go home, the Judicial Education Advisory Committee will provide advice on how to take what you learned this week and put it into practice.

Noon Adjourn

*Agenda is subject to change.

Continuing Education Type Hours
Judges 31.5
Attorneys 31.5/3.5 ethics hours

Please email Regan Williams to cancel your conference registration. You may also fax a notice of cancellation to (512) 477‑1324.

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