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 Overview of the 85th District Court

The 85th Judicial District Court of Texas is one of the three district courts of Brazos County, which serves as a trial court of general jurisdiction. It was the first district court established in Brazos County in the year 1917, and was followed by the 272nd District court in 1979 and the 361st District Court in 1985. Wherein at least one district court must serve each of the 254 counties of Texas, the Legislature defines the geographical area of each district court based on population size. Aside from densely populated counties like Brazos County that is served by more than one district court, wherein cases may be properly transferred to other district courts of the same county, there are single district courts that may serve more than one county. The district court is presided by the district judge, holds original and exclusive jurisdiction in any case not handled by lower courts, and has concurrent jurisdiction with the constitutional and statutory county courts in specified cases.

Because the 85th District Court is one of the three coequal district courts in Brazos County, all cases that are under exclusive jurisdiction of the district courts may be assigned randomly among them. It has the below conditions in terms of jurisdiction:

• Criminal felony cases

• Misdemeanor cases on official misconduct

• Class A and Class B criminal misdemeanor cases wherein the defendant has pending felony charges

• Civil cases with amounts of controversy or claims exceeding $100,000

• Title IV-D or child support cases, and other Family Law cases

• No juvenile cases handled (all such cases are exclusively assigned in the 272nd District Court)

There are concurrent jurisdictions by the 155th District Court with the statutory county courts at law (Brazos County Court at Law No. 1, Brazos County Court at Law No.2), which would be randomly and equally assigned among them,:

• Civil cases normally filed in the county court and county courts at law with amounts of controversy greater $500 but not exceeding $100,000

• Class A & Class B criminal misdemeanor cases (must be initially filed with the district clerk, and may be assigned to the county court at law if defendant is not involved in pending felony charges)

In cases where a defendant has an original case or motion pending before the district course, any new case would be assigned to the same court. While if the defendant has an original case or motion in a county court at law, and an original felony case or motion in a district court, the county court alt law would transfer all its cases to the district court where felony is filed. Moreover, all different felony cases of the same defendant shall be assigned to one and the same district court.

The 85th District Court is located in the city of Bryan, with office hours from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Below are the current district court dockets:

Criminal pre-trial and trial dates: 8:30 AM

Civil pre-trial and trial dates: 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:00 PM, 3:30 PM

About the district judge

To become a qualified district judge, he/she must be at least 25 years old and not older than 74, must be a lawyer licensed in the state of the district for at least four years, and be a resident of the district or county for at least two years. A district judge is elected by partisan votes at county level, and may not be involved in private practice of law upon election or appointment. Aside from an annual salary that is fixed by the Legislature, a district judge also receives supplemental compensation courtesy of its served counties, plus special allowances provided by commissioners courts. A sudden vacancy in the office of district judge would be filled by appointment of the state governor until the next general election, with confirmation by the Senate of Texas.

Aside from district court duties, the 85th District Court judge also has additional responsibilities as defined by Texas Law. Some of these are adopting defense plans for county indigents, appointing a director for the Community Supervision Departmenr of Brazos County, issuing search and arrest warrants, conducting wedding ceremonies, and hearing trials in other counties within the State of Texas upon orders by the Presiding Judge of the Second Administrative Region or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He also serves as a member of the Juvenile Board, Bail Bond Board, and Community Justice Council of Brazos County.

The current 85th Distrcict Court Judge is Hon. J.D. Langley. He is currently on his sixth term, since his first elected entry in 1991. He earned his udergraduate degree from Texas A&M University, and obtained Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law.

Credit card/ breach of contract cases in a district court

A complainant, which may be a credit card collection agency, merchant, or contract signatory, would file a civil case on debt or breach of contract with  the district clerk. This is for claims between $500 and $100,000, and such cases are within concurrent jurisdiction by the district courts and county courts at law. The district clerk would then assign the case randomly to either type of court, in observance of equal distribution of cases among the different courts. Once the defendant is notified, he/she may file for dispute or admittance of the claim, and the necessary mediation and other respective proceedings would occur prior to a call for trial.

Civil complaints below $500, on the other hand, are filed as Small Claims cases in the lower courts.

Please visit our website for more information about us, bankruptcy, and the  BRAZOS COUNTY 85TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF TEXAS. Call us today at (713) 974-1151 to schedule a no-obligation consultation or feel free to email us at [email protected]


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Michael Busby is a Houston divorce lawyer who has been in practice for over 20 years and appears daily in the Family Law Courts of Harris County and Fort Bend County Texas

Busby & Associates , have two Houston Offices, one in Chinatown, Houston Texas and another in Independent Heights, Houston, Texas. Michael Busby is Board Certified in Family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.