POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

POLICIES

DECORUM:
 
  • Bottled water and cups of water are permitted in the courtroom.
  • No sodas, candy, or food are permitted in the courtroom.
  • Gum-chewing is prohibited also. Counsel should advise their clients of this.
  • Counsel shall stand when addressing the Court, and may sit during examination of witnesses.
  • When proceedings are in progress, only one person may speak at a time, so that an accurate record may be made.
  • Counsel must retire to the hallway to use their cell phones.
  • No person should by any facial expression, shaking of the head, guttural utterance, or any other conduct exhibit approval or disapproval of any testimony elicited or any statement or transaction which has occurred in the courtroom.

TABLE ASSIGNMENTS:
 

Petitioner/Plaintiff/Movant is assigned the counsel table nearest the jury box unless the parties agree otherwise.

FAXES:
 

The 45th accepts fax filings to the Court only with prior permission. Do not fax pleadings, motions or briefs to the Court without permission. The Court regularly faxes messages and orders to counsel and often requests a reply by fax. The Court's direct fax line in the Clerk's office is 210-335-1317.

E-MAIL:
 

The Court discourages use of email except for Bar Activities and related matters, and except when documents may be transmitted to the Court and other parties upon specific request (e.g., proposed jury instructions). e-mail should be used only upon special request in order to avoid improper communications with the Court.

COPIES TO COUNSEL/ PRO SE PARTIES:
 

Any communication to the Court, even a cover letter, should copy the opposing counsel and pro se parties. This includes faxes and email.

USE OF COURTROOM:
 

Counsel/parties are welcome to use the courtroom for purposes of preparing for trial, including use of the technology, provided court is not in session. Contact the Deputy Clerk to determine an appropriate time.

CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM:
 

The Court follows Misc. Docket No. 92-0067 of the Supreme Court of Texas approved March 11, 1992, regarding procedures for electronic media coverage. Copies may be obtained from the Deputy Clerk.

OPEN DOOR POLICY:
 

If you have a question about procedures, PLEASE ASK -- we are here to serve. Remember, however, that we cannot give legal advice and cannot have ex parte communications about cases. When in doubt, put your question in writing and copy your opponents. Please also make suggestions on how we can improve the efficiency and user-friendliness of our Court.

PROCEDURES

WHEN COURT COPIES ARE REQUIRED:
 
  • On the last business day prior to trial, each party shall deliver to the court chambers a court's copy of the following documents:
    1. Motions in Limine
    2. Any outstanding motions that remain to be heard pre-trial.
    3. A proposed Charge of the Court, in hard copy and by email.
  • Motions for Rehearing or Reconsideration and any responses thereto.
  • Motions for Summary Judgment, Responses, and Exhibits.

MOTIONS IN LIMINE & PROPOSED CHARGE:
 

Prior to trial, counsel are expected to have conferred on these motions and their respective proposed court's charge to narrow the issues to those truly in dispute.  Counsel for each party is responsible for ensuring that all such documents are also properly filed with the district clerk.   The proposed court's charge should also be sent by email to the court.

VOIR DIRE AND JURY SELECTION:
 
  • Opening remarks by counsel shall be limited to a brief description of the type of case to be tried.
  • Each side shall be permitted to ask general questions, noting the juror number aloud in response.
  • This is followed by specific questions, taking one juror at a time.  Each side shall take its turn, and then move on to the next juror.
  • Challenges for cause shall be considered outside the presence of the panel.
MOTIONS FOR REHEARING/RECONSIDERATION:
 

Will be determined by written submission only. Please send or deliver a courtesy copy of the motion/response to the 45th District Court.  An exception to this procedure: Motions to Set Aside Default Judgment or other such motions requesting a rehearing will be granted a hearing where the movant's counsel was not present at the previous hearing to present evidence.