H.B. 935 78(R)    BILL ANALYSIS

H.B. 935
By: Casteel
Judicial Affairs
Committee Report (Unamended)


Current law requires that an arrested person be taken before a magistrate
within 48 hours of that person's arrest, and the Code of Criminal
Procedure Article 2.09 defines a broad class of persons who are
"magistrates" within the meaning of the Code.  Population growth in Comal
County has increased the workload of these persons, leading to the need
for additional magistrates in the county. 


It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any
additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or


H.B. 935 amends the Government Code to add Subchapter W relating to
magistrates in Comal County.  The bill provides that the Commissioners
Court of Comal County may authorize the judges of the district and
statutory county courts in Comal County to appoint one or more part-time
or fulltime magistrates.  The judges of the district and statutory county
courts in Comal County may, by a unanimous vote, appoint magistrates as
authorized by the Commissioners Court.   

The bill also sets forth the qualifications and the compensation for the
magistrate(s), provides that they have the same immunity as a district
judge, and sets forth procedures for their termination.   

The bill also provides that the judges of the district and statutory
county courts shall establish standing orders for the magistrates and the
parties appearing before the magistrates, and lists specific actions that
the magistrate is authorized to do.  These include setting, adjusting and
revoking bond, conducting examining trials, determining whether a
defendant is indigent and appointing counsel for an indigent defendant,
issuing search and arrest warrants, issuing emergency protective orders,
ordering emergency medical commitments and conducting initial juvenile
detention hearings.   

The bill also allows a magistrate to exercise concurrent criminal
jurisdiction with a justice of the peace under certain circumstances,
except for a trial on the merits following a plea of not guilty.   

The bill also provides that the Commissioners Court must provide the
magistrate with sufficient office space, personnel and equipment required
to perform the magistrate's essential functions. 


Upon passage, or, if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect on September 1, 2003.