82R3668 CAE-D
 
  By: Harris S.B. No. 483
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the powers and duties of criminal law magistrates in
  Tarrant County.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 54.656, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 54.656.  PROCEEDING THAT MAY BE REFERRED. (a)  A judge
  may refer to a magistrate any criminal case for proceedings
  involving:
               (1)  a negotiated plea of guilty before the court;
               (2)  a bond forfeiture;
               (3)  a pretrial motion;
               (4)  a postconviction writ of habeas corpus;
               (5)  an examining trial;
               (6)  an occupational driver's license; [and]
               (7)  an agreed order of expunction under Chapter 55,
  Code of Criminal Procedure;
               (8)  an asset forfeiture hearing as provided by Chapter
  59, Code of Criminal Procedure;
               (9)  an agreed order of nondisclosure provided by
  Section 411.081;
               (10)  a hearing on a motion to revoke probation; and
               (11)  any other matter the judge considers necessary
  and proper.
         (b)  A judge may refer to a magistrate a civil case arising
  out of Chapter 59, Code of Criminal Procedure, for any purpose
  authorized by that chapter, including issuing orders, accepting
  agreed judgments, enforcing judgments, and presiding over a case on
  the merits if a party has not requested a jury trial.
         (c)  A magistrate may accept a plea of guilty from a
  defendant charged with misdemeanor, felony, or both misdemeanor and
  felony offenses.
         (d) [(c)]  A magistrate may select a jury. A magistrate may
  not preside over a criminal trial on the merits, whether or not the
  trial is before a jury.
         (e)  A magistrate may not hear a jury trial on the merits of a
  bond forfeiture.
         SECTION 2.  Section 54.658, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 54.658.  POWERS.  [(a)]  Except as limited by an order
  of referral, a magistrate to whom a case is referred may:
               (1)  conduct hearings;
               (2)  hear evidence;
               (3)  compel production of relevant evidence;
               (4)  rule on admissibility of evidence;
               (5)  issue summons for the appearance of witnesses;
               (6)  examine witnesses;
               (7)  swear witnesses for hearings;
               (8)  make findings of fact on evidence;
               (9)  formulate conclusions of law;
               (10)  rule on a pretrial motion;
               (11)  recommend the rulings, orders, or judgment to be
  made in a case;
               (12)  regulate proceedings in a hearing;
               (13)  accept a plea of guilty from a defendant charged
  with misdemeanor, felony, or both misdemeanor and felony offenses;
               (14)  select a jury; [and]
               (15)  accept a negotiated plea on a probation
  revocation;
               (16)  conduct a contested probation revocation
  hearing;
               (17)  sign a dismissal in a misdemeanor case; and
               (18)  do any act and take any measure necessary and
  proper for the efficient performance of the duties required by the
  order of referral.
         [(b)     A magistrate may not enter a ruling on any issue of law
  or fact if that ruling could result in dismissal or require
  dismissal of a pending criminal prosecution, but the magistrate may
  make findings, conclusions, and recommendations on those issues.]
         SECTION 3.  Article 18.01(c), Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (c)  A search warrant may not be issued under Article
  18.02(10) unless the sworn affidavit required by Subsection (b)
  sets forth sufficient facts to establish probable cause: (1) that a
  specific offense has been committed, (2) that the specifically
  described property or items that are to be searched for or seized
  constitute evidence of that offense or evidence that a particular
  person committed that offense, and (3) that the property or items
  constituting evidence to be searched for or seized are located at or
  on the particular person, place, or thing to be searched. Except as
  provided by Subsections (d) and[,] (i), [and (j),] only a judge of a
  municipal court of record or a county court who is an attorney
  licensed by the State of Texas, a statutory county court judge, a
  district court judge, a judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals,
  including the presiding judge, [or] a justice of the Supreme Court
  of Texas, including the chief justice, or a magistrate with
  jurisdiction over criminal cases serving a district court may issue
  warrants under Article 18.02(10).
         SECTION 4.  Article 18.01(j), Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  repealed.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.