Twelfth Court of Appeals

History 

The Twelfth Court of Appeals is a three (3) justice court presided over by Chief Justice James T. Worthen of Big Sandy, Justice Sam Griffith of Starrville and Justice Brian Hoyle of Longview. The Court has jurisdiction of appeals from the trial courts located in a seventeen (17) county district consisting of Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Greg, Henderson, Houston, Nacogdoches, Rains, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood Counties.

There are fourteen (14) Courts of Appeals in Texas having intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases appealed from district and county courts. Each Court of Appeals has jurisdiction in a specific geographical region of the State. The number of justices on each Court is set by statute and ranges from three to thirteen. Presently, there are eighty justices authorized for these courts. Each court is presided over by a Chief Justice and has at least two other justices. Appeals are usually heard by a panel of three (3) justices.

Appellate courts do not try cases, have jurors, or hear witnesses. Rather, they review actions and decisions of the lower courts on questions of law disputed issues of fact and allegations of procedural error. In carrying out this review, appellate courts are usually restricted to the evidence and exhibits that were presented in the trial court. The evidence of each case is determined at trial, and that evidence is compiled in a record that is prepared by the trial court clerk and court reporter. The appellate court reviews the record and the arguments of the attorneys for both sides, and its decision is based both upon the evidence contained in the record and the law pertaining to the facts of the case. Attorneys' written arguments are presented to the appellate court in a brief. Many of the cases are also argued orally before the Court. After a review of the law and the facts, the appellate court will issue its opinion. Courts of appeals also consider many writs for original relief, such as petitions for mandamus and writs of habeas corpus.

Justices of these courts are elected in partisan elections by the voters of the geographical areas they serve. They must have the same qualifications for office as the justices of the Texas Supreme Court. Vacancies are filled by appointment of the Governor.

[Revised 9/1/2005-CSL]

Legal Citation:
Texas Constitution, Article V, Section 1 Texas Government Code Annotated, Section 22.201