Second Court of Appeals

Frequently Asked Questions 

General Court Information

  1. The Second Court of Appeals is located in the northern end of downtown Fort Worth, Texas, north of Interstate 30 and west of Interstate 35-W, on the ninth floor of Tarrant County's Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center at 401 West Belknap Street.

  2. The mailing address and phone number are:

    Second Court of Appeals
    Attn: Debra Spisak, Clerk
    Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center
    401 West Belknap St., Suite 9000
    Fort Worth, Texas 76196-0211

    Phone: 817-884-1900

  3. Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. except for holidays.

  4. Parking is available at meters along the downtown streets near the courthouse. Meters generally require payment between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., but parking may be prohibited in certain areas and during certain hours of the day. Several pay parking lots are available in the downtown area. The court does not provide validated or free parking.

  5. We do not provide contact information for judges or staff attorneys. All communications with the court must be with the clerk’s office according to Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.6. Communications With the Court.


  1. The court charges filing and other fees only in civil cases.

    Fees may be paid by cash, check, or money order. Checks and money orders should be made payable to “Clerk, Court of Appeals.” Credit cards are accepted for online payment of electronically filed documents only.

    A party who cannot afford to pay a filing fee may file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs or an Appeal Bond if the party has not already filed one in the trial court in accordance with Rule of Civil Procedure 145. En español: Declaración sobre Incapacidad de Pago de Costas de Tribunal y Fianza de Apelación.


  1. Forms for (1) the docketing statement and (2) the trial court’s certification of the defendant’s right to appeal in a criminal case are available under our Forms page.

    Other forms, including for motions for extension of time and pro hac vice motions, are available from the State Bar of Texas’ Appellate Section.

  2. Generally, in a direct appeal from a trial court judgment, the party appealing the judgment is the appellant, and the party defending the judgment is the appellee.

    Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 9.8 provides rules for protecting minors’ identities in cases involving the termination of parental rights and for juvenile-court cases.

    In an original proceeding, the party seeking the relief is the relator. In original proceedings other than petitions for writs of habeas corpus, the person against whom relief is sought — whether a judge, court, tribunal, officer, or other person — is the respondent. A person whose interest would be directly affected by the relief sought is a real party in interest and a party to the case. See Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure P. 52.2.

  3. A docketing statement is a form that an appellant uses to inform the court of basic information about the appellant’s case.

    Find forms and instructions on our Forms page.

Pro Se Parties

  1. The Second Court of Appeals has no power to appoint attorneys. If you are entitled to an appointed attorney, the trial court will appoint one, so you must make your request in that court. If you are not entitled to an appointed attorney and would like to find an attorney to represent you in your non-criminal case, you may be able to obtain the assistance of a volunteer lawyer, free of charge, through a program administered by the State Bar of Texas and the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Appellate Law Section. See our Pro Bono page. In addition, a directory of legal aid organizations and the areas they serve. Links to legal resources specifically for veterans may be found on the State Bar of Texas website.

    If you do not qualify for the Tarrant County Appellate Section’s pro bono program or for legal aid, the State Bar of Texas provides a Lawyer Referral Information Service, which you can reach by telephone at (800) 252-9690. Through the Lawyer Referral Information Service, a person may have a thirty-minute consultation with an attorney for no more than $20. At the end of the consultation, the attorney and individual may discuss possible representation and price structure. The LRIS is not a pro bono or reduced-fee program. You can also call your local bar association, or the one in a large city near you, to see if it can assist you in finding an attorney.

  2. Pro se parties must contact the clerk’s office at (817) 884-1900 to make arrangements to access the record.

  3. You may submit a single, unbound copy of your document. Mail your document to:

    Second Court of Appeals
    Attn: Debra Spisak, Clerk
    Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center
    401 West Belknap St., Suite 9000
    Fort Worth, Texas 76196-0211

    You may use this address for regular mail service or express mail service.


  1. An attorney of record can access the appellate record using the Attorney Portal.

    For information about registration and access, see the Attorney Portal’s FAQ.

  2. Documents accessible through the Attorney Portal include the clerk’s record, the reporter’s record, and any supplemental records filed in the case to the extent those records have not been sealed. An attorney may access appellate records through the Attorney Portal only for cases in which he or she is listed as an attorney of record. The appellate record will be available for use in the appeal for 60 months from the date the record is filed.

    Appellate records often contain sensitive information, and any attorney who obtains copies of appellate records must respect the sensitive nature of this information and maintain its confidentiality. Furthermore, by registering to use the Attorney Portal, attorneys agree not to post downloaded documents to any public websites.

  3. Sealed records and non-PDF files, such as audio or video exhibits, are not available through the Attorney Portal. Attorneys wishing to view sealed materials must file a motion for access to those materials. To access non-PDF files, call the clerk’s office at (817) 884-1900. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be asked to submit a written request. Pro se parties cannot use the Attorney Portal but instead should contact the clerk’s office at (817) 884-1900 to make arrangements to access the record.

  4. Attorneys can register for access to the Attorney Portal. You will need your Bar member number and an email address that is already registered with the eFile Texas system. Once you submit your registration, a verification email will be sent to the email address that you specified; you must click the link included in the email to log in and activate your account, using the same email and password that you supplied during registration. If you have problems registering, please call this court at (817) 884-1900 for assistance before contacting the Office of Court Administration.

  5. Pro hac vice admissions are governed by Rule XIX of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas. An electronic copy of these rules, and other information governing pro hac vice admission, is available at the website of the Texas Board of Law Examiners.

Document Formatting and Case Citations

  1. Generally, documents should be typewritten on an 8.5-by-11-inch sized page, with one-inch margins on all sides. The text should be no smaller than 14 point in size and should be double spaced (with exceptions for footnotes, block quotations, short lists, and issues). For additional formatting requirements, see Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 9.4.

  2. Yes. Rule 9 of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure provides general formatting requirements for all documents filed with the court. In addition, the Rules establish separate requirements for each specific type of filing:

    • Rule 10 establishes the requirements for motions.
    • Rule 25 addresses the notice of appeal.
    • Rule 38 provides the requirements for briefs.
    • Rule 52 governs original proceedings, such as a petition for writ of mandamus or writ of habeas corpus.

    Failure to follow the Rules of Appellate Procedure may result in the court’s denying your motion or original proceeding or striking your brief for failure to comply with the Rules.

  3. Currently, the court has a subscription to Westlaw but not to Lexis. Therefore, the court requests that citations to materials not published in an official reporter include a Westlaw citation, if available.

Filing Methods

  1. Attorneys must file documents electronically through eFile Texas. Pro se parties may electronically file documents but are not required to do so. See Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure P. 9.2(c)(1).

  2. Paper copies are not required when filing electronically.

  3. If you cannot find your case number in the eFile Texas system, it may be that this is a new appeal, and it is the first filing for your case. You will need to set up a new case in the eFile Texas system and file the document under a new envelope. When the court accepts a new case filing, it assigns an appellate case number, and sends an email notice with the assigned case number. If you have received notice with the assigned case number from this court, and you are still unable to find the appellate case number in the eFile Texas system, contact your e-filing service provider.

  4. Sealed documents that are a part of the trial court clerk’s record or reporter’s record are filed in the appellate court by the trial court clerk or court reporter under seal. To obtain access to these records, a party must file a motion in this court. If you wish to file your brief under seal, you must file a motion requesting to do so, either contemporaneously with or before filing the brief.

    Documents that are not a part of the trial court record but were reviewed in camera by the trial court judge must be supplied to our court by the trial judge, or by the trial court clerk or court reporter if in that person’s possession. The items that the trial court viewed in camera must not be sent to our court directly from a party unless expressly authorized by the trial court judge.

  5. Yes. The limit is usually 35MB, but you will need to verify the limit with your e-filing service provider.

  6. Check your scanner software settings. Make sure that you are scanning the documents at 300 dots per inch as required by the Technology Standards of the Judicial Committee on Information Technology.

    In addition, the scan must be in black and white (not grayscale or color). The scanner should be set to scan your paper as a document and not as an image. You may be able to save the document as a reduced size PDF file for an optimal file size.

  7. If the document is a copy of the appellate record (e.g., filed with your petition for writ of mandamus), you may split the file into separate volumes of 35MB files. Please be sure to place a styled cover page on each volume of the record and indicate the volume number within the title of the cover page.

  8. The court does not accept filings by fax from attorneys, except in an approved emergency. However, pro se parties can file documents up to ten pages, excluding the cover page, by fax. Documents received after 4:45 p.m. will be considered filed the next business day. See 2d Tex. App. (Fort Worth) Loc. R. 1(B).

  9. You must serve a copy of your filing on all parties to the proceeding. If you are filing an original proceeding, you must also serve the trial judge who issued the ruling about which you are complaining.

  10. You cannot. You must mail a paper copy of the filing to that person.

Brief Extensions

  1. You must file a motion that includes a reasonable explanation of the need for an extension and that also complies with the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, including Rule 10.5(b). The filing fee for a motion for extension of time in a civil case is $10 but may be waived if a party is indigent.

    The Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas has created a sample motion for extension of time.

Oral Argument

  1. A request for oral argument must be on the front cover of the brief. Additionally, in the brief’s “Statement Regarding Oral Argument,” the party must explain why oral argument would aid this court’s decisional process instead of merely parroting the rule’s language. See Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure P. 38.1(e). The explanation should keep in mind the reasons the court may decide that oral argument is unnecessary. See Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure P. 39.1.

  2. The court usually hears arguments in its courtroom on Tuesdays from September through June. The court’s courtroom is on the ninth floor of the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth. The time allowed for oral argument will be specified in a notice to the parties.

    All counsel (and parties, if attending) are required to be present at the specified time but are encouraged to arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes before the docket call to allow sufficient time to check in with the clerk.

    From time to time, the court will schedule arguments in other locations within the district. The notice of setting will contain information on the time and place of the argument.

  3. Courtroom participants (such as attorneys, legal staff, parties, and party representatives) are expected to wear appropriate business attire in the courtroom. Courtroom participants are expected to dress neatly and to exercise common sense in selecting clothing and footwear appropriate for court. Appropriate business attire generally includes the following:

    • A business suit
    • A dress
    • A skirt with a blouse or sweater or tailored slacks with a professional blouse
    • A sport coat with dress slacks, a collared dress shirt, and a tie

    Courtroom participants not dressed in appropriate business attire may be excluded from participating in courtroom proceedings.

  4. Dress appropriately for court. Do not wear shorts, tank tops, ball caps, or t-shirts. Business attire is encouraged but not required. Collared shirts, slacks, nice jeans (no holes or fraying in the fabric), and other business-casual attire is generally acceptable. The court reserves the right to exercise its judgment regarding the propriety of attire on a case-by-case basis and to make orders accordingly.

  5. If you are an attorney or pro se party participating in an oral argument, sign in with the clerk seated at the front of the courtroom and tell the clerk how much of the allotted time you intend to take for your argument. You are encouraged to arrive at the courtroom ten to fifteen minutes before the docket call to allow sufficient time to confer with the clerk about your case. Do not approach the clerk while the court is in session. After you have checked in with the clerk, take a seat in the courtroom behind the railing. If you represent a party in the first case on the docket, you may be seated at counsel table.

    Once the panel is seated, the presiding judge will make any necessary announcements and call the first case. As you approach the podium to argue, the clerk will announce your name and the party you represent. Do not commence your argument until you have been introduced by the clerk and the green light on the podium is turned on.

  6. The court generally allows each side twenty minutes to argue unless a prior motion has been granted allowing additional time. The appellant may reserve five minutes from its allotted twenty minutes for rebuttal by notifying the court before argument begins. Multiple parties on the same side must allocate their time among themselves.

  7. The justices do not follow a set pattern; they may or may not ask questions. The court has reviewed all cases that are set to be argued in advance of oral argument. Advocates should not dwell unnecessarily on the facts and should focus on the legal arguments.

  8. No. The court will consider each issue raised and adequately briefed, regardless of whether it is discussed during oral argument. However, issues may not be addressed for the first time during rebuttal.

  9. Yes. As of October 14, 2008, the audio portions of oral arguments are recorded in digital format and posted on the court’s website. You may listen to an argument free of charge.

    Oral arguments that occurred before October 14, 2008, were recorded by the court on cassettes. You may purchase a copy of an argument on cassette tape for $1 by filling out the Oral Argument Tape Request form and returning the bottom portion along with $1 to the clerk’s office:

    Second Court of Appeals
    Attn: Debra Spisak, Clerk
    Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center
    401 West Belknap St., Suite 9000
    Fort Worth, Texas 76196-0211

  10. There are no standing post-argument requirements. However, if the justices request additional briefing on an issue during oral argument, a party may submit a letter brief in response to the request.

Specific Types Of Appeals

  1. Yes. The court appreciates advance notice when a matter may require immediate attention.

    In case of an emergency, filings may be made after normal business hours provided counsel coordinates the filing with the clerk of the court or with one of the justices in accordance with Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.2(a)(2). During the court’s normal business hours, a party can coordinate an after-hours emergency filing by contacting the clerk of the court at (817) 884-1900 to arrange for a court staff member to remain in the clerk’s office for a reasonable time to accept the filing. Outside of normal business hours, a party may coordinate such emergency filings with the clerk by calling the after-hours number listed in the court’s recording at (817) 884-1900.

  2. No; filing a notice of appeal alone does not automatically stop the eviction process. We strongly encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your case.

  3. You must redact or use aliases or initials to refer to the names of minors and minors’ parents or other family members. Please redact these names and resubmit your document.

    See Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure P. 9.8, 9.9, 9.10; 2d Tex. App. (Fort Worth) Loc. R. 7.

Case Status And Opinions

  1. You can look up the actions that have been taken in your case using the Case Search system.

  2. Opinions and orders on motions for rehearing are scheduled for release at 9:00 a.m. each Thursday.

    Opinions in cases involving original proceedings, parental termination/child protection cases, or other urgent matters may be released any day of the week.

    All of these can be viewed on our Released Orders & Opinions page the day after release.

  3. There is not a set timeframe for rulings; each case is reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis.

  4. The clerk will send an electronic notification to the lead counsel for each party. Lead counsel is responsible for notifying his or her client and all other counsel representing the party. A pro se party who has not consented to receive email notices will be sent a notice by mail.

    The Second Court of Appeals' opinions are also available as PDFs the day after issuance, via our Case Mail system. To search, you'll first need to request an account via a link on the Case Mail home page. You may also register for email notifications on specific cases, once your account has been approved.


  1. All employment opportunities are posted on our Careers page. If there are no job listings, the court is not currently hiring.

Externs and Interns

  1. Generally, yes; the justices accept law school students and, occasionally, undergraduate students as court interns and externs. However, interns and externs are selected by the individual justices and generally are assigned to that justice’s chambers.

  2. Submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, and one writing sample (preferably less than twenty pages) to Recommendation letters are accepted but not required. All documents should be in PDF format. Address your cover letter to the justice for whom you wish to intern or extern, or to the clerk of the court if you are applying for an internship or externship in any justice’s chambers.

  3. The court does not pay interns and externs. Additionally, the court does not provide paid parking for interns or externs.

  4. Generally, interns and externs spend between 10 and 20 hours per week at the court. The assigned chambers typically coordinates with the individual and does its best to accommodate the individual’s class schedule.

  5. Generally, internships or externships last one semester. However, justices are generally willing to accommodate alternate schedules, such as quarters or split summers.

Anders Briefs

  1. An Anders brief should address any potentially relevant appealable issues with an explanation of why each issue is not meritorious. In preparing an Anders brief for a criminal appeal, you should consider the following topics, at a minimum, including whether relevant preservation requirements were met:

    • Sufficiency of the charging instrument.
    • Any adverse rulings on objections or motions, whether before trial, during the guilt–innocence phase, during the sentencing phase, or after trial.
    • Whether the sentence imposed was within the applicable range of punishment.
    • Whether the written judgment accurately reflects the record, including the charge, plea, and sentence imposed.
    • Whether appellant was denied effective assistance of counsel.
      Any error that does not require preservation.
    • If the defendant pleaded guilty without the benefit of a charge or sentence bargain:
      • Whether the issue of competency was raised prior to sentencing and whether appellant was mentally competent when the court accepted the plea.
      • Whether appellant’s plea was freely and voluntarily made.
      • Whether the trial court complied with Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 26.13 and, if appropriate, Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010).
      • Whether there is evidence to support the guilty plea in a felony case.
    • If the case was tried, the sufficiency of the evidence, including a recitation of the elements of the offense(s) and facts and evidence adduced at trial relevant to the offense(s) upon which conviction or adjudication is based.
    • If the case was tried to a jury:
      • Jury selection.
      • Jury instructions.
    • For an appeal involving a juvenile-court matter, you should consider and address the above matters, to the extent applicable, as well as Family Code-specific requirements.
    • In preparing an Anders brief for a case involving termination of the parent–child relationship, you should consider the following topics, at a minimum, and as applicable to your case, including whether relevant preservation requirements were met:
    • Any adverse rulings on objections or motions, whether before trial, at trial, or after trial.
    • Whether the appellant was denied effective assistance of counsel.
    • Sufficiency of the evidence, including a recitation of the facts and evidence adduced at trial to support each of the grounds for termination, and a recitation of the facts and evidence adduced at trial regarding the child’s best interests.
    • Compliance with statutory dismissal deadlines.
    • Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
    • If the record shows prior out-of-state proceedings, compliance with the UCCJEA.
    • Whether the written judgment accurately reflects the record and pleadings, including the grounds for termination and ultimate findings.
    • If the case was tried to a jury:
      • Jury selection.
      • Jury instructions.

    Although the lists above may be used as resources in the preparation of your Anders brief, these lists are not legal authority. An attorney filing an Anders brief remains responsible for demonstrating compliance with Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), and all relevant binding case law.

  2. If you are filing an Anders brief in a criminal or juvenile appeal, then yes; your Anders brief must be accompanied by a motion to withdraw.

    If you are filing an Anders brief in a case involving termination of the parent–child relationship, then no; you are not required to file a motion to withdraw. However, you are encouraged to explain to your client why and how long you must remain on the case, and you are encouraged to detail and confirm this explanation in your brief with references to relevant case law.

Other Questions

  1. If the above questions & answers don't help, and if your question isn't answered by the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, you may contact the clerk’s office at (817) 884-1900. Please note that court staff cannot give legal advice.

    It may also be beneficial to consult the FAQ pages provided by other appellate courts and related divisions of the judicial branch: