Judges play an important role in every court case. With the eyes of the nation focused on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, the role of judges at every level has garnered significant public debate.
Critics do not support Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination because they perceive her views to be extreme. In her three years as a judge on the seventh circuit court of appeals, she injected her conservative social and political into her rulings..
She has been accused of finding technicalities to justify her rulings against people who are often considered marginalized and powerless, especially non-white persons.
Texas Legislators Want to Protect Your Rights
Regardless of citizens’ personal views, the national conversation surrounding the Supreme Court nomination Amy Barrett underscores how important the selection of a judge can be in future cases.
Texas recognizes this and, in fact, created legislation that allows defendants to petition for a change of venue when warranted, which essentially means a new judge overseeing your case.
Here’s what you need to know about the role a judge plays in a court case, as well as what you need to do if you ever find yourself in the position desire a change of venue in Texas.
What Role Judges Play in All Court Cases
At its broadest base, the role of a judge in the courtroom is to preside over a case, and they have a duty to perform five specific tasks:
- To preside over the proceedings and ensure the maintenance of order in the courtroom
- To determine whether the evidence presented in court is improper or illegal
- In cases with juries, the judge gives the jury instructions about the laws that have an influence on the case as well as the standards for deciding the case
- To determine the facts and decide rulings on cases when there is no jury
- To sentence the defendant if found guilty
Sometimes, it is clear that a judge cannot, for whatever reason, be fair and impartial in a given case. If you find that to be true, you don’t have to stand by and watch it happen.
With the help of an experienced Texas defense attorney, you can motion for a change of venue.
How Texas Defines a Venue Transfer
Venue transfers are exactly what they sound like – the moving of your case from one court to another. Often in Texas, this means moving to a different jurisdiction.
A defendant or attorney can file a Motion to Transfer Venue with the judge, which typically accompanies a Notice of Hearing. Partnering with an experienced Texas defense attorney can ensure these forms are correctly completed and timely filed.
Attorneys can be especially helpful in this process when a defendant is involved in a complicated case. Complications can include incidents involving multiple plaintiffs or defendants or cases that have garnered a lot of pretrial media coverage.
When a Motion to Transfer Venue May Be Filed in Texas
The most important aspect in the transfer process is knowing that a Motion to Transfer Venue should be the very first filing in your court case.
If anything else is filed before you submit this, then the defendant forfeits any right they have to move the case to another venue. That’s why having an attorney at the outset is crucial.
That said, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule of filing a Motion of Transfer. They are:
- If everyone associated with the case agrees to move the case, or
- If the defendant files a Motion to Transfer because they later believe the court is prejudiced against them
In either of these scenarios, a Motion of Transfer may be considered after other documents have already been filed in the case.
Which Motions to Transfer Venue Are Usually Granted
Whether or not a judge approves your Motion to Transfer depends on two primary factors. The first is the reason a defendant is filing the request. This factor will weigh heaviest on the motion’s approval.
Texas works to best protect the rights of its citizens, and if a defendant has a merited concern, it is imperative the motion be granted.
The second has to do with the venue itself. When it is determined the current court is not the proper venue for the case or when another court is deemed the most convenient for all parties, then it will most likely be transferred.
There are times when a venue transfer is the only way for a defendant to receive a fair judgment or to ensure they are able to conveniently meet their appearance obligations.
Regardless of which reason the accused chooses to file, this is an issue for which a remedy exists under Texas law. It is your right to file, so don’t be afraid to exercise that right when you feel it is warranted and it will help your case.
Just remember the most important thing: In most cases, you must petition for a change of venue before you do anything else or you could lose your shot.