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Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Ask the Judge" Column continues in La Prensa, 12-4

Ask the Judge: “Jurisdiction” & “Venue.”
Judge Steve Walker

The definition of “Jurisdiction”
1. legal authority: the authority to enforce laws or pronounce legal judgments
2. range of legal authority: the area over which legal authority extends
3. authority: power or authority generally
Synonyms: authority, dominion, influence, power, control, prerogative, rule

Anytime a Justice of the Peace hears a case, he/she must have jurisdiction over that case.

In past columns we have listed what kind of cases are in the jurisdiction of the Justice of the Peace Court. To refresh the reader, Justice of the Peace Courts handle truancy cases, disorderly students on school premises, small and civil claims up to 10-thousand dollars, evictions, traffic tickets and other assorted misdemeanor citations resulting in fines, all classified as Class C misdemeanors.

All those cases are the jurisdiction of Justice of the Peace Court and when the offenses occur within the boundaries of the particular Justice of the Peace area it is called “Venue.”

The definition of “Venue” in Law:
a. The locality where a crime is committed or a cause of action occurs.
b. The locality or political division from which a jury is called and in which a trial is held.
c. The clause within a declaration naming the locality in which a trial will be held.
d. The clause in an affidavit naming the place where it was sworn to.

JP2 covers 184 precincts and over 300-thousand people live within its jurisdiction/venue. Grey Forrest, Helotes, Leon Valley, Balcones Heights, and a segment of Olmos Park along with portions of San Antonio are in Pct. 2.

Precinct 2 covers parts of six City Council Districts, five State Reps, one State Senator & two Congressmen as part its venue within the Courts jurisdiction.

Readers must remember, any offense classified as a Class B or Class A Misdemeanor must be heard in at least the County Courts or District Courts since it is not JP Courts jurisdiction.

Divorce proceedings, child custody, assault, murder, robbery, theft, etc. are not in the jurisdiction of Justice of the Peace Court even if the offenses occurred within the Justice of the Peace boundaries. (Venue)

Lastly as always, if you are due in court, be sure to show up to court on time. It is in everyone’s best interest.”

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and a former Journalist.

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