The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 36
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36 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
prising the whole -of Texas, which was divided into, three districts,
namely, Bexar, Brazos, and Nacogdoches, in. each of which the
superior judge was to hold court three times each year at designated
times and places; second, courts of less jurisdiction, in each muni-
cipality, to be held by a primary judge; 'and, third, still inferior
courts in the smaller political sub-divisions. This act was, by its
terms, exclusive, and undertook to supplant all courts theretofore
existing in Texas. In most cases submitted to them the decisions
of the lowest courts were final. The primary courts had no juris-
diction to try criminal cases, except the most trivial misdemeanors;
but -the primary judges had extensive powers as examining and
committing magistrates. In civil matters, however, the jurisdic-
tion of the primary courts was very extensive. They had exclusive
original jurisdiction of all suits involving more than ten dollars in
value, without regard to the nature of the litigation. The decision
in all such cases was final, unless appeal was prosecuted to the
superior court. The superior court had 'exclusive original jurisdic-
tion in all criminal cases, except the smallest misdemeanors, and
appellate jurisdiction in all civil oases tried in the primary courts.
Appeal lay from all judgments of the superior courts to the Su-
preme Court of the 'State.
'The procedure in these courts was not regulated by the rules
either of the Civil or Common law, but was peculiar to itself. The
general provisions regarding juries are important enough to quote:
"Art. 2. All cases, civil and criminal, shall be tried by juries in
the manner and form prescribed by this law."
"Art. 6. For the trial of civil causes, there shall be in every
municipality a tribunal for each primary judge, composed of the
judge, a subaltern sheriff, and the jury. Their sessions shall be
held every two months of the year.
"Art. 7. In all causes, civil and criminal, the jury shall be com-
posed of twelve men, who shall be sworn, and the joint opinion of
eight of them shall be considered the decision lof the jury."
"Art. 24. Juries are the judges of all the facts in controversy,
and all the laws concerning evidence, subject to 'the instructions
from the judge, but they have the right to differ with him in opin-
ion; but, in regard to all other laws, they shall be regulated strictly
according to their literal tenor.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/40/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.