The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 6
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
presided over by district judges; the number of these courts has
been increased to meet the needs of the growing population,
until there are now one hundred and twenty. These courts were
given jurisdiction of suits in behalf of the state to recover penal-
ties, forfeitures and escheats, of cases of divorce, and of suits
for damages for slander or defamation of character, of suits for
the trial of title to land and for the enforcement of liens thereon,
of trials of the right of property levied upon when the property
equaled or exceeded in value $500, and of all suits where the
matter in controversy equaled $500, exclusive of interest. Dis-
trict courts were given appellate jurisdiction and general con-
trol over the county court in probate matters, and the Consti-
tution permitted the Legislature to invest the district courts with
original jurisdiction and general control over executors, admin-
istrators, guardians, and minors. This has been done to a lim-
ited extent. County courts were given exclusive jurisdiction
when the matter in controversy was $200 to $500, and concur-
rent jurisdiction with district courts in matters involving be-
tween $5oo and $00ooo, excluding suits for the recovery of land.
These courts were given appellate jurisdiction from justice
courts in civil cases only when the judgment appealed from ex-
ceeded $2o, exclusive of costs. They were given probate juris-
diction generally. The Constitution of 1876 provided the legis-
lature with power to alter both the civil and criminal courts
and to make the jurisdiction of other courts conform with
changes made. Justice courts were given civil jurisdiction where
the amount in controversy was $200 or less.12 In general the
jurisdiction of the district, county, and justice courts established
in 1876 still exists today. Since that time all appellate court
judges have held office for six year terms and district judges for
four year terms. Other judges held office for two year terms until
November, 1954, at which time the Constitution was amended
to give four year terms to county judges.
With the resumption of Democratic control in Texas, the be-
loved O. M. Roberts was appointed by Governor Richard Coke
to the Supreme Court as chief justice where he served from
1874 until he became governor in 1878. It was Roberts who
12Williams, "Court Procedure in Texas," Texas Law Review, V, 177-178.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/18/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.