Opt Outs & Waivers


Opt Outs

Experienced municipal judges who have completed two years of TMCEC courses may opt to fulfill the 16-hour mandatory judicial education requirements of 2016-2017 by attending a course offered by an approved continuing education provider.

The accredited providers are the

  • American Judges Association
  • ABA (American Bar Association) Traffic Seminar
  • Center for American and International Law
  • Harvard Law School
  • Houston Municipal Court
  • Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Center for State Courts
  • National College of District Attorneys
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Law Judges
  • The National Judicial College
  • State Bar of Texas Professional Development Programs
  • State Bar of Texas Municipal Judges Section
  • Texas Association of Counties
  • Texas Center for the Judiciary
  • Texas Court Clerk Association
  • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
  • Texas Council on Family Violence
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Project
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas Dispute Resolution Systems
  • Texas District and County Attorneys Association
  • Texas Indigent Defense Commission
  • Texas Justice Court Judges Association
  • Texas Justice Courts Training Center
  • Texas Juvenile Justice Department
  • Texas Municipal Courts Association
  • Texas Municipal League
  • Texas Office of Court Administration

Please refer to the list a approved providers for contact information.

All Texas law schools and bar associations are also approved.

Please contact TMCEC for the most up-to-date list of approved alternative providers.

The course must relate to the jurisdiction of the municipal courts and be at least 16 hours in length. Video, audio, and on-line programs are ineligible. Judges may opt out only every other year. Judges are asked to complete an Intent to Opt Out form prior to April 30, 2017. If you have questions, please contact Hope Lochridge at TMCEC (800.252.3718 or hope@tmcec.com).


The Waiver Process

 If a judge is unable to attend the mandatory 16 hours of judicial education within the academic year (September 1, 2016 - August 31, 2017), he or she may request a waiver from the Municipal Courts Education Committee.  The Committee typically reviews requests for waivers in September after the end of the academic year.  If an emergency situation has occurred and is well documented in the request for a waiver, the Committee may grant a conditional waiver that will require the judge to attend two conferences (one at his or her own expense) in the next year.1  Only in rare cases is an unconditional waiver granted.  More often, waivers are denied.  If a waiver is denied, the judge's name is sent to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.  It is highly recommended that judges not wait until the summer to attend a judicial education program.  With 10 regional programs and a Traffic Safety Conference being held this year, it is unlikely that the Committee will view requests for either unconditional or conditional waivers with any leniency.
 
1 - The grant only provides sufficient funding for judges and clerks to attend one TMCEC program a year. Judges and clerks may attend a second TMCEC program at their own expense. There is NO LONGER an exception to this policy for judges who serve as their own clerks (and do not have deputy clerks). They may attend a regional clerk program in the same year at their own expense if space permits. The cost of a conference (housing, meals, and course materials) paid by the grant is typically at least $300 a person at each regional conference.