Case Law


About Case Law

 

Case law is the byproduct of written decisions of appellate courts. Case law is the basis for precedent, the idea that previously decided cases are seen as examples, or guiding authorities, for judges’ decisions in later cases with similar questions of law. Stare decisis, a Latin phrase meaning “to stand on what has been decided,” is the principle that the decision of a court is a binding authority on the court that issued the decision and on lower courts in the same jurisdiction for the disposition of factually similar cases.

An appellate court’s interpretation of a statute may also become a precedent that lower courts must follow in issuing their decisions. Under the doctrine of precedent, it is the statute as interpreted by the court that is applied in future cases. If a legislature disagrees with the way a court has interpreted a statute, it may revise the statute or, if necessary, initiate a constitutional amendment.

Precedent is believed to promote fairness in the judicial process because it encourages similar cases to be treated alike and leads to predictability and stability in the legal system. It also saves time and energy because it enables courts to use previous research and wisdom. The written opinions of courts are considered primary sources of authority and are usually the main object of legal research.

Intermediate appellate courts (courts of appeal) have authority over trial courts in a specified geographical area or jurisdiction. Appellate courts generally do not review factual determinations made by lower courts, but do review claimed errors of law that are reflected in the record. Appellate courts accept written briefs (statements made by counsel arguing the case) and frequently hear oral arguments. In Texas, the intermediate courts of appeal may hear cases en banc (the entire court) or in a panel of judges. In Texas, the courts of appeals hear cases originating in county and district court. The exception to this rule is appeals from municipal and justice courts which are first reviewed by county-level courts.

The court of last resort, often called the supreme court, is the highest appellate court in a jurisdiction. Texas is unique in that it has two courts of last resort: the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which hears criminal appeals on questions of state law; and the Texas Supreme Court, which hears appeals of civil matters involving state law. The U.S. Supreme Court is the court of last resort for cases involving federal law. There are certain matters over which a state or federal court has exclusive jurisdiction and certain matters over which a state court has concurrent jurisdiction with federal courts.

Taken from The Municipal Judges Book, © 2012 Texas Municipal Court Education Center, Austin


The following cases are discussed or cited in the TMCEC Bench Book. This case law bank indicates the Bench Book chapter location of each case and includes a summary of each case as well as the full case. Please note that some of these cases may have been overruled or superseded by law.
 

                                                                                    BENCH BOOK CASES

Ch 1 Magistrate Duties Ch 2 Warrants & Writs Ch 3 Defendants
Ch 4 Appearance/Dismissal Ch 5 Pleas Ch 6 Pretrial Proceedings
Ch 7 Trial Proceedings Ch 8 Sentencing Ch 9 Bonds
Ch 10 New Trials/Appeals Ch 11 Ordinances Ch 12 Oaths
Ch 13 Juvenile Proceedings Ch 14 Contempt Ch 15 Organizations
Ch 16 Evidence Ch 17 Animals  
 
 
Magistrate Duties Summary Full Case
Bills v. State, 796 S.W.2d 194 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990)  PDF Document PDF Document
Cnty. of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991)  PDF Document  PDF Document 
Ex parte Anderer, 61 S.W.3d 398 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001)  PDF Document PDF Document
Ex parte Clear, 573 S.W.2d 224 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978)  PDF Document PDF Document
Ex parte Deaton, 582 S.W.2d 151 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979)  PDF Document PDF Document
Ex parte King, 613 S.W. 2d 503 (Tex. Crim. App. 1981)  PDF Document PDF Document
Ex parte Rodriguez, 583 S.W.2d 792 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979)  PDF Document PDF Document
Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103 (1975)  PDF Document PDF Document
Gilbert v. State 493 S.W.2d 783 (Tex. Crim. App. 1973)  PDF Document PDF Document
Guerra v. Garza, 987 S.W.2d 593 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999)  PDF Document PDF Document
Guzman v. State, 955 S.W.2d 85 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997)  PDF Document PDF Document
Jones v. State, 803 S.W.2d 712 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991)  PDF Document PDF Document
Meador v. State, 780 S.W.2d 836 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1989, no pet.)       PDF Document PDF Document
Phillips v. State, 77 S.W.3d 465 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, no pet.)  PDF Document PDF Document
Rothgery v. Gillespie Cnty., 554 U.S. 191 (2008)  PDF Document PDF Document
Upjohn Co. v. Freeman, 847 S.W.2d 589 (Tex. App.—Dallas 1992, no writ) PDF Document PDF Document
Watson v. State, 762 S.W.2d 591 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988)  PDF Document PDF  Document
White v. State, 930 S.W.2d 673 (Tex. App.—Waco 1996, no pet.)  PDF Document

PDF Document

 
 
Warrants & Writs Summary Full Case
Adkins v. State, 717 S.W.2d 363 (Tex. Crim. App. 1986)  PDF Document PDF Document
Camara v. S.F. Mun. Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967)  PDF Document PDF Document
Ex parte Clear, 573 S.W.2d 224 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978)  PDF Document PDF Document
Ex parte Hannington, 832 S.W.2d 355 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992)                                    PDF Document PDF Document
Ex parte Minjares, 582 S.W.2d 105 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978)  PDF Document PDF Document
Gilbert v. State, 493 S.W.2d 783 (Tex. Crim. App. 1973)  PDF Document PDF Document
Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983)  PDF Document PDF Document
Lagrone v. State, 742 S.W.2d 659 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987)  PDF Document PDF Document
Schmidt v. State, 659 S.W.2d 420 (Tex. Crim. App. 1983)  PDF Document PDF Document
Sharp v. State, 677 S.W.2d 513 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984)  PDF Document PDF Document
Tate v. Short, 401 U.S. 395 (1971)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Wetherby v. State, 482 S.W.2d 852 (Tex. Crim. App. 1972)  PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
Defendants Summary Full Case
Ex parte Super, 175 S.W. 697 (Tex. Crim. App. 1915)  PDF Document PDF Document
Illinois v. Allen, 397 U.S. 337 (1970)  PDF Document PDF Document
United States v. Wilhelm, 570 F.2d 461 (3d Cir. 1978)  PDF Document PDF Document
Williams v. State, 549 S.W.2d 183 (Tex. Crim. App. 1977)                                        PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
Appearance & Dismissal Summary Full Case
Warr v. State, 591 S.W.2d 832 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979)                                            PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
 Pleas Summary Full Case
Empy v. State, 571 S.W.2d 526 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978)  PDF Document PDF Document
State v. Jiminez, 987 S.W.2d 886 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999)                                         PDF Document PDF Document

Tatum v. State, 861 S.W.2d 27 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.]       

1993, pet. ref’d)

 PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
Pretrial Proceedings Summary Full Case
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Brendlin v. California, 551 U.S. 249 (2007)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162 (1975)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Ex parte Ellis, 275 S.W.3d 109 (Tex. App.—Austin 2008, no pet.)  PDF Document PDF Document
Gaal v. State, 332 S.W.3d 448 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011)  PDF Document PDF Document
James v. State, 563 S.W.2d 599 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978)  PDF Document PDF Document
Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Kindley v. State, 879 S.W.2d 261 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1994, no pet.)       PDF Document PDF Document
McDaniel v. State, 98 S.W.3d 704 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003)  PDF Document PDF Document
Meshell v. State, 739 S.W.2d 246 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987)  PDF Document PDF Document
Mich. Dep’t of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Quinones v. State, 592 S.W.2d 933 (Tex. Crim. App. 1980)  PDF Document PDF Document
Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128 (1978)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Sanchez v. State, 138 S.W.3d 324 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004)  PDF Document PDF Document
State v. Johnson, 821 S.W.2d 609 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991)  PDF Document PDF Document
Taylor v. State, 612 S.W.2d 566 (Tex. Crim. App. 1981)  PDF Document PDF Document
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471 (1963)  PDF Document  PDF Document
 
 
Trial Proceedings Summary Full Case
Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492 (1896)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Brown v. State, 870 S.W.2d 53 (Tex. Crim. App. 1994)  PDF Document PDF Document
Butler v. State, 830 S.W.2d 125 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992)  PDF Document PDF Document
State ex rel Curry v. Bowman, 885 S.W.2d 421 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993)  PDF Document PDF Document
Geesa v. State, 820 S.W.2d 154 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991)  PDF Document PDF Document
Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42 (1993)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Hill v. State, 827 S.W.2d 860 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990)  PDF Document PDF Document
J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel T.B., 511 U.S. 127 (1994)  PDF Document  PDF Document
Lewis v. State, 779 S.W.2d 449 (Tex. App.—Tyler 1989, pet. ref’d)  PDF Document PDF Document
Linscomb v. State, 829 S.W.2d 164 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992)  PDF Document PDF Document
Moore v. State, 874 S.W.2d 671 (Tex. Crim. App. 1994)  PDF Document PDF Document
Paulson v. State, 28 S.W.3d 570 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000)  PDF Document PDF Document
Prosper v. State, 788 S.W.2d 625 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1990, pet. ref’d)    PDF Document PDF Document
Salazar v. State, 795 S.W.2d 187 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990)  PDF Document PDF Document
Tompkins v. State, 774 S.W.2d 195 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987)  PDF Document PDF Document
Vosberg v. State, 80 S.W.3d 320 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2002, pet. ref’d)  PDF Document PDF Document
Williams v. State, 719 S.W.2d 573 (Tex. Crim. App. 1986)  PDF Document PDF Document
Williams v. State, 767 S.W.2d 872 (Tex. App.—Dallas 1989, pet. ref’d)  PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
Sentencing Summary Full Case
Ex parte Hannington, 832 S.W.2d 355 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992)                                    PDF Document PDF Document
Tate v. Short, 401 U.S. 395 (1971)  PDF Document  PDF Document
 
 
Bonds Summary Full Case
Alvarez v. State, 861 S.W.2d 878 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992)  PDF Document PDF Document
Browne v. State, 268 S.W.2d 131 (Tex. Crim. App. 1954)  PDF Document PDF Document

Burns v. State, 814 S.W.2d 768 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist] 1991),

rev’d on other grounds, 861 S.W.2d 878 (Tex Crim. App. 1992)

 PDF Document PDF Document
Dees v. State, 865 S.W.2d 461 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993)  PDF Document PDF Document
James v. State, 413 S.W.2d 111 (Tex. Crim. App. 1967)                                           PDF Document PDF Document

Villarreal v. State, 826 S.W.2d 621 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1992,

pet. ref’d)

 PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
New Trials & Appeals Summary Full Case
[no cases]                                                                                                           
 
 
Ordinances Summary Full Case
Aguirre v. State, 22 S.W.3d 463 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999)  PDF Document PDF Document
State v. Morales, 869 S.W.2d 941 (Tex. 1994)  PDF Document PDF Document
Treadgill v. State, 275 S.W.2d 658 (Tex. Crim. App. 1955)                                       PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
Oaths Summary Full Case
Naff v. State, 946 S.W.2d 529 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 1997, no pet.)                         PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
Juvenile Proceedings Summary Full Case
Ex parte Powell, 883 S.W.2d 775 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 1994, no pet.) PDF Document PDF Document
In re H.V., 179 S.W.3d 746 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2005), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, 252 S.W.3d 319 (Tex. 2008)  PDF Document PDF Document
 
 
Contempt Summary Full Case
Ex parte Aldridge, 334 S.W.2d 161 (Tex. Crim. App. 1959)  PDF Document  
Ex parte Avila, 659 S.W.2d 443 (Tex. Crim. App. 1983)  PDF Document  
Ex parte Barnett, 600 S.W.2d 252 (Tex. 1980)  PDF Document  
Ex parte Chambers, 898 S.W.2d 257 (Tex. 1995)  PDF Document  
Ex parte Cooper, 657 S.W.2d 435 (Tex. Crim. App. 1983)  PDF Document  
Ex parte Crenshaw, 259 S.W. 587 (Tex. Crim. App. 1924)  PDF Document