Fall Judicial Education Session

November 17 - 20, 2020

Virtual Conference

The well-being and safety of TAC’s members is our first priority. In responding to calls for slowing the spread of COVID-19, we have transformed the Fall Judicial Education Session into a virtual event.

Online registration has closed.

The Fall Judicial Education Session of the Texas Judicial Academy will give judges an excellent opportunity to safely learn and connect with judges from across the state. The County Judges Education Advisory Committee has specifically designed the curriculum and discussion points for current constitutional judges. The curriculum addresses new issues, reviews core topics, and offers insights to new programs being used around the state.

Accessing the Virtual Event
Once judges have registered for the Fall Judicial Education Session, a confirmation from TAC will be emailed. A few days before the start of the conference, a personalized email from Accelevents with the access link will be sent to each registered attendee.

Attendees will need to access the internet to join the virtual conference. While almost all internet browsers should allow the access to the conference, Google Chrome is the preferred browser for the best virtual experience. Internet Explorer is not a supported browser and Accelevents will not work in Internet Explorer.
Who Should Attend
County Judges
Conference registration is $50.
Registration fees are voluntary and used for expenses that are unallowable or are insufficiently covered by the Judicial and Court Personnel Training Fund Grant. This includes speaker fees, materials, meals, and social activities. Fees collected are deposited to a fund held for county judge education within the general revenue funds for the Texas Association of Counties.

County Judges Education Advisory Committee
Hon. Becky Wilbanks, Chair, Cass County Judge
Hon. Mark Allen, Jasper County Judge
Hon. Don Allred, Oldham County Judge
Hon. Brett Bray, Blanco County Judge
Hon. Ronnie J. Gordon, Hartley County Judge
Hon. Woodrow “Woody” Gossom, Jr., Wichita County Judge
Hon. Justin Lewis, Hill County Judge
Hon. Francisco Ponce, Dimmit County Judge
Hon. Byron Ryder, Leon County Judge
Hon. Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Judge
Ms. Jamie Baker, Associate Dean and Director of the Law Library, Texas Tech University School of Law Library (ex-officio)
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Civil Overview
11:30 a.m. Accelevents Opens
Noon-12:10 p.m. Call to Order and Introductions

Speaker: Hon. Susan M. Redford, Executive Director, Texas Association of Counties

12:10-1:10 p.m. Recusals and Judicial Discretion

As a judge, the ability to exercise discretion in the courtroom remains critical in Texas. This session will review the areas where a judge may and should exercise judicial discretion and offer guidance on when recusal is appropriate.

Speaker: Hon. Sue M. Kurita, Judge, El Paso County Court-at-Law No. 6

1:10-1:20 p.m. Break
1:20-2:20 p.m. Juvenile Law

This session will provide a basic discussion of state juvenile law and give an overview of the path that a juvenile case takes from detention through disposition.

Speaker: Hon. Stephanie Davis, Comanche County Judge

2:20-2:30 p.m. Break
2:30-3:30 p.m. Pesky Problems in Probate

While the area of probate and estates is generally a land mine for the unwary, several particularly pesky issues seem to crop up regularly.

Speaker: Mr. Gus Tamborello, Attorney, Gus G. Tamborello, P.C.

3:30-3:40 p.m. Break
3:40-4:40 p.m. Appeals de Novo: New Issues and Considerations

This course will review the requirements for a case to be appealed from justice court and the procedure for handling them once it is received and under the jurisdiction of the constitutional county court.

Speaker: Ms. Thea Whalen, Executive Director, Texas Justice Court Training Center

Wednesday, Nov. 18
Daily Discretional Dilemmas in Criminal Cases and DWIs
11:30 a.m. Accelevents Opens
Noon-1 p.m. Suppression Hearings

This session will discuss suppression hearings from beginning to end, including burden of proof, searches and seizures, and special considerations in DWI cases, as well as motions, notice and related pretrial matters.

Speaker: Hon. Deborah Earley, Blanco County Attorney

1-1:10 p.m. Break
1:10-2:10 p.m. Evidence, Specifically Relevance

County judges, when faced with evidentiary decisions in criminal and civil cases, will acquire information to assist them in distinguishing proper evidence, objections and analysis to determine relevance, admission and weight of evidence.

Speaker: Hon. Alan Bristol, County Relations Officer, TAC

2:10-2:20 p.m. Break
2:20-3:20 p.m. Indigent Defense

This session is an introduction to the right to counsel for those who are charged with crimes and unable to afford to hire their own attorney. It will include an overview of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission's grant and monitoring programs, the Texas Fair Defense Act and key requirements of compliance for county judges in regard to indigent defendants.

Speaker: Mr. Scott Ehlers, Director of Public Defense Improvement, Texas Indigent Defense Commission

3:20-3:30 p.m. Break
3:30-4:30 p.m. DWI Case Law Update

This session will provide an update of recent legislation affecting the prosecution and defense in driving while intoxicated cases, which are a major portion of criminal misdemeanor dockets in county courts.

Speaker: Ms. Jessica Frazier, Chief Civil Prosecutor, Comal County

Thursday, Nov. 19
Probate, Guardianship, and Mental Health
11:30 a.m. Accelevents Open
Noon-1 p.m. Guardianships

This session will cover substantive and procedural special issues that arise in guardianship cases and examine matters such as service, standing, mental health issues, bonds, Adult Protective Services (APS) investigations, wards, reporting and compliance issues, and complications that arise from removal or withdrawal of guardians.

Speaker: Hon. Justin Lewis, Hill County Judge

1-1:10 p.m. Break
1:10-2:10 p.m. Probating a Will in Texas​

This session will provide an overview of property transmission upon death with a will in Texas, the requirements of a valid will under state law and the role of the judge in the process.

Speaker: Hon. Mary Cunningham, Judicial Program Manager, TAC

2:10-2:20 p.m. Break
2:20-3:20 p.m. Alternatives to Probate

There are a number of alternatives to the probate process that can be used in certain situations. This session will review muniments of title, small estate affidavits and other less common alternatives.

Speaker: Hon. Susan M. Redford, Executive Director, TAC

3:20-3:30 p.m. Break
3:30-4:30 p.m. Emergency Detention Orders and Orders of Protection

This session will assist judges to better understand the roles of emergency detention orders and orders of protective custody, as well as discuss special considerations in mental health cases.

Speaker: Hon. Nathaniel Moran, Smith County Judge

Friday, Nov. 20
General Judicial Management
8:00 a.m. Accelevents Open
8:30-9:30 a.m. Ethical Dilemmas for Judges

This session will review specific and recurring issues facing judges and considerations for ensuring compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Speaker: Hon. Tramer Woytek, Judicial Resource Liaison, TAC

9:30-9:40 a.m. Break
9:40-10:40 a.m. Efficient Docket Management

This session will address concerns and offer suggestions for judges in managing dockets efficiently, maximizing court staff time, effectively protecting the integrity of court proceedings and dealing with common challenges in court.

Speaker: Hon. Robert Newsom, Hopkins County Judge

10:40-10:50 a.m. Break
10:50-11:50 a.m. Bonds: Conditions and Forfeitures

This session will discuss concerns surrounding proper bonds, types and conditions of those bonds, and the effects of bond forfeitures.

Speakers: Hon. Jerry Bearden, Mason County Judge
Hon. Brett Bray, Blanco County Judge
Hon. Tramer Woytek, Judicial Resource Liaison, TAC
11:50 a.m.-noon Break
Noon-1 p.m. Great Expectations: Looking Forward to the 87th Legislative Session

This session will provide an overview of expectations for the 87th legislative session and will include discussion of the issues and special concerns that may affect county courts, commissioners courts and county budgets.

Speakers: Mr. Noe Barrios, Director of Legislative Services, TAC
Mr. Rick Thompson, Legislative Consultant, TAC
1 p.m. Adjourn
The Fall Judicial Education Session provides 16 hours of judicial education credit for constitutional county judges. Application is pending with the State Bar of Texas for MCLE credit for attorneys.
The information presented at the Fall Judicial Education Session will be available for viewing for the duration of the conference. Recordings and videos will not be accessible after 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20.
All conference registration refund requests must be received in writing on or before Nov. 13 to receive a full refund. Please send an email to Regan Frugé at reganf@county.org or fax notice of your cancellation to (512) 477-1324.
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