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Supreme Court

Texas Supreme Court

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The Texas Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction in most civil and juvenile cases. It also has the authority to conduct proceedings for the removal or involuntary retirement of state judges; supervises State Bar operations; promulgates rules and regulations for the discipline, supervision, and disbarment of lawyers; and has supervisory and administrative control over the judicial branch. The records consist of case files, applications, opinions, dockets, indexes, registers, and minutes covering the period 1840-2004. Also present are the records of the Texas Commission of Appeals, consisting of opinions, dockets, and minutes, dating 1879-1892, 1918-1943. A portion of these materials has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive (TDA).

Only those series with digitized records are in the TDA. For a complete inventory of the Supreme Court records see the online finding aid.

Case Files | Indexes and Registers | Dockets


Texas Supreme Court: Case files, 1840-2004

Creator: Texas. Supreme Court
Title: Supreme Court Case files
Dates: 1840-2004
Abstract: The files consist of two distinct groups of files, the circuit court-era or M files, 1840-1892, and case files from 1893-2004. As of 2017, case files for 2005 forward are held by the Texas Supreme Court. Types of materials present in these case files include original petitions (briefs, appeals), original indictments (criminal cases only for the early years), transcripts of proceedings from the district court, bills of exception, agreements, demurrer and answer, supplemental answers, statements of facts, testimony, judgments, motions, petitions and/or bonds for writ of error, citations in error, assignments of error, sheriffs’ returns, certifications of costs, waivers of service, precepts, motions for rehearing, applications for extensions of time, certification of costs, and opinions of the lower court. The M case files have been partially digitized and are available in the TDA.

M case files, about 1840-1892, 680.08 cubic ft. – Records are M case files of the Texas Supreme Court dating 1840-1892, representing the circuit court era. Records include original petitions (briefs, appeals), original indictments (criminal cases only for the early years), transcripts of proceedings from the district court, bills of exception, agreements, demurrer and answer, supplemental answers, statements of facts, testimony, judgments, motions, petitions and/or bonds for writ of error, citations in error, assignments of error, sheriffs’ returns, certifications of costs, waivers of service, precepts, motions for rehearing, applications for extensions of time, certification of costs, and opinions of the lower court.

Note: Digitization of the M case files is an ongoing process, and new cases are added regularly. If the M case file you are seeking is not currently available in the TDA, you may contact ref@tsl.texas.gov to inquire on the digitization status.

A customized search page has been created to facilitate access to these records.

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Texas Supreme Court: Indexes and registers, 1840-1995

Creator: Texas. Supreme Court
Title: Supreme Court Indexes and registers
Dates: 1840-1995
Abstract: Records are indexes and registers of the Texas Supreme Court, dating 1840-1995. The indexes provide access to both the case files and the dockets. The best access to the circuit court-era cases (about 1843 to 1892) is through the M case file card index. The 1890s case file card index provides access to no prefix case files (1893-1943) from 1893 to 1898.

Only the M case files direct and reverse index and the 1890s case files direct and reverse index have been digitized. See the online finding aid for information about additional indexes and registers.

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Click on the links below to access the digitized indexes

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Texas Supreme Court: Dockets, 1840-1980

Creator: Texas. Supreme Court
Title: Supreme Court Dockets
Dates: 1840-1995
Abstract: Records are dockets of the Texas Supreme Court and the Commission of Appeals, dating 1840-1980. Dockets function as a brief entry of the court proceedings, with some also serving as a calendar of cases awaiting action in court. The State Archives has dockets from 1840 to 1980; dockets after that period are at the Supreme Court. Dockets of the circuit court period (1840-1892) consist of court dockets, bar dockets, a motion docket, and a docket of criminal cases. The court dockets (referred to as “dockets”) are the most numerous and contain the case or application number, attorneys, parties, county, filing dates, and orders, both of the previous term and present term in many cases. Dates of these dockets reflect the court terms, not the filing date of a case. The docket volumes, except for the first few, cover only a particular geographical term of the court (Austin, Galveston, or Tyler), sometimes covering more than one year. The later dockets of the Supreme Court, 1892-1980, consist of application dockets, 1892-1943; court dockets, 1893-1944; motion dockets, 1893-1947; referred application dockets, 1917-1918; general case dockets, 1913-1920; file dockets, 1944-1980; docket sheets, 1944-1980; and a chambers docket, 1971-1973. The court dockets and the file dockets are useful tools for locating case files in this era.

Only the Supreme Court dockets (circuit court period), 1840-1892, have been digitized and are part of the TDA.

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