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    Courtroom Conduct

    JUDGE JERRY HENNIGAN, DISTRICT JUDGE
     

    8 A.M. MONDAY-FRIDAY UNCONTESTED HEARINGS/PROVE UPS

    All uncontested/agreed matters in which there is attorney representation -- including but not limited to divorces, terminations and adoptions, final agreed modifications, change of name and motions to withdraw -- are heard beginning at 8 a.m. on a first come first served basis.  You do NOT have to call the coordinator to schedule the date.  If you are proving up an uncontested termination/adoption, please call the clerk before 4 p.m. the day before you plan on appearing.  The clerk will take the file to the courtroom.

    All Pro Se parties should refer to the instructions sheet you are given at the time of filing or the pro se link.  All “prove ups” for Pro Se parties are conducted at 8:15 a.m.  Those parties are required to make appointments for the “prove ups” with the clerk of the 324th District Court.

    MOTIONS TO WITHDRAW AS ATTORNEY OF RECORD:

    Motions to withdraw are NOT set by the coordinator.  The attorney is to notify the client of the date and time the motion will be presented to the court.  Please set the hearing so as to allow sufficient time for proof of notice to the client.  Those hearings are held at 8:30 a.m.

    9 A.M.   MONDAY-FRIDAY   JUDGE’S DOCKET

    Final contested trials, de novo hearings, motions and all other matters not referred to the associate judge will be heard beginning at 9 a.m. until the docket is completed.   A motion for pre-trial with a notice of hearing must be filed to set a final trial date.  Pre-trials are set on the Associate Judge’s docket. The pre-trial will be set for hearing and the deadlines and trial date will be set at that time.  ALL ATTORNEYS ARE TO BE PRESENT FOR THE PRE-TRIAL.  PLEASE TALK TO YOUR CLIENT BEFORE THE HEARING TO COORDINATE ALL VACATION DAYS.

    MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE FOR A FINAL CONTESTED TRIAL

    A MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE WITH A NOTICE OF HEARING MUST BE FILED AND SET FOR HEARING REGARDLESS OF AGREEMENTS BETWEEN OR AMONG COUNSEL.  PLEASE DO NOT SEND THE ORDER WITH THE MOTION.  THE ORDER IS NOT NECESSARY UNTIL THE HEARING.  IT SHOULD CONTAIN A BLANK LINE FOR THE NEW TRIAL DATE AND TIME IF IT IS GRANTED.  PLEASE DO NOT ASSUME THAT BECAUSE AN AGREED CONTINUANCE MOTION AND OR ORDER HAS BEEN FILED THAT IT WILL BE GRANTED.

    STATUS CONFERENCE

    A Status Conference will be set for any contested trial in which each party is represented by an attorney.   The conference will be set for 9 a.m. approximately 30 days prior to the trial date. The purpose of the status conference is for the Judge to confer with the attorneys as to the status of the case and to determine any issues that may delay the case or whether the case may be settled.  A status conference cannot be passed by agreement of the attorneys.   If a jury trial has been requested and the jury fee paid, a pre-trial hearing may also be set closer to trial time to hear any pre-trial motions and to discuss the status of the litigation.  The status conference as well as the pre-trial may not be passed by agreement of the attorneys.  

    MEDIATED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS (MSA)

    A case is subject to being placed on the dismissal docket if a Mediated Settlement Agreements (MSA) has been filed and the decree or motion to sign has not been filed within 30 days.

    AD LITEM APPOINTMENTS AFTER PUBLICATION

    Ad litems will be appointed after publication has been issued.  Please e-file your request or order to the clerk.   The appointments are made by a computer program.  Please do not take an order directly to the judge.  The party name being served should be on the motion.  Please make sure the attorney’s name is on the request.

    DRESS CODE

    Appropriate business attire for attorneys and their staff and clients is required.  No one will be allowed to do business with the Court wearing cutoffs, shorts, tank tops, swimwear, clothing depicting obscenity, house slippers, flip flops, halter tops, dirty clothing, micro-mini skirts, workout garments, plunging necklines, midriff shirts or similar clothing.  Attorneys are responsible for informing their clients of the Court’s dress code.

    CELL PHONES

    All mobile phones and pagers are to be turned off while in court.  Video or audio recording devices are not allowed in court.  Instructions as to telephones and electronic equipment are posted in the courtroom.   

    COURTROOM DEMEANOR

    No conferences are to be held in the courtroom while the Judge is on the bench.  No chewing gum is allowed.  Please keep noise down when the Judge is on the bench.  No food will be allowed in the courtroom.  No drinks other than bottled water are allowed in the courtroom.

    BRINGING CHILDREN TO COURT

    Children under the age of 18 are not to be brought to Court for any reason (except adoptions) without the prior order/approval of the court.  If the court grants a motion to confer with a child, the court will inform the appropriate party as to the day and time the child is to be brought to court.  A staff member from Tarrant County Family Court Services attends all conferences with children and the Associate Judge.

    EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS

    Judges are prohibited from communicating about cases with the litigants or their attorneys unless both sides are present.

    INTERPRETERS

    Parties and attorneys are responsible for providing a qualified interpreter if necessary unless a request is made to the court coordinator.  If a request is made to the coordinator, that request should be timely so as to allow the coordinator to find an available interpreter.  The Judge will decide at the hearing which party, if any, is to be responsible for paying the fees for the interpreter.

    DISMISSAL DOCKET

    If you receive a dismissal docket notice, please refer to and follow the specific instructions for the 324th Court.  Cases are not removed by telephone.  It is the responsibility of the attorney to contact the court coordinator concerning a case on the docket.  Regardless of what you file, if you do not contact the coordinator, the case may be dismissed.  This includes walking through a motion and order to retain that was not set for hearing and the coordinator was not notified.  Pre-trial motions are necessary only for contested cases.  Please make sure all parties have been served and/or an answer filed before filing the motion.  CASES THAT WERE HEARD AS A FINAL TRIAL, AND A FINAL DECREE OR ORDER HAS NOT BEEN SUBMITTED FOR SIGNATURE WILL BE PLACED ON A DISMISSAL DOCKET.  THE RENDITION WILL BE SET ASIDE AND THE CASE DISMISSED FOR WANT OF PROSECUTION IF THE DECREE IS NOT ENTERED.

    FAXES AND E-MAIL    

    All motions must be efiled through the District Clerk and not faxed or emailed directly to the court or coordinator other than those filed by a Pro Se party.  Please contact the file desk or the clerk of the court concerning any questions concerning efiling.

    TRANSCRIPTS

    The court reporter must be contacted concerning any request for a record.  Please have the date of the hearing and the case number when requesting.

    BETH POULOS, ASSOCIATE JUDGE
     

    All matters permitted by §54A.209 of the Texas Government Code and §201.104 of the Texas Family Code including, but not necessarily limited to, all pre-trial matters, Temporary Orders, Temporary Restraining Orders, Requests for Protective Orders, Writs of Habeas Corpus or Attachment, Enforcement Motions, Discovery Motions and Final Trials in which an Agreed Order for Referral to Associate Judge is signed by all attorneys and parties in the case.

    DRESS CODE

    Appropriate business attire for attorneys and their staff and clients is required.  No one will be allowed to do business with the Court wearing cutoffs, shorts, tank tops, swimwear, clothing depicting obscenity, house slippers, flip flops, halter tops, dirty clothing, micro-mini skirts, workout garments, plunging necklines, midriff shirts or similar clothing.  Attorneys are responsible for informing their clients of the Court’s dress code.

    SCHEDULE      

    Settings at 1:30 p.m. are available for lengthy hearings upon request.  All other cases are set for 8:30 a.m.   The docket will be called at 9 a.m.  Please check in with the court’s bailiff upon arrival.  Attorneys and parties are expected to appear on time for their settings.

    CELL PHONES

    All mobile phones and pagers will be completely turned off (not set on vibrate) while in court.   Video or audio recording devices are not allowed.

    CONTEMPT/ENFORCEMENTS –WEDNESDAY ONLY

    All contempts/enforcements will be set on Wednesday only.  The Court only provides a reporter on Wednesday for hearings conducted by the Associate Judge.  Anyone wishing to have a record taken by a court reporter is responsible for providing the reporter at their own expense.  Applications for a protective order filed by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office are heard each Wednesday in January and July.  The court reporter should be contacted for any transcript that is needed.

    PRE-TRIALS

    Pre-Trials are set mainly on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m.  Please check in with the bailiff of the court.  After both attorneys/pro se parties check in with the bailiff, a final trial date will be set by the court coordinator.  Please have your client’s vacation/business schedule with you as well as your own calendar when appearing for a pre-trial.  After the final trial date has been set, the Associate Judge will complete the form by setting the remaining deadline dates.  If a party is represented by an attorney, it is not necessary for the parties to attend pre-trial settings.  If one of the litigants is pro se, a date will not be set until after docket call.

    BRINGING CHILDREN TO COURT

    Children under the age of 18 are not to be brought to the Court for any reason (except adoptions) without the prior order/approval of the Associate Judge.  If the court grants a motion to confer with a child, the court coordinator will schedule the day and time the child is to appear.  A staff member from Tarrant County Family Court Services attends all conferences with children and the Associate Judge.