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    Civil Glossary


    • AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE - A sworn, notarized document attesting to the fact that a process was delivered by an officer. Normally utilized to accompany an out-of-state process return as constables are not sworn, except in the State of Texas.

    • ATTACHMENT - A writ issued by a court of competent jurisdiction for securing property or persons and to keep same subject to further orders of the issuing court. Usually a pre-judgment writ.

    • BOND - A written instrument binding the parties to pay a fixed sum as a penalty or surety guaranteeing appearance of persons or possession of property. May be conditioned to avoid payment of penalty by performance of certain acts.

    • CAPIAS - The general name for several species of writs, which commands the officer to take a named defendant into custody.

    • CERTIORARI - A writ which commands a lower court to send all records about a particular case to a higher court.

    • DISTRESS WARRANT - A writ issued by a Justice of the Peace directing the seizure of a commercial tenant's property for failure to pay rent as due.

    • EXECUTION - A writ issued by a court of competent jurisdiction commanding a constable to take property of a defendant in satisfaction of a previous judgment rendered by the issuing court. Normally the property is sold at a constable sale and the proceeds are utilized to satisfy and judgment

    • EX PARTE PROTECTIVE ORDER (TEMPORARY) - An order issued by a family court (district or county) to prohibit a defendant from certain acts, including further family violence, and to appear in court on a certain date and time. May include an order directing a law enforcement officer to inform a defendant to vacate a premises. It is enforceable only by contempt proceedings.

    • FORCIBLE ENTRY & AND DETAINER (EVICTION) - A citation issued by a Justice of the Peace Court, based upon a complaint, to bring suit against a tenant, who has forcibly entered or detained possession of realty and has refused to vacate the same.

    • GARNISHMENT - A writ issued by a court of competent jurisdiction commanding the garnishee not to deliver specific property in their possession to the defendant. Plaintiff's remedy to obtain possession of the defendant's property in possession of a third party.

    • HABEAS CORPUS - A variety of writs utilized to bring a person(s) before the court or judge to determine if they are being lawfully restrained or imprisoned of their liberty.

    • INJUCTION - A writ issued by a court which demands or prohibits specified actions.

    • LEVY - To collect, gather, take up, seize or execute on monies, real or personal property under a lawfully issued writ.

    • MANDAMUS - A writ issued from a court of competent jurisdiction commanding performance of a specific duty which the relator is entitled to have performed.

    • NOTICE - A process issued by a court to a defendant or other party notifing them of a specific date and time for a hearing

    • ORDER OF SALE - A writ issued by a court of competent jurisdiction ordering specific real or personal property to be sold by a sheriff or constable in the same manner as in execution. Exempt property statutes do not apply to property listed within an Order of Sale.

    • ORDER OF SALE IN TAX SUITS - Real property decreed to be sold in satisfaction of tax judgments against property. The officer shall follow specific rules in conducting the sale according to the Texas Tax Code

    • PETITION - A document filed by the plaintiff with the clerk of the court that outlines the basis of the complaint against the defendant and the relief being sought form the court.

    • POSSESSION - A writ issued by a court of competent jurisdiction commanding a constable to evict a person(s) and/or their property from a specified premises. Normally the result of an eviction suit.

    • PROTECTIVE ORDER - An order issued by a family court (district or county court) to order the protection of a family member against further family violence. It is criminally enforceable under Section 25.074 of the Texas Penal Code

    • RECEIVER - A ministerial officer, agent and temporary occupant and caretaker of the property who represents the court by which they are appointed and is the medium through which the court acts.

    • REENTRY - A writ issued by a justice of the peace commanding an officer to put a tenant that has been illegally locked out by a landlord, back into possession of a premises.

    • REPLEVY BOND - A bond executed to indemnify a defendant or plaintiff that complies with the court's written order specifying the dollar amount in order to redeliver property taken under another writ. Accepted and approved by the officer in custody of the property which is then released

    • RETURN - The endorsement by an officer upon a process stating what, where, how and to whom, service and compliance of the commands within the process were made.

    • SCIRE FACIAS - A process issued directing a debtor to appear and show cause as to why a dormant judgment against debtor should not be revived.

    • SEQUESTRATION - A writ issued to an officer commanding the officer to seize specific property of a defendant and keep same subject to further order of the issuing court, unless replevied. It is a prejudgment writ and is usually accompanied by a citation for the defendant.

    • SHOW CAUSE - An order issued to a party to appear as directed and present to the court reasons or considerations why a particular order or decree should not be acted upon. Usually instituted by the plaintiff upon the defendant to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for failure to follow previously issued order(s).

    • SUBPOENA - A process to cause a witness to appear and give testimony, at a specified place and time. Can be issued from a court or by an attorney.

    • SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM - A subpoena that directs a witness to product items on a specific date and time and to bring any document or other item desired as evidence.

    • SUMMONS - An order to appear in court issued to a defendant by the court.

    • SUPERDEAS - A writ containing a command to stay the proceedings at law. Normally used to stop and postpone an execution levy.

    • TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER - Issued by a court to a defendant restraining them from doing or prohibiting certain acts. It is date-sensitive and has a hearing date commanding appearance no more than 14 days from date of issuance. It is enforceable by the court only by a contempt proceeding.

    • TRIAL OF RIGHT - A process utilized by a third party (not a party to the suit) claiming an interest in personal property that was levied upon or removed under a distress warrant, execution, sequestration, attachment, possession or other like writ. A hearing is held and no property shall be delivered to the claimant, except upon written order of the court after being hearing.

    • TURNOVER ORDER - An order issued by the court to be delivered to the defendant ordering the defendant to turn over specified non-exempt property to a designated sheriff, constable or the registry of the court. It is a post-judgment writ and is utilized as a tool to retrieve property that cannot ordinarily be reached under execution. It is enforceable by the court by a contempt proceeding.





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    100 E. Weatherford, Fort Worth, Texas 76196