Donley County Criminal Court

Donley County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Donley County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Donley County.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Donley County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Donley County Criminal Court

Donley County Criminal Court

Appealing a guilty verdict

A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.

Who is the prosecutor for Donley County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Donley County criminal cases will either be a representative of Donley County or a representative from Texas. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.

Donley County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Donley County will take place at the Donley County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Donley County Criminal Court Locations.

Arraignments in Donley County

During an arraignment in Donley County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Donley County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Donley County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.

Donley County Required Court Appearances

In Donley County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Where can I get help for my Donley County criminal case?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Donley County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Donley County Criminal Court Locations

  • Donley County 100th District Court

    Address: 300 S Sully St, PO Drawer U, Clarendon TX 79226
    Phone: 806-874-3436 Fax: 806-874-3351

  • Donley County Constitutional Court

    Address: 300 S Sully St, PO Drawer U, Clarendon TX 79226
    Phone: 806-874-3436 Fax: 806-874-3351

  • Donley County Justice of the Peace Precincts 1 & 2

    Address: 314 S Sully St, PO Box 828, Clarendon TX 79226
    Phone: 806-874-2016 Fax: 806-874-9057

  • Donley County Justice of the Peace Precincts 3 & 4

    Address: Main St, PO Box 62, Hedley TX 79237
    Phone: 806-856-5914 Fax: 806-856-0017

  • Clarendon Municipal Court

    Address: PO Box 843, Clarendon, TX 79226
    Phone: 806-874-1448

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