Smith County Criminal District Attorney’s Office - Civil Division
The Smith County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is created by Texas Government Code § 44.312. The office of Criminal District Attorney “has all the powers, duties, and privileges in Smith County that are conferred by law on county and district attorneys in the various counties and districts.” Tex. Gov’t Code § 44.312 (b). The Civil Division, serving at the direction of the Criminal District Attorney, performs all civil functions handled by a County Attorney. The Division is comprised of two full-time Assistant Criminal District Attorneys and one full time legal assistant.
The Civil Division is responsible for the representation of Smith County, its officials and employees in all County civil litigation and legal transactions. The Division represents the Smith County government, which is comprised of 28 elected officials, 14 departments, and over 940 employees. The Civil Division provides the following to Smith County:
- Advises County officials on legal questions that arise concerning their official duties. This includes attending each session of the Smith County Commissioners Court and advising that body. The division also represents County officials and employees pursuant to its statutory duties under Texas Local Government Code § 157.901.
- Per the Smith County Employee Handbook, the Civil Division assists and advises with employment questions and complaints arising within the County’s workforce.
- Reviews all contracts to which the County is a party. It also drafts and reviews all interlocal agreements between the County and other governmental entities.
- Handles lawsuits on behalf of the County, such as public nuisance cases for environmental matters, animal cruelty, dangerous dog claims, quarantine cases fined under the Texas Health and Safety Code; nuisance claims under Chapter 125 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code; and various other civil lawsuits involving Smith County.
- Handles insurance claims regarding automobile accidents involving County vehicles and other property damage claims involving County property.
- Provides legal assistance on all major County initiatives, such as the Smith County Uniform Truancy Plan. Also included are the County’s many capital projects such as the road plan, the animal shelter, and the jail expansion.
- All civil mental commitments before the Smith County Court are handled by the division.
- Responsible for all Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 59 Asset Forfeiture proceedings initiated by any law enforcement agency operating within the County.
- Handles and responds to all expunction and non-disclosure actions filed in both District and County Courts at Law in the County; the Division ensures compliance with orders for expunction and nondisclosures issued by the courts.
- Handles all bond-related matters, from serving as a representative member of the Smith County Bail Bond Board to handling bond forfeiture proceedings.
- Responds and coordinates with the Smith County Public Information Officer and County Administrator to appropriately address Public Information Requests sent to all Smith County Elected Officials and Departments.
The Civil Division of the Smith County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is legally and ethically prohibited from advising members of the public regarding private legal matters.