State grants Medina County its own judicial district

Medina County will become Judicial District 454 when Senate Bill 891 goes into effect on Sept. 1 of this year.
SB 891, which was passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year and recently signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, created Judicial District 454, which will handle felony and civil cases and be served by both a criminal district attorney and a district judge.
Both positions will initially be appointed by Abbott to serve one term before being subject to re-election by county residents.
Medina County is currently part of the 38th Judicial District, which also includes Uvalde and Real Counties. The person appointed as the 454th’s criminal DA will also serve the 38th Judicial District until Dec. 31, 2020.
Abbott will appoint an attorney from Uvalde County to take over for the 38th Judicial District beginning Jan. 1, 2021, leaving the 454th’s criminal DA responsible for just that district.
Additionally, SB 891 abolishes the county attorney’s office, an elected position currently held by Kim Havel, though it allows Havel to complete her term in office through Dec. 31, 2020.
A criminal district attorney’s office for the 454th Judicial District will be established on Jan. 1, 2021, and will take over the county attorney’s responsibilities, which includes the prosecution of Class A, B, and C misdemeanors and juvenile cases.
Medina County currently contributes $100,000 per quarter to the 38th Judicial District. In a Nov. 2018 Commissioners Court meeting, County Judge Chris Schuchart estimated that the county will save around $178,000 with the creation of its own judicial district and the consolidation of the county attorney’s office with the criminal DA’s office.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer