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MyraB, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 371
Experience:  I have over 20 years experience in criminal law and civil litigation from pre-trial practice to appeal.
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To Myra B- I just read your answers to someone regarding Rooker-Feldman.

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To Myra B- I just read your answers to someone regarding Rooker-Feldman. In my own federal case, the defendants brought that up several times. However, there is a Rule in my state's Government Code saying that in my county and two others, the county court may not hear civil cases, other than juvenile and probate. I was prosecuted by the county in JP court under a criminal docket number and assumed it was criminal; even was represented by a public defender. But it turned out to be civil after all, and the appeal was channeled to the county court, despite no jurisdiction. I've explained all this and asked the federal court to declare that judgment void ab initio. Instead, the court is going along with the defendants' Rooker Feldman arguments and claims that the county court judgment cannot be collaterally attacked. Yet if it's void, the law says it may be attacked at any time and in any court. How do I get the judge to wake up and take notice of this? Other motions for the court to take judicial notice have gone ignored.
Hello and thank you for your question.

A coherent and persuasive argument that the issue of whether a state court lacked subject matter jurisdiction such that the state court judgment is void and is subject to collateral attack in the Federal court can be found here
See argument starting on p. 18. (Unfortunately the Petition for Writ of Certiorari was denied).

Please feel free to ask any follow up questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Here's the government code that makes the county court's civil judgment void. I'm X'ing out the actual county name and sec. numbers to keep it anonymous...


Sec. xxxx COUNTY. The County Court of xxxx County has the general jurisdiction of a probate court, general criminal jurisdiction, and juvenile jurisdiction as provided by Section but has no other civil jurisdiction.

Thanks for one more very informative answer!

Thank you for your response.

The section you cite appears to be clear that there is no subject matter jurisdiction in that county court other than that specifically mentioned to hear cases at the trial court level. However, your facts state that the appeal was channeled to the county court. The county court may have separate appellate jurisdiction under a separate statute. See discussion of county court jurisdiction here

Therefore, you may want to check on whether there is a separate statute that mentions appellate jurisdiction for JP cases in that county court.

Let me know if you need any further information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

In your link is the line, under Constitutional County Courts: "These courts usually have appellate jurisdiction in cases appealed from justice of the peace and municipal courts, except in counties where county courts at law have been established." And that would probably apply. However, the catchword there is "usually," and it's my understanding that since this particular Gov. Code (Ch. 26) refers to this specific county, it takes precedence over other rules and laws assigning jurisdiction to the county courts in general. Is this arguable?

Thank you for your response.

Yes, generally specific statutes will trump more general statutes. So, if there is a specific statute that deals with the jurisdiction of that particular county court then that statute would prevail over the more general statute dealing with the jurisdiction of the county courts or county courts at law. My concern was that the specific statute might be interpreted to apply only to limit the county court's jurisdiction as a trial court, and would not affect its authority as an appellate court. I was just alerting you to a possible argument that the opposing party could make based on the information you provided, and suggesting you might want to look further into whether that specific section also applies to the county court's ability to hear appeals.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I understand. Don't think I'm angry with you! It's obvious who's side you are on here, and I realize the need to sometimes play devil's advocate! lol! I appreciate knowing what the other side may try, and if it's at all possible, I'm sure they will! This is something I need to keep plugging away at, because so far the opposition and the judge have totally ignored and simply refused to address anything I've said about it. -Leads me to suspect they know I have a point there and hope it'll be forgotten or swept aside! Otherwise, the opposition attorneys would have jumped on it as frivolous.

It sounds like you're keeping on top of things.

As an aside, I used to be a law clerk in the Superior Court in Massachusetts, basically a research assistant for judges. Sometimes a judge would be dismissive of a pro se litigant in favor of an attorney on the other side who was supposed to know the law. I remember once where a plaintiff was arguing that his First Amendment rights had been violated because the city council wouldn't let him speak at their meetings. The city tried to poke fun and say he was making a federal issue out of not being able to talk at a meeting, like it was no big deal. The judge was leaning towards denying the plaintiff relief because really it seemed like such a small thing and that he was using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. After I looked into it, I told the judge that the Plaintiff was right. There was no basis for the city council to deny him the right to speak, if others could speak, because they didn't like what he had to say. In the end the judge ruled in the Plaintiff's favor much to the surprise of the city's attorney who by the end of the hearing had thought the judge was his best friend.

The morale is: you do have to keep plugging and do what you can and do what's right and hope that those who are given the authority to make decisions about your life and your rights do their job. And don't let lawyers or even judges tell you that you don't know what's right.

Sorry to go on, but I do admire people who fight for what they think is right. I wish you well. If you have any other questions, let me know.
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