Revision and Recodification of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Concerning the Jury Charge
80 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2015 Last revised: 11 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2000
The primary purpose of this article is to discuss and explain why the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure concerning the trial court's charge to the jury should be replaced by a new set of procedural rules initially developed by a Jury Charge Task Force appointed by the Texas Supreme Court in 1991. As seminared, amended, and recommended for adoption to the Texas Supreme Court by the Supreme Court Advisory Committee in 1996, these proposed rules, or comparable ones,should be promulgated by the Texas Supreme Court. Revision of the jury charge rules is desirable because the procedures for preserving complaints about the court's proposed charge are unsatisfactory and inconsistent with current standards for submitting cases to juries. More significantly, the main focus of the existing rules concerning the methods for making charge complaints is on the technical sufficiency of a complaint to preserve a party's complaint for appellate review, rather than providing trial judges with reasonable guidance in fashioning the jury charge. The method in which charge complaints are presented, in whatever form, should be sufficiently specific to apprise the trial court of the charge problem and to enable trial judges to prepare proper jury charges, not merely to lay the basis for an appeal. Reinterpretation of the existing rules during the last decade has eliminated some problems, but the current rules, even as reinterpreted in a common-sense manner, are unworkable as well as philosophically wrongheaded.
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