On November 2, 2004, the Honorable Oscar J. Hale, Jr., was elected by the citizens of Webb County to serve as only the second judge of the 406th Judicial District Court. Judge Hale took office on January 1, 2005. Judge Hale was re-elected to the bench on November 4, 2008, and will serve his second term through 2012.
The 406th District Court was created in 1999 by the Texas Legislature to serve the County of Webb. It was created as a special district court to give preference to cases involving domestic violence, cases under the Family Code and Health and Safety Code. The Court began operations in January of 2001.
Subsequently, the Board of Judges agreed to have the 406th District Court handle all the family law matters that were filed in the district court along with all of the protective orders.
Upon taking office in January 2005, Judge Hale agreed to handle all of the newly filed felony drug cases in order to help equalize the dockets of the district courts.
Also, in March 2005, Judge Hale impaneled the first Grand Jury for the 406th Judicial District Court. Consequently, this court now handles 100 percent of the felony drug cases and about 1/3 of the felony criminal cases, including all the newly filed child abuse cases and felony domestic violence cases.
The 406th District Court also handles 18% of the general civil cases filed in Webb County. Additionally, Judge Hale presides over family law matters including adoptions, divorces, parental terminations, and protective orders. Consequently, the 406th District Court currently has the busiest case load among the four district courts in Webb County.
By working with our state legislators during the 79th Legislative Session, Judge Hale was successful in expanding the jurisdiction of the 406th District Court to include concurrent jurisdiction with the county courts in certain areas.
The 406th District Court also handles misdemeanor cases and civil cases arising out of the Family Code or Health and Safety Code. Judge Hale was also successful in modifying the terms of Court for the 406th Judicial District Court.
Effective September 1, 2005, the new terms of court for the 406th District Court begin on the first Monday in January, April, July, and October. A new Grand Jury is impaneled to serve during each term of court.
During his first year in office, Judge Hale also worked on improving the local rules for Webb County. In fact, Judge Hale serves as the Chairperson for the Local Rules Committee and during his term as Presiding Judge for District Courts the board of judges voted to adopt the new local rules in December 2, 2009.