The state of Texas has appointed judges in each of its 11 judicial regions to handle cases relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under Chapter 81 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, known as the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act, the state has a duty to protect the public health and citizens are required to act responsibly to prevent and control the spread of communicable disease.
On March 6, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht signed an order appointing judges throughout the state to address issues that could arise during the pandemic. Fifth District Judge Bill Miller, who serves Bowie and Cass Counties, is one of the two judges in Region 10 appointed to hear such cases. The other judge appointed in Region 10 is 392nd District Judge Scott McKee of Henderson County.
The counties in Region 10 include: Anderson, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Lamar, Leon, Limestone, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood.
If called upon, the judges appointed may conduct court proceedings and make rulings related to quarantine of individuals, quarantine of areas or groups, quarantine of properties, or other public health and safety issues as they relate to orders issued by state and local health authorities.
The appointments remain in effect until Sept. 30 unless otherwise ordered by the Texas Supreme Court.