TX Judicial Education Entities Team Up for 2nd Annual Impaired Driving Symposium

Mark Goodner, Deputy Counsel and Director of Judicial Education, TMCEC
Regan Metteauer, Program Attorney, TMCEC

Judicial Education in Texas works differently than in many other states. Instead of judicial education being a function of the Office of Court Administration (OCA) as it is elsewhere (usually called the AOC or Administrative Office of the Courts), judicial education is provided through multiple entities each providing training for a different segment of the judiciary. This judicial education is financed by a grant from the Court of Criminal Appeals (Texas’ highest court for criminal cases) out of funds appropriated by the Legislature to the Judicial and Court Personnel Training Fund. In Texas, judicial education is administered by the Court of Criminal Appeals, through grants from the Court to Judicial Education entities, such as the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC).

TMCEC was formed in 1984 by the Texas Municipal Courts Association (TMCA) to provide extensive, continuing professional education and training programs for municipal judges and court personnel. In the last fiscal year, TMCEC trained over 5,300 municipal judges, court administrators, clerks, juvenile case managers, prosecutors, bailiffs, and warrant officers. Other education providers such as the Texas Association of Counties, the Texas Justice Court Training Center, and the Texas Center for the Judiciary provide extensive education opportunities to their respective constituencies. Some specialized education is also funded through other grants from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Since 2008, TMCEC has received special funding from the Texas Department of Transportation to provide education on traffic safety, with a focus on impaired driving. The role of municipal judges in impaired driving cases, primarily as magistrates, is only part of a bigger picture. All levels of the judiciary have a role in an impaired driving case. Thus, the impaired driving symposium was born.

The Impaired Driving Symposium is a special conference hosted jointly by the Texas Association of Counties, the Texas Center for the Judiciary, the Texas Justice Court Training Center, and TMCEC. This seminar gives Texas judges the opportunity to converse and network with judges from other levels of the judiciary with the goal of streamlining impaired driving cases from arrest to disposition. Course topics for the 2016 Impaired Driving Symposium included probable cause, blood warrants case law, electronic search warrants, compliance issues, case studies, drugged driving, setting bond conditions, occupational driver’s licenses, and minors under the influence. Over 140 Texas judges attended the 2016 Impaired Driving Symposium. The third annual symposium is scheduled for 2017. The Impaired Driving Symposium has proven to be a successful new model of education only possible through the combined efforts and support of all of the judicial education entities.

Mark Goodner is the Deputy Counsel and Director of Judicial Education for the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC). Annually, Mark plans, develops, and oversees ten Regional Judges Seminars per year each offering 16 hours of judicial education along with two 32-hour New Judges Seminars. In addition to his work at TMCEC, Mark serves as the Presiding Judge for the City of Woodcreek and as an Associate Judge for the cities of Bee Cave and Leander. Mark is a Certified Court Manager, having completed the Court Management Program of the Institute for Court Management in August 2016. Mr. Goodner graduated from the University of Texas School of Law with a juris doctorate and certification in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Dispute Resolution in May of 2007.