Conroe Criminal Defense Lawyer - Rules of Evidence Series RULE 204
Rule 204 is the final rule in the set of 4 rules which discuss judicial notice. Rule 204 allows the trial judge to take judicial notice on its own (sua sponte) or at the request of one of the parties any of the laws of the State of Texas, Agency Rules, or County Ordinances.
For example, Montgomery County has a Juvenile Curfew Ordinance that makes it a crime for a person under 17 years old to be out from 12:01 a.m. (Midnight) until 6:00 a.m. The city of Conroe's ordinance states that Curfew hours means: (1) 11:00 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday until 6:00 a.m. of the following day; and (2) 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. on any Saturday or Sunday. So all those swim or gymnastics practices that start at 5:30 a.m. are technically illegal if the child is traveling there by themselves.
Under the common law and prior to the adoption of the Texas Rules of Evidence the contents of ordinances like these would have to be proved by the offering of a certified copy. Green v. State, 594 S.W.2d 72 (Tex. Crim. App. 1980). This was a giant pain in the butt for lawyers and so they made this rule saying they didn't have to do that anymore. Now if only we could get the lawyers together to talk about hearsay objections to video and audio recordings where there is no allegation that they are fabricated.
Rule 204. Judicial Notice of Texas Municipal and County Ordinances, Texas Register Contents, and Published Agency Rules
(a) Scope. This rule governs judicial notice of Texas municipal and county ordinances, the contents of the Texas Register, and agency rules published in the Texas Administrative Code.
(b) Taking Notice. The court:
(1) may take judicial notice on its own; or
(2) must take judicial notice if a party requests it and the court is supplied with the necessary
(c) Notice and Opportunity to Be Heard.
(1) Notice. The court may require a party requesting judicial notice to notify all other
parties of the request so they may respond to it.
(2) Opportunity to Be Heard. On timely request, a party is entitled to be heard on the propriety of
taking judicial notice and the nature of the matter to be noticed. If the court takes judicial
notice before a party has been notified, the party, on request, is still entitled to be heard.
(d) Determination and Review. The court—not the jury—must determine municipal and county ordinances, the contents of the Texas Register, and published agency rules. The court’s determination must be treated as a ruling on a question of law.