Duties and Functions
The Office of the County Attorney is created by the Texas Constitution and the duties of the County Attorney are set out by Statute. The Office of County Attorney is an elected Office and it is a four year term.
The duties of the County Attorney and the District Attorney on occasion coincide. In some jurisdictions, the County Attorney is generally the chief prosecuting officer for county courts, handling criminal misdemeanor cases, civil suits affecting the county, and other matters such as child support cases, revocation of probation, bond forfeitures, and commitment proceedings. However, in Nueces County, all criminal prosecution lies with the District Attorney.
The County Attorney is the chief legal advisor to the County. The County Attorney handles all county departmental and county offices’ requests for legal opinions. The County Attorney represents the County in eminent domain suits. The County Attorney represents the County and/or County Officials in civil cases in State and Federal District Courts, such as County Courts at Law, State District Courts and U.S. District Courts, and in Appellate Courts, including the Thirteenth Court of Appeals, Texas Supreme Court and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The County Attorney is required to be a licensed attorney.
County Attorney Laura Garza Jimenez, licensed in state and federal courts, along with her staff of sixteen employees proudly serve the people of Nueces County. The Chief of Litigation, the Chief of Administrative Services, and support staff sustain the functions and operations of the Nueces County Attorney’s office.
The bulk of the case workload involves several main areas of the law for which the County Attorney and her staff are responsible: Legal Advisories to the County Commissioners Court and 60 plus Department Heads/Elected Officials, advising specific County Boards and Commissions, addressing Public Information Requests, civil litigation (representing the County and/or officials in lawsuits), mental health cases (representing applicants seeking a commitment of mentally ill person), Protective Orders (representing victims of family violence seeking a civil court order against individuals who committed family violence), and Child Protective Service cases (representing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in their removal of children from homes where they have been neglected or abused).
In addition, Laura Garza Jimenez, as the Nueces County Attorney, is the legally designated advisor for Nueces County Commissioners during Commissioners Court meetings, and as such, answers any legal questions that the County Judge or Commissioners may have during the meetings.