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130th Judicial District Court of Texas

1700 7th Street, Room 317
Bay City TX 77414
Phone: (979) 244-7635



Contact Information

Becky Corenfield, Court Coordinator

Belle Cortinas, Indigent Defense Coordinator

Kaye Rollins, Official Court Reporter
Zoom Hearing Schedule - Scroll to bottom of the page

About Judge Denise M. Fortenberry


Judge Denise M. Fortenberry earned a bachelor of science degree in Political Science from University of Houston and her juris doctorate from Pepperdine University School of law.  In 2007, she began her practice as a general practice attorney in Bay City, Texas.  In 2012, she was elected the Matagorda County Attorney and served in that position through 2020. She won election to this bench in the November 2020 general election and took office January 1, 2021.

COVID-19 Pandemic Information

The following orders are in effect relating to the COVID-19. Texas Governor Greg Abbot has issued a series of executive orders relating to the pandemic. The Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have issued to date 35 COVID-related emergency orders relating to practice in Texas Courts. The most recent emergency order, along with the OCA guidelines are located below. The 130th District Court endeavors to comply with these orders. If there is any conflict between these instructions and the referenced orders, the orders control. Until the orders are lifted or modified, the following procedures will control:

I. Procedures for Cases & Hearings

1. Under the most recent COVID-19 orders and protocols, hearings in the 130th Judicial District Court are in-person, unless the Court specifically sets it via ZOOM. Measures are in place to meet the health and safety protocols outlined in the Matagorda County Judiciary Heath and Safety Protocols. To request a hearing, contact the Court Coordinator at the email address above.  All requests shall be in writing. Essential hearings shall be given docketing priority. 

2. You must have all preliminary matters resolved before the hearing starts. Whereas during pre-pandemic dockets, you may take time after docket call to negotiate, review plea papers, etc., under these protocols, the time and date for the hearing is when the hearing will begin. If the parties are not ready, the case must be reset.  Although we are handling matters in person, the dockets will be smaller to ensure the health and safety protocols are met. 

3.  Please review the 130th District Court's Hybrid Hearing Schedule Protocols and Procedures below. 

II. Court Appearances - Zoom

1. The court will utilize Zoom.com, a video conferencing platform, to conduct specific hearings.

2. To appear by Zoom, you must have a computer (e.g., desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone) with a camera and microphone. You must have a functional internet connection.

3. No later than 3-4 hours before the hearing time and date you will receive email instructions for accessing the Zoom hearing. There is a ton of information online about how to use Zoom - This is a link to the Zoom help center to get you started should you be unfamiliar with the platform.

4. When you join the hearing you will be in the Waiting Room and will only be able to enter the courtroom when the Judge brings you in. Like the courtroom, only litigants and their attorneys will be invited into the virtual courtroom or "inside the rail." The court can see that you are in the Waiting Room, do not notify the court or the coordinator that you are there. It is possible you will have to wait in the Waiting Room until an earlier scheduled hearing is completed.

5. Attorneys and litigants using Zoom are expected to be dressed in business casual attire. All rules and regulations relating to court proceedings remain in effect. All participants must be in a location free of interruption or background noise. All persons appearing must be identified on the screen by their real name, not a nickname (e.g., "iphone" or "rivergrrrl.98") to be allowed into virtual courtroom. You must communicate these matters to your client and witnesses.

6. Zoom allows only one person to talk at a time. If the rule in invoked, non-testifying witnesses will be placed in the Waiting Room. If an attorney needs to talk to her client, she can request a private breakout room where they cannot be seen or heard by others.

7. Be aware that having two devices operating Zoom in close proximity will result in feedback. One should be muted.

8. The judge, court reporter and clerk will be in the courtroom for all Zoom proceedings. Court proceedings are open to the public, subject to any state or local order.

9. All exhibits must be pre-marked, exchanged (meaning, actually received) and emailed to dclerk@co.matagorda.tx.us at least 24 hours before the hearing is scheduled to begin. The subject line of your email shall include the cause number and style of your case along with the date and time of the hearing.

10. NO PERSON MY MAKE ANY AUDIO OR VIDEO RECORDING OF ANY COURT PROCEEDING. THIS PROHIBITION IS ENFORCEABLE BY CONTEMPT OF COURT AND IS PUNISHABLE BY A $500 FINE, JAIL FOR UP TO 180 DAYS OR BOTH FINE AND CONFINEMENT. THE COURT REPORTER

11. If a criminal defendant has a setting, the defendant must sign a reset prior to the setting or a warrant will issue. Typically, warrants are held two (2) working days to give the defendant the opportunity to appear before being released to the Sheriff.

12. An attorney's Zoom use is not restricted to court hearings. Consider using Zoom or other similar platforms to conduct meetings with clients, mediations, telework and other matters. The State Bar of Texas has further information about Zoom accounts for attorneys, but by all means, choose the platform that works best for your purposes.

13.  Please review the 130th District Court's Hybrid Hearing Schedule Protocols and Procedures below for further instructions.

III. Special Circumstances

1.  Standing Temporary Restraining Order. On February 12, 2021, the Court issued the "130th Judicial District Court's Standing Order Regarding Child(ren), Property and Conduct of Parties in Divorce and Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship." 

2.  Prove-Up Divorces. Divorces may be obtained in-person or by submitting sworn testimony.

3.   Rule 11 Agreements. Obtain an entry date from Ms. Corenfield and file the agreement as usual.

4.  Temporary Hearings. All cases shall be mediated (informally or formally) before obtaining a Temporary Orders Hearing.  Exceptions can be made in certain circumstances.  Explore a resolution to control the case until a hearing in the courtroom can be held. If the hearing cannot be resolved, at a minimum work to narrow the issues. The court will confer with the attorneys by telephone prior to setting a Zoom hearing.

5.  Possession Schedules. Family law attorneys should be familiar with all Texas Supreme Court orders relating to possession schedules. See the link above for those orders.

6.  Jury Trials.  The 130th Judicial District Court will continue to conduct jury trials in accordance with the Jury Addendum below. 

7.  Please see the 130th District Court Hybrid Hearing Schedule Protocols and Procedures below for other special circumstance information.

IV. 2021 Zoom Hearing Schedule

Thursday, June 17,
8:30 a.m., 21-F-0118; ITIO A.M.C., a child; Permanency Hearing 

 January 2021 Zoom Hearings

February 2021 Zoom Hearings

March 2021 Zoom Hearings

 

V. Court Forms

Standing Order for the Appointment and Qualifications of Attorneys (Civil, Family appointments)
Civil, Family Ad Litem Appointment List (under revision)

Application to be Placed on the Public Appointment List (Criminal, Juvenile appointments)

Criminal Appointment List

Standing Criminal Discovery Order

130th Judicial District Court Protocols and Procedures for Hybrid Hearing Schedules

 

130th District Court Standing TRO for Divorce and SAPCR cases

Amended 2021 Calendar

OCA Best Practices (eff. March 2021)

Supreme Court 36th Emergency Order (March 5, 2021)

Matagorda County Judiciary Health and Safety Protocols (eff. March 17, 2021)

Jury Proceeding Addendum to COVID-19 Operating Plan

Prior COVID-19 Joint Operating Plan (eff. May 26, 2020) and Recertification of Operating Plan (eff. January 11, 2021)