Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product: Texas Gov. Code §21.013

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product law makes it illegal to leak court opinions and other judicial work product.

After the highly-publicized leak of the draft United States Supreme Court order in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Texas legislature was inclined to criminalize any similar types of leaks in Texas courts.

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The Texas Legislature enacted this law in 2023 and codified at Texas Government Code Section 21.013. The law went into effect on September 1, 2023.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product law under Title 2 “Judicial Branch,” Chapter 21 “General Provisions.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product below.

What is the current Texas law about Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product in Government Code Section §21.013 as follows:[1]

(e) A person, other than a justice or judge, with access to non-public judicial work product commits an offense if the person knowingly discloses, wholly or partly, the contents of any non-public judicial work product to a person who is not a justice, judge, court staff attorney, court clerk, law clerk, employee of an agency established under Chapter 71 or 72, or other court staff routinely involved in crafting an opinion or decision for an adjudicatory proceeding.

This offense was created by the 88th Texas Legislature in 2023,[2] effective September 1, 2023.[3]

How can I be charged with an Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 21.013 as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product in Texas?

As a misdemeanor, Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product charges have a two-year limitations period.[4]

What is the penalty for a Texas Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product offense?

Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product in Texas is punished as a Class A misdemeanor.[5]

Can you get probation for Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[6]

What level of crime is Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product in Texas?

The Government Code classifies Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product as either a state jail felony or second degree felony.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Government Code §21.013. This law is current as of 2024.^2. SB 372 88th Texas Legislature (RS), Section 1^3. SB 372 88th Texas Legislature (RS), Section 3^4. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^5. Texas Penal Code §21.013(f)^6. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .

Confidentiality Of Judicial Work Product | | Gov. Code 21.013 text with Texas and American Flag in background

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