Following the Randle Law Office blog last week on ministerial acts, county clerks, district court clerks, and municipal court clerks normally must accept all court filings as a responsibility of their position. Accepting filings normally is not discretionary, however, municipal court administrators or clerks accepting filings are enabled by State law to analyze and determine if a document presented or filed is fraudulent. The Texas Attorney General has opined in several written opinions that a clerk cannot refuse filings without statutory authority to do so. (Attorney General Opinion H-1155 (1978) and JM-825 (1987)). Provisions in the Texas Government Code were written and adopted due to the increase in fraudulent filings by sovereign citizens and militants following the rise of activity by sovereign citizens and extremist groups and the rise of domestic terrorism in the mid 1990’s.
The statute is in the Texas Government Code; Title 2 Judicial Branch, Subtitle D. Judicial Personnel and Officials, Subchapter J. Certain Fraudulent Records or Documents, Chapter 51 Clerks; Section 51.901 Fraudulent Document or Instrument. Section 51.902 Action on Fraudulent Judgment Lien.
This statute was initially adopted in 1997 and last revised in 2007. The Statute is applicable for Clerks at every level of court including Municipal Courts. Requires “reasonable basis” and “good faith belief” that a document is fraudulent, providing statutory authority to do something other than simply accept the filing. The statute requires action by the Clerk within two (2) days of the acceptance of a filing of a fraudulent instrument/document or within 2 days after the Clerk becomes aware the document may be fraudulent.
Texas Government Code Sec. 51.901(d) County Clerk believes in good faith a filed document creates Fake lien the Clerk shall:
(1)Request assistance of County or District Attorney to determine if fraudulent BEFORE filing it
(2)Request additional documentation to support existence of the lien (contract or something with the alleged debtor’s signature)
(3)Forward additional information received to the County or District Attorney.
Additionally, the Clerk must provide in writing:
(1)For a judgment, order, directive, memorializes an act or purported act by a purported court must provide written notice to the last known address of the person named in the document;
(2)For a document purports to create a lien or claim on real property must provide written notice of the filing to the stated last known address of the person named in the document as obligor or debtor or any other person owning an interest in the property.
Municipalities in Texas should utilize this provision of the Government Code and specifically post warning signs. Tex. Gov. Code Sec. 51.904 Warning Sign provides a mandatory requirement that the clerk [which includes municipal clerks] (a) shall post a sign, in letters at least one inch in height, that is clearly visible to the general public in or near the clerk’s office stating that it is a crime to intentionally or knowingly file a fraudulent court record or a fraudulent instrument with the clerk.
Please do not rely on this article as legal advice. We can tell you what the law is, but until we know the facts of your given situation, we cannot provide legal guidance. This website is for informational purposes and not for the purposes of providing legal advice.