County / Civil Division / PIA

County Civil, Bond Forfeitures, Seizures/Asset Forfeitures, PIA (Public Information Act)/Open Records

County Civil Division: Bond Forfeitures, Seizures / Asset Forfeitures, PIA (Public Information Act) / Open Records

The Civil Division of the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney's Office acts as General Counsel for Kaufman County and its elected or appointed officials, providing legal advice. These officials include the Commissioners' Court, the sheriff, the district and county clerks, the county auditor, and the purchasing agent, among others. Civil prosecutors advise these officials on the legal aspects of their governmental obligations. Civil attorneys represent and defend Kaufman County and its officials in all aspects of civil litigation. Practice areas include, but are not limited to, personal injury, property damage, civil rights, contracts, collections, condemnations, employment law, and bail bond forfeitures in both state and federal trial and appellate courts.

Bond Forfeitures

The attorneys in the Civil Division initiate bond forfeiture filings for both felony and misdemeanor cases and track bond forfeiture cases until the final judgment has been paid. The goal of this bond forfeiture effort is two-fold: (1) to see that fugitive defendants are arrested and brought to justice; and (2) to obtain the money due for each bond forfeiture in order to recoup for Kaufman County the costs involved when criminal defendants fail to show up for their court date.

Asset Forfeiture / Seizures

Asset forfeiture cases are filed with the Civil Division when a law enforcement officer seizes property (which includes currency, vehicles, real estate, or personal property) from an individual who has used or intended to use that property to commit a criminal offense, or when the property is proceeds from a criminal offense or was acquired with proceeds from a criminal offense. The goal is to prevent criminals from being able to enjoy the fruits of their criminal activity and to deprive them of the means of committing future crimes.

Asset forfeiture cases, although arising out of a criminal offense, are civil in nature and governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. These cases involve filing an original petition, filing and answering discovery motions, preparing cases for trial, and disposing of the cases by settlement or trial. Asset forfeiture proceeds are shared by law enforcement agencies and the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney's office, and they may then be used solely for law enforcement purposes.

Open Records / Public Information Act

Public information requests and complaints do not carry a regular docket but must be responded to within a statutorily mandated deadline. When responding to a Public Information Act request, the goal of the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney's office is to provide the relevant public information as quickly as possible, while at the same time protecting privileged documents from public disclosure that would interfere with the investigation or prosecution of criminal cases.

Section 552.108 of the Texas Government Code contains what is generally referred to as the "law enforcement exception" to the release of certain public records. This exception allows a governmental body to withhold four types of information:

  1. Information If Released Would Affect Investigation or Prosecution: Information that is held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that, if disclosed, would interfere with the law enforcement agency or prosecutor's ability to detect, investigate or prosecute a crime;
  2. Information About Certain Prosecutions: Information that deals with the prosecution of crimes that did not result in a conviction or a deferred adjudication;
  3. Threats Against Peace Officers: Information that deals with threats against peace officers collected or disseminated under section 411.048 of the Government Code; or
  4. Information Prepared by Prosecutors: Information that is prepared by a prosecutor in anticipation of, or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation; or that reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of the prosecutor.

To file an open records request with Kaufman County, please submit a written request in one of the following ways:

  • By email
  • By fax to 469-595-0168
  • By standard mail to the following address:
    Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney's Office
    Attn: Civil Division - Open Records
    100 W Mulberry
    Kaufman, TX 75142
  • In person at the following address:
    Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney's Office
    Attn: Civil Division - Open Records
    100 W Mulberry
    Kaufman, TX 75142

Make sure to include the following information with your written request:

  • Your contact information, such as a phone number, email address, and/or physical mailing address. (Please include at least one of these so we can contact you about your request if needed.)
  • A specific description of the information or documents you are requesting. Examples of the descriptions that would be helpful to include are titles of records, dates of records, or case numbers. The more description you can provide, the better. If you are seeking records about a particular person, a date of birth, driver's license number, or other personal identifier would also be helpful.

Download the Public Information Act - Open Records Request Form (PDF)