Difference Between ''Magistrate'' and ''judge'' In Texas

What is the difference between a Magistrate and a Judge in texas Section 54.301 of the government code authorizes Dallas County's criminal district judges to appoint a magistrate to "perform the duties authorized by this subchapter." TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 54.301(a) (Vernon 1998). A magistrate appointed under this law is not a judge in his own right but acts as a surrogate of the duly elected judge of the district court. See Davis v. State, 956 S.W.2d 555, 559 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). In other words, he acts as an agent of the district courts and has no authority of his own. See id. If the district judge has authority over the case, and the magistrate is qualified to be a magistrate, and he performs acts authorized under the government code, his acts are not void. Id. Section 54.306 of the government code sets out those matters that can be referred to the magistrate: (a) a judge may refer to a magistrate any matter arising out of a criminal case involving: (1) a negotiated plea of guilty or nolo contendere before the court; (2) a bond forfeiture; (3) a pretrial motion; (4) a postconviction writ of habeas corpus; (5) an examining trial; (6) an occupational driver's license; (7) an appeal of an administrative driver's license revocation hearing; and (8) any other matter the judge considers necessary and proper. (b) the magistrate may not preside over a trial on the merits, whether or not the trial is before a jury. TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 54.306 (Vernon Supp. 2000).