Texas appeals courts (originally Courts of Civil Appeals) were established by amendment to the Texas Constitution in 1891.
The Texas Legislature authorized courts of civil appeals to issue writs of mandamus and all other writs necessary to enforce their jurisdiction in 1892.
In 1892, the legislature created the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd District courts, located in Galveston, Fort Worth and Austin, respectively.
The appeals courts were originally created as the Courts of Civil Appeals and had jurisdiction in civil cases only. In 1981, the courts gained criminal jurisdiction.
A constitutional amendment passed in 1985 formally changed the courts' name from the Courts of Civil Appeals to the Courts of Appeals to reflect the broader jurisdiction.
The Texas Third Court of Appeals is one of 14 intermediate appellate courts in Texas. The court consists of six Justices hearing cases from twenty-four counties - one Chief Justice and five Justices.
It has intermediate appellate jurisdiction of both civil and criminal cases appealed from lower courts in twenty-four counties of Texas; in civil cases where judgment rendered exceeds $100, exclusive of costs, and other civil proceedings as provided by law; and in criminal cases except in post-conviction writs of habeas corpus and where the death penalty has been imposed.
Source: http://www.txcourts.gov/3rdcoa; http://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Third_District_Court_of_Appeals