The 5th Judicial District was originally created by the Republic of Texas in 1838 (from the 1st judicial district created in 1836) to cover Houston, Nacogdoches, Shelby, Red River and Fannin counties.  The 5th  judicial district covered almost all of north and east Texas at the time, approximately 25,500 square miles, and  included all of modern Lamar, Red River, Bowie, Cass, Hopkins, Fannin, Hunt, Upshur, Marion, Camp, Titus, and Franklin counties,  as well as another 25 counties. The Fifth Judicial District was re-organized many times between its formation and the current Texas Constitution of 1876.  Since 1876, the Texas legislature has created more than 450 judicial districts to organize the current District Court structure of Texas.

     Today, the 5th Judicial District serves the citizens of Bowie and Cass counties in Northeast Texas, bordering Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Judge Bill Miller is currently the 19th presiding judge of the 1876 Court following Justice Ralph Burgess (Texas 6th Court of Appeals) and Justice Jack Carter (6th Court of Appeals, Ret.).  The 5th District Court hears cases in New Boston, Texas, county seat of Bowie County, and Linden, Texas, the county seat of Cass County as well as non-jury matters in Texarkana.

      The 5th Judicial District is a state trial court of general jurisdiction in law and equity, including felony criminal and misdemeanors cases, as well as, actions involving official misconduct, divorce, title and liens upon land, election contests, and civil actions where the amount in controversy is at least $500.