ESCRIBANO. The escribano served as a combined clerk of court and notary public in a Spanish municipality. He acted as a member of the ayuntamiento, or town council, but did not have a vote. His duties included keeping minutes for the council and preparing legal documents for the city. Additionally, he maintained municipal records and kept the archives of the ayuntamiento. The escribano had many other responsibilities beside those involving municipal affairs. Foremost among these was his role in the administration of justice. He worked along with the alguacil, or local judge, as an active part of the court. The escribano took testimony from witnesses, served papers, and retained all evidence in pending cases. All documents, judicial records and decisions remained in his possession after a trial. Royal authorities intended that the position be more than that of a secretary, for the escribano had to ensure that the legal affairs of a province remain within the law.
Full article on the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online