SAN ANTONIO – With the elections behind them and mandatory classes completed, 29 new judges are officially on the job for Bexar County and the district courts.
“I have a pretty universal perspective of what’s going on, so I’m pretty mindful of what my role is,” said 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza as she prepared to hear cases in her court Thursday morning.
Meza fills the vacancy left by Judge Sid Harle, who is now the regional administrative judge. She said that when Harle administered her the oath of office earlier this week, he offered what she said was some sound advice.
“He said, ‘Just because you have the right to do it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do,’“ Meza said.
Bexar County Court 13 Judge Rosie Gonzalez is also new to the job. Like Meza, she is a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
Gonzalez said she is the first openly gay judge to be elected here.
“It makes a difference when dealing with, for example, a transgender or transsexual defendant who needs certain type of considerations,” Gonzalez said.
Senior District Court Judge Ron Rangel said that although each of the 29 new judges has attended a mandated judge’s school, it will take time for them to get up to speed.
“It takes a while to learn the skills that are necessary to be a good judge," Rangel said.
Rangel said that could initially impact the judicial economy.
“Initially, I think it’s going to slow things down,” Rangel said.
But he added that at the end of 2018, the district court judges divided up all cases left over from the past year so all of the new judges will start on equal footing.