SAN ANTONIO – Anyone with a jury summons in Bexar County is automatically excused for the next 30 days, according to Judge Ron Rangel, the 379th Criminal District Court Judge.
The announcement followed a public health emergency declared by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg Friday morning after he confirmed the first travel-related new coronavirus case in San Antonio.
During that news conference, city officials said juries will not convene for 30 days to help prevent any potential spread of the virus. Rangel expanded on that and made clear that those who have jury summons are excused.
“There’s no reason to fear any type of repercussion from the court,” Rangel said. “They’re not going to be reset.”
The courthouse will remain open and still provide services, but jury trials will be canceled and reset.
Some charges may be dismissed, Rangel said, but that would be up to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Rangel said any cases that previously pegged for dismissal will be fast-tracked.
Only essential hearings will take place in both criminal and civil courts. Judges are currently working to reduce their dockets.
“We want to limit the amount of individuals in the courtroom as much as possible,” Rangel said.
The changes due to the pandemic go beyond the courtroom, however.
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are temporarily suspending all visits until further notice. Both are working to expand access to virtual visits while the declaration is in effect.