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Defendants left in limbo during COVID-19 court shutdown

Cases cannot be resolved without a jury

SAN ANTONIO – All trials in the Bexar County Criminal Justice System were placed on hold in early March when a moratorium on jury service was ordered over fears of spreading the coronavirus.

For defendants awaiting trial, it means an indefinite wait for a resolution of their case.

“The Covid-19 crisis has really put us in a balancing act between public health and the constitutional rights of the wrongfully accused,” veteran criminal defense attorney Robert Gebbia said Friday.

Gebbia represents Isreal Gonzalez, who he said is wrongfully accused in an injury to a child case.

The allegations keep Gonzalez from spending time with his children while he awaits trial and Covid-19 keeps him from having his day in court.

“I tried to explain it to them, but it’s hard because they don’t get it,” Gonzalez said. “It hurts because my children mean everything to me.”

State district courts in Bexar County preparing to reopen

He said the waiting is agonizing for him and his family.

“There’s uncertainty at a time when we already feel stressed and uncertain and it just makes it worse,” said attorney Joel Hoelsher, co-counsel on Gonzalez’s case. “With no juries expected to be empaneled until late summer or early fall, an end to that uncertainty seems a long way off,” he added.

He said that a trial may be as long as two years away.

Guidelines proposed for resuming court proceedings in Bexar County


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