SAN ANTONIO – Editors note: While judges are returning to the complex, hearings will still be conducted remotely until a plan for in-person hearings has been finalized. Currently, there is no concrete start date for that, officials said.
After closing in mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Bexar County courts complex will reopen next week, according to District Court Judge Peter Sakai.
“(The closure) was a devastating impact on our whole, entire justice system,” Sakai said Wednesday, as he and his 13 judicial colleagues prepared for Monday’s reopening of the complex.
They all began to embrace the new concept of working remotely immediately.
“We’re probably 60-to-70(percent) capacity of what we were hearing,” Sakai said. “We’re easily back on, and all 14 judges are hearing cases remotely.”
But like their criminal court counterparts, the civil judges are facing a big problem.
“We have a backlog in the sense of responding to attorneys who are asking for in-person hearings," Sakai said.
He said he is optimistic about reopening since remote hearings will continue to be an option for resolving civil matters.
“They can just log onto their computers and participate in their civil case,” Sakai said. “The old school of coming down to the courthouse may be going away.”