COVID-19 creates backlog in Bexar County juvenile court system

Emphasis remains on remote hearings; judge implements unique drive-by reporting system for juveniles

COVID-19 creates backlog in juvenile court system

SAN ANTONIO – With few exceptions, most cases in the juvenile justice system in Bexar County are being dealt with remotely due to COVID-19 concerns.

”It’s had a huge impact on our system,” said 289th District Court Judge Carlos Quezada. ”There’s going to be a huge backlog and then, even now that we’re talking about opening up the courts, we’ll handle maybe five to six cases a day.”

Quezad’s interaction with the juveniles, which he calls his kids, isn’t limited to the courtroom.

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On Thursday morning, Quezada set up a drive-by check-in station at the Juvenile Justice Center parking lot that allowed juveniles assigned to one of three specialty courts to report in.

”You just try to talk to them and you give them your two bits of sense, whatever you learned growing up. And hopefully it sticks just a little bit so we can make an impact on their lives,” Quezada said.

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As the judge passed out pizza and soft drinks to “his kids”, he said, “Oh, I miss them. I miss all of ‘em.”


About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.