Grand jury turnout surprises administrative judge amid coronavirus fears

Jury service had been suspended since March 12 due to pandemic

Grand jury turnout surprises administrative judge amid coronavirus fears

SAN ANTONIO – The turnout of people summoned for grand jury service on Tuesday surprised Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel.

“The number of folks that came in was mind-boggling,” Rangel said.

He was hoping that at least 40 of the 480 people who were sent summons would report to the central jury room.

“This is a big step in the direction of resuming normalcy in the courthouse and in the Justice Center,” Rangel said.

Jury service was suspended on March 12 due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Typically, when a grand jury is seated the presiding judge selects 12 jurors and four alternates.

“I actually asked these jurors if you desire and want to be on this grand jury, please stand,” Rangel said.

Twenty-five people, which was more than enough, stood up, Rangel said.

Tuesday’s panel is one of two that will be chosen. Each jury will meet twice a week for the next two months.

A grand jury’s task is to evaluate cases forwarded by law enforcement to the district attorney to either be indicted or dismissed.

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.