Criminal felony case court backlog up nearly 60% in Bexar County, judge says

Caseload swelled to 8,975 this week

SAN ANTONIO – The number of criminal felony cases backlogged in Bexar County has swelled to 8,975 this week, according to Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel.

When a moratorium on jury service was ordered on March 13, jury trials in all 10 Bexar County criminal district courts were halted. At that time, there was a backlog of 5,519 felony cases.

“That increase, with the indicted cases, represents close to a 60% increase since COVID (pandemic) began”, Rangel said.

When asked whether he was concerned about possible speedy trial issues, he said, “That’s certainly a consideration. One of the most significant considerations, obviously, would be the COVID pandemic.”

The Civil Court system is preparing to conduct a virtual jury trial next week. Rangel said that at some point, that could be considered in criminal courts. His priority, however, is to get in-person jury trials started.

“When we get started, probably post-pandemic, with jury trials, we’re gonna be trying cases at a very fast clip,” he said. “Probably a rocket docket for a significant period of time.”

In all likelihood, Rangel added, that will not be until after the first of next year.

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.