Judge holds first of its kind remote hearing in Bexar County

Sentence assessed, defendant taken into custody in remote hearing

SAN ANTONIO – Last summer, Brandon Lee, 31, was arrested on drug charges, and on Wednesday, District Court Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl sentenced him to prison during a first-of-its-kind remote hearing.

“Punishment is to be assessed at three years confinement at TDC, a $1,500 fine and no application for community supervision of deferred in this case”, Torres-Stahl said.

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The judge, prosecutor, defense attorney and Lee were all participating remotely.

Lee was in a probation department conference room, flanked by a sheriff’s deputy, in a coordinated procedure involving the probation department, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and the court.

Following Lee’s punishment, Judge Torres-Stahl told him, “The deputy there is going to take you into custody and transport you to the Bexar County Jail until you can be transferred.”

The deputy then walked Lee across the street to the jail.

Noting that she has two similar hearings set for next week, Torres-Stahl said, “I think it is something we will continue to do. It does make some things a little bit more convenient.”

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.