Bexar County judge conducts first-ever virtual trial

Judge calls the trial a challenge but a success

SAN ANTONIO – The first-ever virtual civil jury trial wrapped up on Thursday in Judge Angelica Jimenez’s 408th District Court in Bexar County.

“It’s been a challenge,” Jimenez said. “I have gotten to know so much more technology since March.”

In March, a moratorium on in-person jury trials was ordered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judges divided on extension of jury trial moratorium in Bexar County

Jimenez said the trial, which she called a success, was also a challenge for the 12 jurors.

“We had a couple of jurors that maybe didn’t feel quite so comfortable with the technology. Although, I will tell you that it took them all of half a day to get the technology down,” Jimenez said.

The jurors, judge and attorneys all participated remotely via Zoom.

“They are obviously not there in person. I had them in a breakout room in my Zoom courtroom deliberating,” Jimenez said of the jurors.

“They were so engaged, and you could see them paying attention,” she said.

Given the rising number of COVID-19 cases locally, this likely will not be the last virtual trial held in civil courts in Bexar County.

Both civil and criminal courts have been conducting non-jury proceedings remotely since the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent moratorium.

About the Authors:

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