SAN ANTONIO – Citing an emergency order from the Texas Supreme Court, Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel has ordered that there will be no in-person civil or criminal jury trials in Bexar County until April 1 at the earliest.
Rangel ordered a moratorium on jury trials due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in March when the COVID-19 pandemic started.
With the moratorium in place, judges soon began to worry about case backlogs in their courts. Some of them questioned the moratorium.
”I was receiving push back from a few other judges in November and December of the past year,” Rangel said Wednesday. “I think as a result of the pandemic and where we are now, I think that’s going away.”
Among the backlogged cases is the high-profile case of Otis McKane, who is facing capital murder charges and possible execution in the 2016 slaying of veteran SAPD detective Ben Marconi. The detective was shot in the head as he sat in his patrol car outside police headquarters.
Jury selection in his case was suspended in November due to Covid-19 health concerns.
Rangel said, “Once we seat a jury I do not anticipate starting that jury trial until health conditions permit, and I don’t see that happening for awhile.”