SAN ANTONIO – When Administrative Judge Ron Rangel reached out to members of the criminal justice system in San Antonio for help to address the 66% drop in the increase of cases awaiting trial as a result of a backlog created by a moratorium on jury service, it didn’t take long for the sheriff to respond.
”We’re going to make sure that the jail is not the reason for that backlog”, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Thursday.
He said he is making additional space available in order so that more virtual hearings can be conducted at the jail.
”The reality of it is virtual hearings take up a lot more time,” Rangel said as he welcomed the sheriff’s help. ”There’s a lot more work as it relates to setting them up.”
The sheriff said, “We’ve added a whole bunch of computers and we’ve actually brought some deputies from the courthouse to the jail.”
The backlog has also added to the overcrowded conditions at the jail, which have grown as a result of the Texas Department of Corrections not accepting prisoners due to the pandemic, according to Salazar.
“We’re doing everything we can behind the scenes to keep the process moving,” Salazar said. “We know that jury trials are going to be put off for the foreseeable future.”