‘We don’t want jury service to be a death sentence,’ Bexar County administrative judge says

Judge Ron Rangel says moratorium on jury service will remain in effect despite Texas Supreme Court emergency order

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Administrative Judge Ron Rangel said Monday that all local orders regarding COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in effect despite an emergency order issued by the Texas Supreme Court that relaxes restrictions imposed in earlier orders.

Rangel said a moratorium on jury service will remain in place and wearing masks and practicing social distancing will continue in all district, county and probate courts.

”We don’t want jury service to be a death sentence for any jurors or any participants in the court process,” Rangel said.

The latest Texas Supreme Court order issued Friday gives individual authority to local administrative judges.

”Everybody that must enter the courtroom has to have their safety considered first and foremost before anything else”, Rangel said. “And that’s not something I’m going to compromise.”

Rangel said he’s received push back about his COVID-19 safety protocol position from some of his judicial colleagues, but said he is standing firm. Rangel said his decision is based on guidance from health officials.

The Texas Supreme Court emergency order expires June 1.

“Maybe if it’s not extended, those minimum safety protocols would not be required to enter into the courthouse,” Rangel said.

But he said that for now the protocols will remain in place in all Bexar County courtrooms.

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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.