In-person court proceedings get off to slow start in Bexar County

1 bench trial held in civil court; remote hearings continue to dominate court dockets

SAN ANTONIO – A non-jury bench trial in Judge Angelica Jimenez’ 408th District Court was the only in-person court proceeding held in the Bexar County Courthouse complex on Tuesday.

The proceedings are the first that have been allowed since the courts stopped in-person activity last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Court hearings are now permitted under new guidelines that are part of Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel’s plan to eventually open all Bexar County courts.

”I don’t think that judges are going to throw the doors open and force individuals to come into the courthouse,” Rangel said.

Rangel said that in all likelihood remote proceedings will continue to play a major role in court activity.

There had been a push late last year to resume in-person hearings.

”Any group of individuals that are told they can’t do something will have a tendency to want to do that thing,” Rangel said. “But when the opportunity presents itself, they’ll have to stop and take a look at the big picture and see the advantages of moving slowly.”

As for in-person jury trials, Rangel said, “I don’t see that coming anytime soon as we are evaluating that every day.”

Last week, Rangel estimated that it could be between six weeks to two months.

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