‘It’s been a lot work’: More than half of backlogged domestic violence cases resolved in less than 2 months

Two county judges clear 1,548 cases

SAN ANTONIO – Earlier this year, Bexar County courts were approved to have two additional judges help with the backlog in domestic violence cases. That backlog has been cut by about 60% in less than two months.

Bexar County Court 8 Judge Mary Roman and County Court 11 Judge Tommy Stolhandske took on the cases in early February.

At the time, they had more than 2,600 cases to shift through.

“It’s been a lot of work, not just for Judge Roman and myself but our staff, on the district attorney’s office, on the defense attorneys,” Stolhandske said.

Their formula was to make sure all cases were set on the docket within 45 days to get both sides talking with each other.

“We just had to get them set and figure out what needed to be done on the case and hold them accountable to show up,” Stolhandske said.

“I make sure that they understand this is a backlog, and they don’t have two years to take care of their cases,” Roman said.

Getting both sides to meet has been successful in either having cases dismissed, settled or ready for trial. In total, 1,548 cases have been resolved.

“Based on the statistics, I think we’ve given a lot of people that opportunity to have justice, whatever that was for either side,” Stolhandske said.

The work is still not complete as the two judges, alongside visiting judges, will continue to tackle the backlog with hopes of eliminating it this year.

“I appreciate the effort that everybody’s put into it, and we’re going to keep working hard,” Stolhandske said.


Find resources for victims of domestic violence here

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About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

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