Bexar County judges weigh in on court system’s role in recent police shootings

Judges say they’ve been limited to what they can do in their courts

SAN ANTONIO – For the first time, the county’s judges are weighing in publicly on the back-and-forth between the district attorney and SAPD Chief as well as the court system’s role following a string of recent police shootings.

In recent months, some of the county judges have been criticized for issuing low bonds or letting repeat offenders out on probation.

Two Bexar County judges tell KSAT that they are doing what they can in their respective courts.

Bexar County Court 13 Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez and 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza want the public to know that they along with their fellow judges are working hard, but it’s not always in their hands to act on a case if they don’t get alerted to all of the circumstances.

For instance, when an offender violates bond or probation they need to be alerted about it but they say, that often does not happen.

“I can tell you what I have seen in my court, and what I have seen in my court is that there is stuff happening that nobody is alerting us to. And once they do alert us, we do something about it,” Meza said.

Gonzalez said that there is a lack of communication between the different departments.

“We can’t move forward without information from the executive branch, from the county officials. We can’t move without that information from the district attorney’s office, the prosecutor,” Gonzalez said.

While the two judges say they can’t speak on behalf of the entire judiciary, they say in their respective courts when an offender continues to violate bond, they do something about it.

“As a judge personally, (the defendant is) telling me (that they’re) not going to follow these orders. And I’ve got a great concern about the rest of the community, so I will remand you with that bond,” Gonzalez said.

Meza said another issue she is seeing is the delay in indictments from the state which is creating repeat offender situations.

“While they’re on bond waiting for that indictment, if that indictment doesn’t come quickly, like in the first 6 to 9 months, and they’re waiting over a year, 18 months, sometimes two years in some cases, what is happening is that that creates an opportunity for them to re-offend,” Meza said.

The two are watching Monday’s town hall with the district attorney and SAPD chief closely and hope they can put aside issues and put the community first.

“We’re not going to resolve issues if we have people in leadership positions who don’t want to face the media and give some answers, at least say, I don’t know, but I’ll find out,” Gonzalez said. “They can talk for three hours, but if the attendees at that town hall meeting walk away, still not feeling safe, then you just wasted three hours.


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.

Recommended Videos