Jury selection in capital murder trial of accused cop killer to resume Monday
SAN ANTONIO – Jury selection will resume Monday in the capital murder trial of a man accused in the execution-style slaying of a San Antonio Police Department detective in 2016. It has been four and a half year years since veteran San Antonio Police Department Detective Benjamin Marconi was shot in the head at point blank range as he sat in his patrol car outside police headquarters. Jury selection in the capital murder trial of 35-year-old Otis McKane, Marconi’s accused killer, began last fall. AdStill, Rangel, who will preside over the trial, said he isn’t considering a change of venue. The Backstory: Otis McKane on trial for execution-style killing of SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi
Summonses for civil jury trials in Bexar County are on the way for some residents
SAN ANTONIO – Though the moratorium on jury service that was ordered last spring amid fears of spreading the coronavirus remains in place in Bexar County, it has been modified to allow for social distancing. On Monday, the first jury summonses for virtual civil jury trials were mailed to prospective jurors. Schulze, along with Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel and the Bexar County IT Department, developed the new virtual jury system. Rangel says the system only applies to civil jury trials. The entire proceedings, from jury summons to jury selection and testimony, will be done remotely.
Jury moratorium raises speedy trial concerns for some defendants
SAN ANTONIO – As the moratorium on jury trials keeps being extended in Bexar County, so does the time it takes to get a case to trial, pushing some defendants to argue that they are not getting their constitutionally guaranteed right to a speedy trial. Ruben Loredo, 56, is facing a felony charge and four misdemeanor charges in Bexar County for alleging violating protective orders. “I’ve been waiting for a long time.”Judges divided on extension of jury trial moratorium in Bexar CountyThat wait became even longer last March when a moratorium on jury trials was ordered due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Roe said his only other option is to agree to a bench trial before a judge rather than a jury trial. Jury service resumption in Bexar County gets closer look
Bexar County administrative judge may extend in-person jury trial moratorium before Dec. 31 deadline
SAN ANTONIO – With the COVID-19 positivity rate at 9.2% and climbing steadily, local administrative Judge Ron Rangel has been meeting with criminal and district court judges to discuss extending the moratorium on in-person jury trials. “I think, overall, the judges are confirmed, or have confirmed to me, that they do desire to focus on community safety.”Judges divided on extension of jury trial moratorium in Bexar CountyTo Rangel, that means extending the moratorium. “I do not anticipate in-person jury trials to be at the earliest until mid-February,” he said. “I don’t think that it is so significant at this point yet, that we should risk the health and safety of the community and all the participants by starting in-person jury trials,” Rangel said. Rangel said that community safety must always win when it is a balance between community safety and judicial economy.
Bexar County judge conducts first-ever virtual trial
SAN ANTONIO – The first-ever virtual civil jury trial wrapped up on Thursday in Judge Angelica Jimenez’s 408th District Court in Bexar County. Judges divided on extension of jury trial moratorium in Bexar CountyJimenez said the trial, which she called a success, was also a challenge for the 12 jurors. Although, I will tell you that it took them all of half a day to get the technology down,” Jimenez said. Given the rising number of COVID-19 cases locally, this likely will not be the last virtual trial held in civil courts in Bexar County. Both civil and criminal courts have been conducting non-jury proceedings remotely since the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent moratorium.
Judges divided on extension of jury trial moratorium in Bexar County
SAN ANTONIO – The moratorium on jury trials ordered in March over concerns about the spreading of COVID-19 will end on Dec. 31. The decision on whether to extend the moratorium is up to Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel. “We know that we are in a current surge of COVID cases.”Jury service resumption in Bexar County gets closer lookSeveral judges in the criminal, civil and misdemeanor courts at the Bexar County Courthouse are anxious to begin conducting in person jury trials. “I believe that we should consider resuming jury trials on a case-by-case basis,” County Court 11 Judge Tommy Stolhandske said. Stolhandske also noted that Harris and Kendall counties have already resumed in-person jury trials.
Texas Supreme Court order OKs virtual jury trials
SAN ANTONIO – In the Texas Supreme Court’s most recent order addressing jury trials during the pandemic, it said virtual civil court jury trials can be conducted starting Oct. 1. “Courts can compel attorneys for both sides, whether they agree or not, to have a virtual jury trial,” Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel said, referring to the order Monday. He said that he questions virtual trials, period. In his order, which he is drafting this week, Rangel said he has moved the date for virtual jury trials in Bexar County to begin on Nov. 1. Rangel plans to present his local order to the judges, as well as Regional Administrative Judge Sid Harle by week’s end.
Venice Fest closes amid cheers for daring to open amid virus
(Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)VENICE – The Venice Film Festival is wrapping up the first COVID-era international cinema showcase Saturday, with critics, filmmakers and actors alike cheering organizers for having dared to hold the festival amid a pandemic and demonstrating how to go to the movies again, safely. Once the virus spread, the Cannes Film Festival was canceled outright, and other big international festivals in Toronto and New York opted to go mostly online. “We were a little bit worried at the beginning, of course,” festival director Alberto Barbera said. Twenty-twenty is not the year for those kind of discussions.”Instead, she said, Venice was a film festival that focused on the integrity of the films. The diversity of countries represented is a development that festival director Barbera has greeted with particular satisfaction.
Grand jury turnout surprises administrative judge amid coronavirus fears
SAN ANTONIO The turnout of people summoned for grand jury service on Tuesday surprised Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel. Jury service was suspended on March 12 due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus. Typically, when a grand jury is seated the presiding judge selects 12 jurors and four alternates. I actually asked these jurors if you desire and want to be on this grand jury, please stand, Rangel said. Each jury will meet twice a week for the next two months.
Prospective grand jurors fear COVID-19, judge says
SAN ANTONIO When replies to grand jury summons began to arrive last week, one thing became apparent to county officials. A total of 480 summons were mailed to seek jurors for grand jury duty. That is a smaller number than is usually sent out for jurors to serve for trial jury duty. FIRST REPORTED: Jury summons are on the way for some in Bexar CountyRangel said COVID-19 fears were not the only related issues raised in the responses. On Tuesday, Rangel will interview about 40 prospective jurors in the central jury room, marking the first time there have been potential jurors there since the moratorium on jury service was ordered in mid-March.
Jury summons are on the way for some in Bexar County
SAN ANTONIO For the first time in three months, Bexar County is summoning residents for jury duty. They are for grand jury service, not the petit jury service most people typically receive. Were going to use a grand jury process as sort of a test run before we actually bring in any jurors for jury trials, Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel said. Civil district courts in Bexar County prepare to reopen after months-long closureBexar County courtrooms soon to have new lookRangel said those type summons would not be sent out until September when jury trials are expected to resume. Of the 320 summons sent, Rangel said that he expects about 80 people will serve.