SAN ANTONIO – Since reopening to in-person jury trials, some backlogged cases have began to clear out.
In the past three weeks, nearly 400 cases have been cleared in the Bexar County Criminal District Courts.
“Four hundred on top of what we are already moving is a significant number of cases and it’s definitely going to reduce our backlogs,” 379th District Court Judge Ron Rangel stated.
Most of these cases have ended with plea offers as defendants confronted potential jury trials.
“(COVID) numbers have really improved and as a result of that we are seeing cases move much faster,” Rangel stated.
Courts have reopened to in-person trials twice because the pandemic began, however with fewer jury panels seated every week.
Now, due to the decrease positivity rate, about 40 panels may be seated every week amongst all courts.
(*3*) Rangel stated.
The hope is that numbers keep low in order that justice may be served in many extra cases which were pending for years.
“This is something everybody wants to see,” Rangel stated.
District Attorney Joe Gonzales additionally commented concerning the current clearance in cases and despatched KSAT 12 this assertion:
“During the suspension of jury trials, our office continued to try to negotiate plea deals on the tens of thousands of pending cases. We know that fewer than 10% of criminal cases are resolved by trial, but oftentimes an agreement cannot be reached until a jury is waiting in the hallway. In fact, that happened just last week in a case of a defendant who opened fire on a police officer. While we are definitely resolving more cases this year than in 2021, the number of pleas is still about 200 fewer compared to the same time in 2019. By some estimates, the backlog of cases pending in the courts may take at least three years for the courts to catch up. Productive weeks like we have seen these last three weeks not only help with that backlog, it also brings justice to victims of crime.”
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