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Jury service, trials suspended in Bexar County over coronavirus concerns

A letter from Judge Ron Rangel of the 37th District Court, jury service is suspected from March 16 to April 16.

SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County officials have temporarily suspended jury service over concerns of the potential spread of coronavirus.

According to a letter from Judge Ron Rangel of the 379th District Court, jury trials are suspended from March 16 to April 16. The letter states anyone who receives a summons during those dates should disregard the summons and they won't be penalized

Read the full letter below: 

JUDGE, 379th DISTRICT COURT CADENA-REEVES JUSTICE CENTER . . 300 DOLOROSA, SUITE 4.129 Tricia Austin SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 78205-: Rachelle Young Coordinator (210) 335-2911 - Fax: (210) 335-2472 Court Reporter March 13, 2020 After careful consideration and conferring with fellow jurists, Ihave decided to temporarily suspend jury service in Bexar County.

This comes after the announcement of the first travel-related case of the coronavirus in San Antonio. This is the first case outside of the federal quarantine at JBSA-Lackland.

Rangel clarified Friday afternoon that civil and criminal cases reaching certain statutory deadlines would be prioritized and that the courthouse would continue to function. 

“I am asking all courts and all judges to reduce their dockets, make sure there is no more than 15 cases set," Rangel said. "We want to limit the amount of individuals in the courtroom.”

Local criminal defense attorney Joseph Hoelscher said the move will delay justice for victims and defendants.

“On the criminal side, it means people who are on bond or waiting for justice, aren’t going to get a resolution in their cases until this is resolved,” Hoelscher said.

Rangel said he's working with Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales to ensure that cases already pegged for dismissal are fast tracked to ensure a smooth docket and that he's also working with judge Peter Sakai to handle civil cases on the verge of statutory deadlines on a case-by-case basis.

Rangel said he will work to address any issues that may arise as judicial leaders navigate the uncharted territory.

“Anything we can do to help any other judge and any other kind of case is something which we will consider and which we will enact,” Rangel said.

Editor's Note: KENS 5 is reporting on the coronavirus pandemic with facts, not fear. Here are some resources to answer your questions about coronavirus from local and state health officials: