BROWNSVILLE — As businesses begin to reopen in Texas, courthouses across the state remain closed to jury trials and jury selections, according to the Texas Office of Court Administration.
On June 1st, counties can resume nonessential proceedings, if the courts are ready to opt-in and follow state health guidelines.
In Cameron County, Texas’ most southern district court, the plan hasn’t been fully fleshed out. Sometime in May, judges and court officials will meet.
“In that meeting with the all the judges, the county judge, the district attorney, the district clerk who is in charge of the juries, the medical personnel that the county judge uses, etc, we’re going to need to lay out a plan on how to conduct these hearings and these trials,” said 107th District Court Judge Benjamin Euresti Jr.
For nearly two months, Judges have held hearings via webcam and only essential hearings are done in person. In accordance with the OCA’s guidelines, jury selections and jury trials are nonessential because of the vast number of people needed for trials to proceed.
“We have between 300 and 350 jurors seated in the central jury room shoulder-to-shoulder, that’s a lot of people.”
Before the June 1st date, judges, the district attorney’s office, medical examiners, and others will discuss what’s safe and what can be done to keep trials from backing up even furthe
Judge Euresti Jr. anticipates courtrooms are “going to have a lot of jury trials after June 1st.”