For more than a decade, misdemeanor family violence cases have been assigned to County Court 7 and County Court 13. When the COVID-19 protocols were put into place, all courts ceased having jury trials and most moved to virtual hearings – a much slower process than in-person hearings. As you can see from the Bexar County District Attorney’s Family Violence Dashboard Bexar County misdemeanor family violence courts have seen their dockets increase by more than 50%. This week, more than half of the County Court Judges have agreed to begin taking on these cases.
“When these misdemeanor family violence courts were created, the volume of cases was significantly lower than it is today. With more than 4,500 family violence cases pending right now, thousands of survivors are facing a very long wait for justice. These cases being assigned to more courts means they will get even more attention by our staff, judges and, eventually, juries. It may also lead to quicker and more successful prosecutions of family violence cases. I am grateful the judges recognize the importance of these cases and that they are willing to increase their workload to help their fellow judges. We have spent many hours working with the judiciary to find the most efficient means of seeking justice for these survivors. Today’s announcement is one of the most significant changes to the court system in Bexar County,” said District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
The following judges have agreed to take on misdemeanor family violence cases with Judge Michael De Leon (County Court 7) and Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez (County Court 13): Judge Alfredo Ximenez (County Court 4), Judge John Longoria (County Court 5), Judge Mary Roman (County Court 8), Judge Tommy Stolhandske (County Court 11), Judge Carlo Key (County Court 14) and Judge Melissa Vara (County Court 15).