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THE COURTS AND COVID: WHAT'S NEXT?

In short the answer is, who the hell knows? Unless you're a virologist, your guess is as good as everyone else's. But here's what we do know – in the six months since this jurisprudential lockdown started, the courts, for the most part, have not been reckless in their decisions that effect our health. In Bexar County, the dockets went virtual, the main jury room in the basement is silent, and the halls, otherwise swarming with suits, are empty. All of these changes were done in the name of public health. So now that kids are going back to school, what can we anticipate?

Well, where trial are concerned, there's still a pandemic going on and social distancing and conducting a trial is all but impossible under the old standards. Pre-pandemic in Bexar County, the grand jury room was loaded to the gills every morning with hundreds of summoned jurors waiting to be filtered to various courtrooms throughout the courts. Now, with social distancing standards, constant fever checks for prospective jurors that leave and enter the building, and an impending sense that at any moment a witness in any trial could feel a shortness of breath still makes for a very shaky confidence that trials will begin any time soon.

Are there ways around it? Can trials be conducted safely? Maybe. Maybe, we can pick a jury in the Alamodome (or its equal) where prospective jurors can space several feet apart. Maybe, the chosen jurors can occupy the benches in the courtroom rather than the jury box. Maybe the attorneys can operate behind spit guards while witnesses testify from sealed booths. Maybe such extreme measures can happen. Maybe tomorrow, a new study appears that shows that all of these measures are useless against this threat. However, even in these circumstance, no trials like this will happen with efficiency.

But what about the day-to-day operations of the court. Someone once said, "Necessity is the mother of invention." That seems pretty true with the innovations we've seen in the previous months. Now, attorneys are able to confer with prosecutors at any point over FaceTime or Zoom. Plea paperwork is signed and shifted back and forth on Adobe formats. Pleas before a judge and court reporter are held online with the option for public viewing on YouTube. These innovations, now that they're here, may never go away. Now, attorneys may be able to work with their clients from different parts of the world. Clients who used to have to drive hundreds of miles every couple of months for their day in court can do it from their living rooms. It's tough to find a silver lining to the times were living in right now, but this should be considered as one of them at the end of the day.

But I return to the first answer that I gave to the question of "What's next?" The answer is the same: Who the hell knows?

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THE COURTS AND COVID: WHAT'S NEXT?

In short the answer is, who the hell knows? Unless you're a virologist, your guess is as good as everyone else's. But here's what we do know – in the six months since this ...
Continue reading "THE COURTS AND COVID: WHAT'S NEXT?" »

"THIS WILL GO A LOT BETTER FOR YOU IF YOU JUST TALK TO ME" (And other lies your arresting officer will undoubtedly tell you during your first date)

Okay, so it's not a date, its an interrogation by a guy with a badge either on the side of your car or in a police station interview room. Unfortunately, most people in this situation make the ...
Continue reading ""THIS WILL GO A LOT BETTER FOR YOU IF YOU JUST TALK TO ME" (And other lies your arresting officer will undoubtedly tell you during your first date)" »

TEXAS: DESPERATELY IN NEED OF AN OIL CHANGE (Issues Surrounding THC Oil and Current Texas Laws)

God help the poor kids who cross the border between Colorado and Texas with hash oil thinking the consequences of getting arrested are minor. Let's say it was bought legally in some Boulder ...
Continue reading "TEXAS: DESPERATELY IN NEED OF AN OIL CHANGE (Issues Surrounding THC Oil and Current Texas Laws)" »

Assault - Family Violence: "Initial Concerns at the Time of Your Arrest

There is no question that family violence assaults occur? However, false allegations occur as well. In times of great stress, it's very easy for someone to call in a false report on an assault. ...
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Miranda - "You Gotta Fight For Your Right . . . To Remain Silent"

Too often, my clients believe the silver bullet to their case is the officer did not read them their Miranda rights. This leads to the uncomfortable conversation that Miranda will often not apply to ...
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Welcome to Our New Website and Blog!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new blog!
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