October 19, 2021


Shopping Works Wonders

District courts reopen after nearly year-long hiatus

Ector County Sheriff’s Workplace deputy JJ Garcia, left, watches as site visitors wander by way of a safety checkpoint as they enter the Ector County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon in Odessa. (Eli Hartman | Odessa American)

Ector County’s point out district courts returned to stay, in-individual court docket proceedings this 7 days right after remaining pressured to function almost for approximately just one yr owing to COVID-19 and judges, lawyers and even bailiffs couldn’t be happier.

Jury picks for numerous conditions were being held very last Friday so that trials could begin quickly, 244th District Decide James Rush said on Tuesday.

“It’s so great to be back again in court docket yet again,” Rush said. “I’m so very pleased of our group for displaying up for jury responsibility — we experienced a lot of juror’s switch out. We’re by now in the center of a scenario.”

Because of to the COVID-imposed closedown, prison trials experienced to be postponed, so there is a very long backlog of conditions pending, Rush said.

“We were being able to have hearings on Zoom, but not any prison trials,” Rush said. “The U.S. Constitution ensures that anyone has a suitable to a community trial. We couldn’t do that on Zoom.”

“You will need to have a jury present, alongside with witnesses.”

Odessa legal professional Bobby Bland agrees. Even while hearings continued to be held through Zoom all through the pandemic, that to experienced its issues and restrictions.

“You shed anything when you have a hearing on Zoom on the web …,” said Bland. “You simply cannot interact the exact same way as you would if you were being collectively in just one place.”

The changeover to Zoom took some patience on everyone’s component, said Bland, who recently retired as Ector County’s District Legal professional.

“Just attempting to figure out how to share screens to present paperwork would gradual factors down,” he said. “It transformed how all the things flowed.”