Judge David A. Sanchez, of the 444th State District Court, issued a statement on Wednesday regarding Cameron County reporting one of his employees testing positive for COVID-19.
Sanchez said that since March 12, his court has not had any members of the public access to his courtroom for any business taking place. He stated all hearings for his court have been held via Zoom.
On Friday, Cameron County health officials announced that an employee of the 444th state District Court along with 18 other county employees had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“All hearings have been held via Zoom (electronically by video) where not one lawyer, not one party, not one witness, not one staff member was required or even requested to be present in-person for any proceedings,” Sanchez said in the statement.
Sanchez stated that it would not be worth the risk of anyone becoming ill to schedule any in-person hearings, and therefore, has not. Jury trials are scheduled months in advance in order for the court to keep its case docket moving; however, during these trying times, jury trials are out of the question, and have been re-scheduled.
The judge added he would “not place anyone’s health at risk if that means re-scheduling jury trials until late 2021 or even 2022 in order to avoid litigants, their attorneys, and witnesses from being placed at risk as well as to avoid placing members of the public(the jury pool) at risk.”