Municipal court goes virtual in response to COVID-19 outbreak

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Chase Rogers

The San Marcos City Council passed an ordinance encouraging the use of cite-and-release during its first reading on Tuesday, April 7, with four members voting in favor and three opposing it. The final vote to confirm the ordinance will take place April 21.

Daniella Carrera, News Reporter

The Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Office of Court Administration approved a new law allowing for the virtual coordination of court operations, promoting the City of San Marcos Municipal Court to begin incorporating these new tools and procedures starting April 14.

The law allows virtual arraignments, pretrial hearings, attorney dockets, show cause docket and most hearings including trials by the judge.

Jury trials will be postponed until it is safe to meet in large groups.

The Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Office of Court Administration approved these modifications to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to virtual court operations in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said the county should utilize cite-and-release as “much as possible.” Cite-and-release would lead to the arrest of only “severe” cases.

Individuals concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or the Hays County Local Health Department at 512.393.5520. For additional information about COVID-19, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services or the Centers for Disease Control website.

The University Star’s COVID-19 coverage can be found here.


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