WOAI: Bexar County Courts Match up on dv cases – quoted


SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Commissioners have taken a major step today to catch up with a huge backlog of domestic violence cases.

News 4’s Joe Galli is here for you with the details and how the pandemic has compounded a problem that has lasted for years.

Bexar County courts catchup on backlog of domestic violence cases (SBG San Antonio)

“I think we can celebrate a win today but there is a lot of work in our future and we cannot let up,” said Judge Monique Diaz, 150th Civil District Court.

Bexar County Commissioners approved the addition of a new associate judge to help handle child welfare cases as well as dozens of other positions in our domestic violence courts. Including prosecutors, coordinators, and people who can assist with family violence services.

According to data compiled by The San Antonio Bar Association, Bexar County has a shortage of judges when compared to other metropolitan counties.

Which means our judges have more cases and less time handle them.

It’s a problem we’ve had for years.

“Right now, often times our cases are spaced anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes apart and that is a disservice to our families,” said Judge Rosie Alvarado, 438th Civil District. “Sure, we can check the boxes but it’s very important that we dig down deeper and roll down deeper to evaluate the cases to ensure our children are protected.”

The pandemic is also a major driver adding a more domestic violence cases to an already packed case load.

“What we have seen with COVID, especially with the stay-at-home orders that were initially issued, we had victim stuck at home with their abusers and unable to access their support systems, unable to reach out for help and those people are starting to come forward now,” said Judge Diaz.

Since part of the problem is pandemic related, the money being used to pay for these new positions is coming from the American Rescue Plan.

This is not going to be the end I’ll be all to fix the backlog of family violence cases. The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office is also looking to add 4 more investigators to its team. Commissioners should be looking at that during the first meeting of the new year.

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