BELL COUNTY, Texas – Since the state-wide ban of gatherings of ten or more people, courts have had to readjust their approach to providing speedy trials for folks in Bell County – but thanks to the use of technology, this is happening.

It’s probably not at the same pace the court is used to. However, essential court cases are still going forward – causing courts to carefully prioritize some cases over others.

“The priority right now is for individuals that are in custody and working to the disposition of those cases, and right now that’s the top priority,” says Henry Garza, Bell County District Attorney.

Technology is playing a key role in maintaining court dates by performing these cases on digital platforms.

Plea hearings, motion hearings and sentencing hearings have all been conducted using teleconferencing.

Garza says the district’s I.T. teams have been working overtime to stay on schedule with hearings by having court.

“I have a lawyer in my office who is connected remotely to the judge, to a defense attorney, to a court reporter, to an inmate in the Bell County Jail, and they’re right now having a hearing,” Garza said.

It takes a large group effort to pull it off, but Garza says some days when everything is running smoothly, they still manage to get dozens of cases heard.

“Last week, one of the days we were able to move through I think 17 cases in one day,” said Garza.

Though the backlog from postponing non-essential court cases and hearings is inevitable, it’s something Garza calls expected and necessary.

“The end of this year and next year are going to be, I think, very busy times for the courts. We understand that, but the consequence is it’s something that has to happen, and it has to happen because to do otherwise and bring groups up here, we put everybody in danger,” he says.