Texas legal news in 2021 not only reflected the debates and court disputes being heard all across the country, but also frequently led those conversations. Each day through the end of the year, Androvett Legal Media & Marketing takes a look at the Top 10 Texas Legal Stories that shaped 2021.
Shuttered Courthouses Reopen for In-Person Trials
Thanks to the pandemic, civil and criminal courts started 2021 in a full embrace of remote technology for hearings and for trials for low-level criminal offenses and certain civil matters.
By February 2021, Texas courts had logged a million proceedings conducted via remote technology. But it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. Presidio County attorney Rod Ponton made headlines when he was unable to figure out how to turn off a cat filter during a Zoom hearing in Texas’ 394th Judicial District Court. His anguished “I’m here live. I’m not a cat.” was the laugh everyone needed coming out of the shutdown.
Trials for jailable offenses and major civil cases were largely off the table until March 5 when the Texas Supreme Court reopened courthouses for in-person civil and criminal jury trials. The order allowed for in-person court business without the previously required state safety review, while mask requirements and social distancing were left up to local officials.
The pandemic shutdown created a backlog of cases that could take years to overcome, but the reliance on technology did have some positive results. Judges and lawyers on both sides of the bar saw firsthand that videoconference technology can be an effective and efficient way to conduct certain court proceedings, depositions, arbitrations, and mediations.
For more information, please contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.