Breckenridge Texan

District Court conducts hearings via videoconferencing app

District Court conducts hearings via videoconferencing app
April 10
09:46 2020

The 90th Judicial District Attorney’s Office marked a milestone last week as it participated in two remote plea hearings which resulted in the disposition of three felony cases, according to a news release from the DA’s office.

The plea hearings are a first for the district attorney’s office and the 90th Judicial District Court in that they were conducted remotely through Zoom, an online videoconferencing app. The app brought
together not only the district attorney’s office, the defendants, their counsel, and the district court but also included the probation office as well as the respective district clerks representing Young and
Stephens Counties.

The videoconferenced plea hearings were necessary because of the need for everyone to social distance from each other during the coronavirus threat. Both defendants were incarcerated with one being in the Young County Detention Center and the other in the Stephens County Jail.

District Attorney Dee Peavy said in the written statement that she would like to thank Sheriff Travis Babcock of Young County and Sheriff Will Holt of Stephens County for making arrangements for their respective inmates to participate remotely in the hearings. She is also appreciative of their respective staffs for assisting in the successful implementation of this program as well. Additionally, she would like to thank the probation department and the district clerk’s offices for Young and Stephens counties. Lastly, she would like to thank the Hon. Stephen Bristow, District Judge for the 90th Judicial District Court, for his assistance in getting the program off of the ground and operational in such a short period of time.

Such methods for disposing of felony cases have been adopted to help to ensure that COVID-19 is not introduced into the various law enforcement centers and it further assists Young and Stephens counties in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in general. Peavy anticipates that the two successful trial runs will translate into more hearings being handled that way.

The alternative method of addressing pending felony cases and disposing of them helps to minimize the impact that courthouse shut-downs are having across the State of Texas.

Peavy said she also wants to recognize local bonding companies that have pledged their support in helping to manage their individual bond caseloads in such a manner as to maintain the orderly setting and conducting of hearings via Zoom conferencing and other methods.

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