Learn about civil courts Get to know Decide Mary Lou Alvarez Must the Pride flag be allowed in a courtroom?

Hello and welcome to the 3rd version of the Open up Courtroom newsletter, which was…

Hello and welcome to the 3rd version of the Open up Courtroom newsletter, which was sent to subscribers this early morning. I’m KSAT journalist Erica Hernandez. I’m creating this no cost e-newsletter every other 7 days and when huge information breaks. Indicator up for this or other cost-free KSAT newsletters here or submit your e-mail down below.

As a demo junkie, I have always been fascinated in felony conditions — these are generally the proceedings that make information protection. But what about the civil aspect, a huge and at times missed component of the courtroom method?

Right after likely through the foster-to-undertake system with my minimal girl, I was intrigued by the large vary of circumstances that civil judges deal with. They include lawsuits, housing disputes and evictions, divorces, custody battles, personal bankruptcy, boy or girl welfare circumstances, adoptions, immigration and so substantially more.


In the course of the pandemic, the Bexar County civil court judges have been functioning hard to make absolutely sure circumstances have been nevertheless read and moved along the method. They initiated a digital bench trial pilot plan and finally heard jury trials over Zoom.

On Tuesday, I wrote about a civil scenario involving a new point out legislation that provides restrictions to voter registration and I will carry on bringing you the most attention-grabbing tales from both equally sides of the courtroom system.

Here’s a glance at trials and court docket proceedings we can hope in the coming months. Dates are matter to adjust simply because of likely delays, rescheduling or plea bargains staying achieved.


Jessica Briones: mom accused of killing her 4-calendar year-old daughter struggling with a cost of intentional personal injury to a baby — hearing set for June 24.

Roy Hernandez: accused in the 1999 murder of his wife was billed with murder in 2017 — trial established for July 6.

Otis McKane: accused of killing SAPD detective Benjamin Marconi — trial established for July 12.

Decide Mary Lou Alvarez

Choose Mary Lou Alvarez (Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All legal rights reserved.)

Decide Mary Lou Alvarez is a legitimate superwoman and purpose design. She is a one mother, engineer, law firm, and now, a choose.


She has presided in excess of the 45th civil district courtroom considering that Jan. 1, 2019. She was a component of the blue wave of judges that won in the 2018 election.

Alvarez was born in Karnes Town but raised in San Antonio and graduated from Incarnate Phrase Significant Faculty.

Alvarez experienced constantly wished to be a lawyer but initially, turned an engineer. She was an industrial engineer for two yrs immediately after graduating from Stanford, but then legislation faculty came contacting. She received her regulation degree at Seton Corridor Legislation. Right after graduating she began her occupation as a Federal Law Clerk with the honorable Ron Clark of the Eastern District Court docket of Texas, then worked for a defense company in Dallas, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, then returned to San Antonio to represent victims of domestic violence in divorce, custody, protective order and CPS conditions.

When not working tricky at the rear of the bench, she is a single mother of two youngsters. She enjoys preparing out of doors activities with them and discovering parks and museums in San Antonio.


Just after living on both equally the West Coast and East Coastline, why does she keep on to remain in the Alamo Metropolis?

“I adore that San Antonio is the largest modest town our state, and possibly our region, has to offer,” Alvarez explained. “If you grew up in San Antonio, you are possibly 3 levels of separation with everyone else who grew up in SA.”

And if you ever want to get this choose a breakfast taco make absolutely sure it has beans in it.

“Bean and Cheese, unless of course I’m emotion adventurous then it is Bean & Bacon or Bean & Brisket but no make a difference what, the beans have to have to be excellent,” Alvarez mentioned.

There are usually phrases utilised in a courtroom that audio additional like lawful jargon than organic language. Even just after yrs of covering court proceedings, I occasionally have to look up phrases to refresh my memory or make positive I absolutely realize what is going on. In every publication, I will include a distinct word or phrase in this lawful glossary segment so that we can develop our awareness and comprehending of the courtroom with each other.


Load of proof: This is the duty to show disputed info. In civil conditions, a plaintiff commonly has the burden of proving his or her situation. In criminal conditions, the governing administration has the load of proving the defendant’s guilt. The threshold for burden of proof is greater in prison conditions, this means that prosecutors have a higher bar to apparent than an individual filing a lawsuit.

A few of weeks ago, I did a story of Judge Rosie Gonzalez’s battle to get the rainbow Pride flag back again in her courtroom following she was requested to remove it in 2019 subsequent a grievance with the state judicial fee.

I was blown away by the social media reaction to this story. Feedback ranged from these in support for her receiving the flag back again or from any other flag but these of Texas and the United States getting in a courtroom. And, of class, there had been the rude remarks sprinkled in as well.


It was attention-grabbing to see how quite a few people today have been reacting to this difficulty. Currently, Gonzalez has an charm pending with the Texas Condition Fee on Judicial Perform. That charm could be listened to at some level later this calendar year.

Regardless of this tale producing over two a long time, I felt Pleasure Month was significant second to do an update. Judging from the feedback, quite a few have robust inner thoughts about it.

I did some exploration to see if this has been an difficulty in other states. The only factor I could uncover is a lawsuit in California where a number of point out reps there have been sued in excess of the rainbow flag on screen exterior their Capitol offices. A trial courtroom did dismiss that lawsuit but an enchantment was submitted and is pending.

In Texas, the LGBTQ group views Gonzalez’s charm as pivotal in their struggle for inclusion.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All legal rights reserved.