Lubbock courts still behind amid the pandemic

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Over one year ago, COVID-19 took a toll on all court cases as the courts took measures to keep individuals safe.

Amid the pandemic, last year’s hearings were moved to zoom, and jury trials were postponed. Judge William Eichman II of the 364th district court said they had business to do and had to move forward.

“Now, we’re having multiple trials each week. And if we have a big jury panel, like on a murder case, we need more jurors to select a jury from or potential jurors. We’re picking the jury at Central jury pool right now to spread them out a little more,” Eichman said.

According to Eichman, he hopes there aren’t any other variants that will cause delays because of how backlogged their dockets are.

“Just because when you don’t have the thread of trial, you don’t move cases as much by guilty pleas–things of that nature. When you have the thread of trial, it moves cases we have that now, so you think we’re going to get back and reduce the backlog in the coming year,” said Eichman.

KLBK News asked Judge Eichman, “those in the Lubbock jail charged with murder waiting on trial or plea on how long they should expect to wait?”

“Those that have been in jail for the longest period of time take priority–unless a motion for speedy trial has been filed. A motion for speedy trial would take first priority murder cases, people that have been in jail a long time our second priority if they even if they haven’t filed a motion for a speedy trial.”

Also, saying that it depends on the court dockets.

“We understand that we need to go forward and try as many cases as possible, reduce the backlog, get back to normal,” Eichman said.

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