ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — There have been no criminal trials in Taylor County since March, and as cases continue to pile up, clerks are trying to find a way to resume session while keeping everyone safe.
The answer could be in some larger spaces around town, including the Taylor County Expo Center.
During fair season, the Taylor County Expo Center is all about rides, food, and competition. But when the excitement is over and the thrills are gone, the fun and games will be replaced with law and order.
“I know for us it’s about 750 jury trials that are pending,” says Taylor County District Clerk Tammy Robinson.
The 350th District Court is sounding the gavel after months of silence, the only question was how they were going to do it.
“Currently we do jury duty in the central jury room on the first floor of the courthouse, and due to the space restrictions, we were left with 68 chairs that are six feet apart from each other. Typically speaking, on a Monday morning we would call in 150,” Robinson says.
Judges were looking for a bigger indoor space, which can be found at the Expo Center, as the display building and round building are both big enough for jury selection.
“I think just the logical thought was the Expo Center,” Robinson says. “I think we can get 300 chairs in there six feet apart.”
With the space issue taken care of, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office takes care of the rest of the safety measures.
“There will be a lot more deputies on hand to direct people where they need to be and get them through into the building as efficiently as possible,” says Sgt. Cliff Griffin, Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.
For now we’re still enjoying the fair, but soon others will be getting a fair trial.
“Technology has come a long way and it’s amazing to me that we can pick up a jury and take it somewhere else,” Robinson said.
If courts do get the green light, trials will begin in October. The 350th District Court is just one of three courts in the county, all of which are backlogged.
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