The Courts of Williamson County remain open, and this order is entered into with the intent of ensuring that defendants in felony cases may be heard in the District Courts with Felony Jurisdiction in Williamson County.
Because of the state of emergency ordered by the Governor, and in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court ORDERS that, until further order, hearings in felony cases are restricted to the following issues:
- Emergency Hearings; and
- Bail Hearings.
Additionally, because of the public health risk associated with in-person gatherings as articulated in various executive orders issued by the President, Governor, and County Judge, the court ORDERS that EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020, hearings in felony cases shall be conducted exclusively on an electronic basis, and in conformance with the “Procedure for Setting and Conducting Electronic & Telephone Court Hearings in Felony Cases” attached as Exhibit A.
As in previously adopted orders, the Court reminds counsel that we take seriously our obligation to balance the interest of justice and the health and safety of our courthouse community and the community at large, and we request patience as our processes continue to evolve with this exigency.
IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 24th DAY OF MARCH, 2020
Click here for the signed order.
PROCEDURE FOR SETTING AND CONDUCTING
ELECTRONIC & TELEPHONE COURT HEARINGS IN FELONY CASES
- Hearings in Felony cases are limited to Pleas, Emergency Hearings, and Bail Hearings.
- Hearings will be conducted electronically using the Microsoft Teams application. In the event a hearing or other meeting is scheduled you will receive an email with a calendar invitation to the meeting. At the appointed time, all invitees will join the meeting by selecting the link provided.
- Counsel may access Microsoft Teams to join a meeting anytime, from any device, with or without a Microsoft Teams account. To join as a guest:
- You will receive an email from the Court with a link to “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting.” Click on this link.
- It will bring you to a webpage where you can choose to “Download the Teams App” or “Join on the Web.” You can choose either one.
- If you are on a desktop computer, “Join on the Web” is easiest. Note: You must use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your web-browser to use Teams on the web.
- If you are using a mobile device, downloading the Teams App is easiest.
- It will ask you to allow Teams to use your Audio and Video from your computer (you must have a camera and a microphone), and it will ask you to type in your name and click “Join Now.”
- This will place you in the “Lobby” for the Videoconference to begin.
- The person coordinating the call will let you into the Videoconferenc