Michelle Barrientes Vela to stand trial and meet new juvenile court judge Raul Perales
Flowers are blooming, the weather is warming up and the courthouses are bustling.
Since reopening, many cases have started to be cleared, helping to reduce the backlog.
In the first three weeks, about 400 cases were resolved, but the district attorney’s office said it would take several more years to catch up.
“By some estimates, the backlog of cases pending before the courts may take at least three years for the courts to catch up,” District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a statement to KSAT 12.
In these three weeks, we have seen many cases end in pleas and the resolution of a 1987 cold case capital murder trial.
Looking ahead this spring, we can expect more defendants to spend their day in court, including that of indicted ex-constable Michelle Barrientes Vela.
She faces charges of falsifying government documents. Dillion Collier will cover this trial and it will be broadcast live on KSAT.com.
It will surely be a test not to be missed.
The folder :
jonathan johnson – charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of two people and wounding two others in February 2019. His trial is set to begin April 19.
Michelle Barrientes Vela — The former Bexar County Constable is accused of falsifying government records and her trial is set to begin on April 25.
D’Lanny Chairez – Accused of tampering with evidence in her son’s death, Chairez’s trial has been repeatedly postponed. From now on it should start April 27.
Get to know Associate Judge Raul Perales
Born and raised in San Antonio, Associate Judge Raul Perales was recently appointed to Bexar County Children’s Court.
Perales is the youngest of seven siblings and a Fox Tech graduate.
After high school, Perales attended UTSA and then Thurgood Marshall Law School in Houston.
Before becoming a judge, Perales had a private practice and then worked in the district attorney’s office as a prosecutor in cases representing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
In March, he was appointed to help Judge Charles Montemayor and Judge Kimberly Burley hear CPS cases involving child abuse, neglect and domestic violence.
“These cases, I can tell you that there are people working tirelessly to achieve the common goal of keeping children safe and helping families,” Perales said.
When not in the courtroom, Perales enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters, playing basketball and taking Zumba classes with his wife.
As for his favorite morning taco, he said nothing beats homemade.
“It must be my mom’s chorizo with beans and chili,” Perales said.
There are often terms used in a courtroom that sound more like legalese than natural language. Even after years of covering legal proceedings, I sometimes have to search for words to jog my memory or make sure I understand them correctly. In each newsletter, I include a different word or phrase so that we can deepen our knowledge and understanding of the courtroom together.
Hearsay: Often you will hear lawyers take issue with something a witness says by citing hearsay. This essentially means that the witness did not actually hear or see something in question, but only heard or learned about it from a second-hand source. It is generally not admissible as evidence in court, but there could be exceptions to the rule.
I have something new to do that I’m happy to talk about. A true crime podcast is in the works alongside KSAT 12 reporter Leigh Waldman. We can both chat for hours about real crime pods and documentaries, so it was only natural for us to create one.
For the past few years, I’ve been doing crime stories as part of South Texas Crime Stories. This series will now include the new podcast. It will debut later this month.
Watch for more details in this newsletter on how you can listen. I look forward to this new way of reaching our viewers who may be interested in true crime stories and want to learn more about the crimes that have happened in San Antonio and our surrounding areas.
Thanks for reading,
Erica Hernandez, KSAT 12 Court Reporter
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