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Cameron County judge handles cases without courtroom

With almost a year on the job without a courtroom to operate in, Judge Shelia Garcia-Bence believes her and and her staff have adjusted accordingly.

With almost a year on the job without a courtroom to operate in, Judge Shelia Garcia-Bence believes her and and her staff have adjusted accordingly.

In her court, Garcia-Bence takes all the probate matters, guardianship matters and the mental health hearings.

"That is a criminal docket that works with the District Attorney’s Office, with Tropical of Texas and with our court for people who have mental health problems and they also have a criminal case pending," Garcia-Bence said.

Currently, Garcia-Bence's court sees about 20 probate cases a week.

In 2016, more than 6,000 criminal cases were filed. Since Garcia-Bence decided to take probate, guardianship and mental health hearings, it's opened the court to hear more criminal cases.

"To hear them faster, to move through their civil dockets faster," said Garcia-Bence "I think, overall, it helps the county in general."

Garcia-Bence says that her courtroom should be ready by the end of the year.

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