Wheels of justice in Texas slowed by damage from Harvey

HOUSTON (AP) — Hurricane Harvey’s winds and heavy rains have slowed court proceedings in several Texas communities where courthouses were heavily damaged.

The damage has caused delays in trials and a backlog of cases. Some cities and counties are also seeing a lack of jurors because so many people have been displaced.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors are worried the slowdown of criminal cases could delay justice for victims and defendants waiting for their day in court.

The areas affected include Houston, Aransas County along the Gulf Coast and Orange County near the Texas-Louisiana border. Officials in those communities have had to relocate courtrooms and jury assembly areas into whatever spaces are available, including shuttered storefronts and a cafeteria.

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Officials say they are working to keep courts operating as normally as possible and addressing concerns about trial delays.