Travis County DA secures convictions after in-person jury trials resume

The Travis County District Attorney's office has secured convictions in two of the first three in-person criminal jury trials to proceed to resolution over the last two years.

In-person court proceedings and jury trials resumed in Travis County on Feb. 28, after a hiatus for most of the past two years due to COVID-19

"Resuming in-person criminal trials is crucial to make sure justice is served, to bring peace to the victims and provide them with closure," said DA José Garza. "Our office will seek justice for every victim of violent crime."

On March 1, James Douglas Harris pled guilty to the offense Assault Family Violence Strangulation with a Prior Family Violence Conviction after jury selection began. He will be sentenced in April, says the DA's office.

In November 2020, Harris was arrested and charged with Assault with Injury Family Violence/Strangulation. 

On March 2, after the trial started and the state presented evidence, Santos Penaloza-Enriquez declined to continue with the trial and instead pled guilty to Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. He was sentenced to serve 12 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.  

The victim filed a report with the Austin Police Department (APD) in July 2013, and reported that the first offense took place in June 2009. Penaloza-Enriquez fled and was subsequently arrested and taken into custody in October 2020, says the DA's office.

Travis County Court system returns to in-person with over 200 pending trials
Williamson County holds first in-person jury trials since last March
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