Justice With Attitude

February 4, 2009

The Chronicle reports today that Judge John Paul Barnich, the first openly gay man to become a city court judge in Texas, has just passed away.  Having left Texas in 1984 and not moving back until 2002, I had never heard of Barnich.  He sounds like a tremendous guy:

Barnich, friends and associates recalled Tuesday, was an empathetic man with a wry sense of humor. Increasingly hobbled by his illness, Barnich sometimes admitted to friends, “Well, I guess my days of dancing with the Bolshoi are over.”

“He was a round, jolly-looking fellow with long white hair and beard,” Kirkland said. “Occasionally he would look at defendants from the bench and say, ‘Who do you think I am, Santa Claus?’ ” Defendants invariably would be taken aback because of the resemblance, Kirkland said.

When questioned during a City Council hearing to confirm his appointment about how a gay judge would differ from a heterosexual judge, he responded that he would upgrade the courtroom’s sound system in order to play show tunes. On the occasion of his pet iguana’s fifth birthday, he gave the reptile a party featuring a mariachi band, said his longtime friend Jennifer Rantz.

Barnich was also a past chairman of the board for AIDS Foundation Houston.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: