Parker names lesbian to head municipal courts

Posted on 29 Apr 2010 at 4:12pm

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has named Municipal Court Judge Barbara E. Hartle, 50, as chief presiding judge of the city’s municipal courts.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund lists Hartle as one of only a few out members of the Texas judiciary. Others are also from the Houston area.

“I believe Judge Hartle has the leadership qualities needed to direct our city’s court system to be even more responsive and efficient,” Parker said in a press release. “She is the only candidate with previous experience — both within and outside of Houston – in law enforcement, prosecution, administration, and judicial matters.”

Former Mayor Bill White, who’s currently running for governor, appointed Hartle municipal judge in April 2009. Before that, she served as an associate municipal judge.

OutSmart magazine reports that Hartle and her partner met in 1993. They have two children. Their daughter is also a lesbian and has two children.

Before moving to Houston, Hartle lived in Austin where her experience included serving as a guardianship attorney at the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, regional attorney for adult protective services at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, staff attorney for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice State Counsel for Offenders, and assistant city attorney for the city of Austin.

The court system that Hartle will head is the largest municipal court in Texas and one of the largest nationwide.

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