Parker names lesbian to head municipal courts

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.

—  David Taffet