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Judge Watch: RIP Judge Jerry Buchmeyer

The Honorable Jerry Buchmeyer died this week in a San Marcos nursing home at the age of 76, after serving the bench for over 30 years.  Considered by many to be a liberal judge, with landmark decisions involving both public housing and redistricting in this state, he achieved even more notoriety for his now famous sense of humor. 

His blog, Say What?!, technically made Judge Buchmeyer one of the first “blawggers” in our state, and certainly, one of the first jurists to become a blogger.   The posts themselves are repeats of his beloved column in the Texas Bar Journal, entitled “et cetera,” where each month lawyers, judges, and others involved in the legal profession could get a good chuckle from the Judge’s selection of real-life courtroom (and deposition) humor.   Here’s an example of what Judge Buchmeyer gave us:

November 1996 – Did They Really Say That?

From John H. Spurgin, II of Austin (McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore), this excerpt from his deposition of the plaintiff in a wrongful discharge case:

Q. Did Rusty White ever attack your person? Did he ever assault you?

A. Well, he used profound (sic) language towards me.

Q. You say he used “profound language”?

A. Uh-huh.

Judge Buchmeyer will be noted in our legal history books as the jurist responsible for the desegregation of public housing; his rejection of single-member districts (which caused statewide redistricting); and last but not least, as the judge who struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy law.  Still, many of us practicing law will remember him with gratitude for the laugh he guaranteed us every month — and in the law, laughter is always welcome and usually needed.

Our condolences to the family and friends of Judge Jerry Buchmeyer.  And our thanks to a treasured jurist. 

A memorial service for Judge Buchmeyer will be held October 2, 2009, at the Belo Mansion here in Dallas.  Memorials in his name may be made to the Judge Buchmeyer Scholarship Fund at the University of Texas School of Law, 727 E. Dean Keaton Street, Austin, Texas, 78705.


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