Judge Charles Barnard, who was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to fill the position of 89th District Judge in Wichita Falls, Texas in April of 2015, Judge Barnard told the Examiner yesterday, Thursday, December 17, 2015 he will not be opposed as he runs for his first full term on the bench. Barnard, who tried a plethora of civil cases while in private practice, was appointed by Governor Abbott to fill the position last April when then Presiding Judge Mark Price passed away. Barnard said he appreciated Governor Abbott appointing him to fill the remainder of Judge Price’s term and looks forward to serving the next four years.
Barnard said one of the high points of his first year in office was the day before National Adoption Day 2015 when he presided over 25 adoptions about a month ago. Each child was provided with a teddy bear and a silver dollar. He said his court reporter Joanne Beveridge came up with the idea of the teddy bears and attorney Michael Payne provided the silver dollars.
He said that although his private practice revolved around civil cases, that Thursday’s criminal docket has become one of his favorite days. The judge’s vast experience in courtrooms has made for a relatively easy transition for him. He said ruling on objections causes him no stress as he already knows from his experience in courtrooms as a lawyer the difference between a good and a bad objection. He further believes it’s important to rule not only accurately, but also promptly. He also said the hardest ting to do is “to pull the trigger on final rulings because the consequences are so great.”
He also commented on the new e-filing system which has been integrated into the court system across the Lone Star State. He conceded that initially he wasn’t a big fan of it, but he likes it now. He pointed out the e-filing system saves a lot of paperwork in a system which is already congested with filings. He said if receives an e-filing from an attorney, he can respond the very same day. As a result, the legal system is a faster and leaner operation because of its use of the modern technology.
Barnard further said he was grateful to the other local judges for the help they’ve given him. Those judges include 30th District Court Judge Robert Brotherton, 78th District Court Judge Barney Fudge, County Court At Law #1 Judge Gary Butler and County Court At Law #2 Judge Greg King. He said they have all given him good advice as to how judges should rule make prompt rulings and do justice. He also said he didn’t think there were any judges anywhere any better than the ones in Wichita Falls.
Although he already had considerable experience which made him qualified to be a successful judge before he ascended to the bench in the 89th, he did attend the capital murder trial in Stephenville, Texas involving the murder of American sniper and war hero Chris Kyle. He said he thought the trial was handled in manner which guaranteed the defendant and everyone involved received a fair trial. Kyle was the most successful sniper in U.S. military history. Ironically, he was shot to death on a firing range in Texas after he came home.
Before he was an attorney, Barnard was a football star for Wichita Falls High School. He was the starting tailback and defensive back for the 1971 state finalist team. He’s justifiably proud of the six state championships the Coyotes have won on football fields across Texas. He said the Pack could easily have won several more including in 1970, 1971, 1986 and 2000. In 2000 WFHS made it all the way to the semi-finals in Texas Stadium before losing to Ennis. He said they lost a 28-27 heartbreaker to future NFL quarterback Tommy Kramer and San Antonio Lee in the state championship game of 1971. He said in another state championship game teammates Gary Lancaster and Ronnie Littleton both made first downs which would’ve kept potential game-winning drives alive. However, the referees were not kind to the Coyotes that day and ruled against them.
Judge Barnard said he doubted there would ever be as many jury trials as there were 20 years ago because of several factors. He said successful mediations was one factor which decreased the number of cases making it to the jury trial phase. He also said the Rambo Litigation which was popular in the past was now a rare thing. He explained Rambo Litigation was when lawyers felt it was advantageous to be as uncooperative and disagreeable with opposing counsel as often as possible. Judge Barnard also mentioned that sort of litigation was more prevalent in bigger cities than in Wichita Falls.
Wichita Falls is fortunate to have a judge the caliber of Charles Barnard on the bench in the 89th. Being a native Wichitian gives Judge Barnard the advantage of having a lifelong love of the area and heartfelt commitment to keeping the community a safe place to live.