Friday, March 2, 2018

Judge Mary Bacon

I was very saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of Judge Mary Bacon, retired judge of the 338th District Court.

Judge Bacon retired from her bench just before I became a prosecutor, but I got the opportunity to know her during her occasional stints as a visiting judge.  She was one of my favorites and I hope that you will take the time to read Brian Rogers' excellent write up about her in the Chronicle.  She was a trailblazer of a lawyer and a judge, but you would never have known it to talk to her.

I got to know Judge Bacon while trying the first in a series of co-defendants who had murdered a 15-year-old boy.  She was the visiting for Judge Caprice Cosper and I was trying the case against Mack Arnold.  I didn't really know her before then, except in passing, but I during breaks and during deliberations, Mack and I would just go sit in chambers with her and swap stories.  She loved to laugh and she had this twinkle in her eye when she would talk about old stories from the old days.

She reminded me so much of my grandmother that it was almost surreal to be trying a pretty brutal murder case in front of her.  But she ran that trial like a complete pro.  Everything ran smoothly, and of course, the jury adored her.

We became friends during the trial and I was very happy that we kept up with each other after the trial.  I was very honored to know that she read this blog and (secretly) even commented in on it from time.  More often than not, she would call or text me to let me know her thoughts on things that I had written.  Although I can't remember how she found out, she was one of the first people who knew I was I was the anonymous blogger.  I probably confessed to her.

She had lots of opinion on the 2008 race for District Attorney.

Even though we didn't talk quite as much as the years went by, I would still hear from her every now and then with some frequency.  She was on Instagram, and although she didn't post much, she would always like any pictures that I put up of my family.

I last saw Judge Bacon in person during her portrait unveiling in May of 2016.  She was 86 years old, wearing a leather jacket and walking around like she was in her 20s.  She gave me a huge hug and we talked for awhile.  She seemed a little embarrassed about all of the festivities around her portrait being unveiled, but was happy to talk to so many people who came by to pay her their respects.  The courtroom was packed for the ceremony.

Reading Brian's article on Judge Bacon made me realize that she was even cooler than I always thought.  It also made me realize how much I will miss my sweet friend.

She was truly one of a kind.


Thomas Hobbes said...

Requiescat in pace . . .

Mark W. Stephens said...

I hate to hear this. Judge Bacon was one of my favorite Judges. We worked a lot of drug cases back in the day and a lot of auto thieves - back when they still put drug dealers and auto thieves in prison - and we were always in her court. She was always complimentary and went out of her way to show us how much she loved and respected police officers. We sat in her office for hours telling war stories and she loved it. Since we worked night shift and would often come to court straight from work and end up staying hours in court, she would pull us aside and take us into her office and offer her couch with blankets. She'd turn off the lights and tell everyone not to bother us until they really needed us.

Our love and respect for her was mutual and there was never a question about that.

She would come out to Northeast and do ride alongs. She really got a kick out of being the one to give our suspects their Miranda Warning.

There were and are very few like her. Fair but tough. We really need more like her. I last saw her about a year or so ago. She came to Lt. Don Atkins retirement party. I don't know if she remembered me, decades later and a whole lot of pounds extra, but she pretended well. The one thing she told me that I knew she meant whether she remembered me specifically or not was this: "Thank you for all you've done."

She was missed when she retired and now she will be sorely missed forever. She was special.

And to Judge Bacon, I say, "Thank you for all you've done."

Sid Crowley said...

So sorry to hear this. I remember when she was appointed to the newly created 338th district court in September of 1983, the same time I was appointed to Chief Prosecutor in the 230th. I never worked in her court as a prosecutor but later had the opportunity to try some cases in front of her as a defense attorney. She was a delightful person and fair jurist,

Anonymous said...

"In 1981, Bacon was appointed to become the associate judge of the 245th criminal district court, records show"

Leave it to the crack reporter Brian Rogers to get things wrong. There is no 245th criminal district court. She was an associate judge of a family court.

Hey Brian, we do not have associate criminal district judges in Harris County. I thought you had a law degree.