I'm posting now just to say goodbye to a judge from the courthouse that I knew and liked.
Judge Bill Bender passed away on Monday at the age of 78. I only ever knew Judge Bender as a visiting judge (he lived out in Seguin and was a judge for the 427th district until he retired), but he was very popular, and he filled in so frequently around the Travis County courthouse that I got to know him pretty well (at times I felt like he was at the Travis County Courthouse more frequently than some of the regular sitting judges).
He was a nice guy, and a no-nonsense judge who had a knack for cutting through the B.S. and quickly getting to the heart of matters that came before him on the bench.
I worked with Judge Bender both when I was a defense attorney and when I was a prosecutor, and he was always very friendly and gracious, regardless of my role in the courtroom. He had a good sense of humor (I liked the way he often greeted ridiculous situations or explanations with a wry chuckle), he enjoyed a good story, and he was just a really nice guy.
Back when Jeff was still alive, I remember sitting there and listening to Jeff and the judge swap fishing stories while they talked about bonds or took care of other courthouse business. In trial, Judge Bender was good at moving things along and and keeping trials tightly focused so they didn't get bog down unnecessarily.
I'll miss Judge Bender. He was just one of those old school judges who didn't tolerate a lot of ridiculousness, but who always treated the people in his court with respect. He was fair, but he was efficient, and a lot of judges could learn things from his example.
We'll miss you, Judge.