Q&A: New judge’s interests evolved

By Eric Norwood Jr.

PNT staff writer

enorwood@pntonline.com

Roosevelt County Probate Court Judge Barbara George began her first day as Municipal Court Judge on Monday. George was appointed by the Portales City Council to replace retiring Judge Fred Arnold because of her experience and leadership in the community.

Why did you want to become a judge? 

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune Judge Barbara George presides from the bench during a municipal court session on Monday. George was recently appointed municipal judge after the retirement of Judge Fred Arnold.

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune
Judge Barbara George presides from the bench during a municipal court session on Monday. George was recently appointed municipal judge after the retirement of Judge Fred Arnold.

It is something that has evolved over time. When I was in junior high, I decided I wanted to work for the FBI. My mother was sure glad I had given up my dream of becoming a lady wrestler.

In college, I worked as a dispatcher for the police department. However, I became a teacher and while teaching at Portales High School, I was assigned a class to teach called Street Law. I developed a mock trial team from the interest the students and I had in this class and in the law.

After I retired from teaching, I became the Teen Court Coordinator and was then appointed alternate judge for Municipal Court where I have served since 2001.

I really enjoyed filling in when the judge needed me and felt with all the experience I have had in doing trials and seeing people on traffic violations and all the trainings I have attended that I should try for the appointment.

I am very grateful to the mayor and City Council members for this appointment and I appreciate the fact that they did take my experience into account.

How will becoming the municipal judge affect your workload?

Becoming municipal judge will affect my workload somewhat as it is a part-time position. I think people who know me, know I have a strong work ethic and am always working at something.

It will be a pleasure to serve the city of Portales in this capacity and it does not feel as much like work, but more like a service.

What was your favorite toy in your childhood?

My grandpa built me a pair of wooden stilts that I loved. I also loved playing jacks and swinging off the shed on a rope attached to a tree.

Maybe that is why I got such a kick out of going zip lining last year.

Did you play any sports in school?

I played volleyball and was a cheerleader. I also worked part-time.

Why do judges wear the long cloaks?

The judge’s uniform, which is called a robe, came from the English aristocracy, where the most privileged have the highest positions of power. Thus judges had to dress as representatives of their privilege.

What is your favorite movie?

I don’t know if I have one. I really enjoyed “Out of Africa,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” and “Lonesome Dove.”

What is the best part about being a judge?

This best part is being able to help people. People want to have their say and need someone to listen to them. Many times we are able to show them a solution.

When you were 16, who was your favorite musical act?

Elvis.

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