Herb Ritchie Death, Obituary – Herb Ritchie, a retired judge who barricaded himself in the UT Tower during Charles Whitman’s 1966 sniper attack and went on to help break the Republican gridlock on the Harris County judiciary, passed away on Thursday at the age of 77. Herb Ritchie was known for his role in helping to break the Republican gridlock on the Harris County judiciary.
Ritchie resigned from his position as a judge on the 337th District Court in December 2020, but he remained active in the court as a visiting judge throughout the pandemic. His efforts in this capacity helped to alleviate the growing backlog of felony cases that had accumulated as a result of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction of the courthouse and the global contagion.
According to Ritchie’s longtime law partner Judge Greg Glass, he passed away at St. Luke’s Hospital as a result of complications that arose after a recent operation. No preparations have been made for the services. Lawyers and prosecutors praised Ritchie for being an astute criminal defence attorney who made decisions after careful consideration and conducted himself politely and with respect in the courtroom. In 2002, when Ritchie first began his political career, voters very infrequently selected judges who lacked prior experience as prosecutors. In 2008, he defeated the Republican incumbent Don Stricklin for a seat on the 337th District Court. This victory marked his long-awaited victory. Ritchie’s attempt for reelection was unsuccessful, but he was elected to a second term in 2017.
According to the records kept by the Texas Bar, the lawyer received his degree from the University of Texas in 1974. While Ritchie was getting his schooling in Austin, one of the most horrific mass shootings in American history took place. On August 1, 1966, he sought safety in an office in the campus tower and remained there until Charles Whitman began his shooting spree one story above him, during which he killed 16 people and injured 31 more. When the shooting started, Ritchie, who was 20 years old at the time, was working in the tower. He peered out the window and saw people below being shot. He immediately became alarmed. A professor stated that they saw dead bodies in the stairway, and those individuals were unable to use the elevator to flee the building.
During an interview in 2006, Ritchie said that he had propped a rolling chalkboard and a desk against a door. He had also pushed the desk on the door. Following his graduation from The University of Texas, Ritchie went on to establish a criminal defence practise in 1977 alongside his UT classmate Glass, who is currently the Presiding Judge of the 208th District Court. According to Glass, the duration of that partnership was greater than thirty years. “He was one of the most brilliant attorneys that I have ever come across, “Glass said. “Even more than that, he was a fine judge and human being. He will be sorely missed by everyone. Please remember him in your prayers, for the Bible teaches that praying for the departed is a righteous thing to do.