One need not go far to find kind words for Dallas County Judge Merrill Hartman, formerly of the 192nd. From our very own pages in 2000, when Hartman was named Best District Judge: "In these highly litigious times when frivolous lawsuits are filed by too many lawyers clogging up too few courts, it's a rare judge that can remain even-handed as well as even-tempered." Then there's this touching 2000 tribute from attorney Will Pryor, with whom Hartman started the South Dallas Legal Clinic in 1983:
Merrill has advanced the notion that until the poor have access to lawyers, they are denied access to justice. Merrill was prompted, nearly 20 years ago, not to write articles, or make speeches or form committees -- but to serve the poor, directly, immediately, and in the midst of their need.
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A profile from the Dallas Bar further cements the reputation that made him friend and mentor to many in the Dallas legal community. Which is why several of his friends (and ours) attending the Dallas Bar Association's Bench Bar Conference sent word today: Hartman, who for years suffered from Parkinson's disease, died last night at the age of 71. They were informed this morning in a note written by his wife Sally. Services are pending, most likely in the next 10 days. Our condolences.