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First Out Lesbian Judge Retires

First Out Lesbian Judge Retires

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San Francisco superior court judge Mary Morgan, the nation's first out lesbian judge, announced her retirement Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Morgan was a leader in San Francisco's efforts to address the problems of mentally ill defendants. From 2006 to 2010, she presided once a week over the behavioral health court, which hears the cases of mentally ill defendants (except those charged with certain major crimes), refers them to services, and allows for the dismissal of charges if they complete a court-ordered program. She has said she was "proud of the difference I was able to make alongside other justice partners committed to having people live happier, healthier and more productive lives."

Then-California governor Jerry Brown appointed Morgan to the San Francisco municipal court in 1981. She remained there until 1993, when she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the U.S. Justice Department and ran a legal clinic dealing with domestic violence. Gov. Gray Davis appointed her to the superior court in 2003. In addition to the behavioral health court, she has presided over the superior court's criminal division and its domestic violence court.

Brown, now governor again, will appoint Morgan's successor to the superior court, which now has 10 openly gay or lesbian judges. Morgan will be available for temporary assignments, according to the Chronicle.

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