‘Justice & Judges’ exhibit opens at Contra Costa County History Center

Judge Barry Goode speaks at the opening of the new “Justice & Judges” exhibit at the Contra Costa County History Center May 21, 2016. (COURTESY / On File)
Judge Barry Goode speaks at the opening of the new “Justice & Judges” exhibit at the Contra Costa County History Center May 21, 2016. (COURTESY / On File)
MARTINEZ, Calif. – On Saturday, May 21, the Contra Costa County History Center welcomed a bumper crop of visitors to the opening of its new exhibit, Justice & Judges: The History of the Law in Contra Costa County. The impetus for the exhibit was a recent donation of materials and artifacts belonging to Superior Court Judge Richard Arnason, the longest serving (49 years) judge in the County’s history. By adding information from the County History Center’s archives and records, an exhibit was created by Donald Bastin, Contra Costa County Historical Society Board member, and his wife, Clementina Diaz.

On Saturday, Donald Bastin, Superior Court Judge Barry Goode, retired Appellate Court Justice James Marchiano, and current Superior Court Judge Rick Flier shared some history of the County and stories of Judge Arnason, a much admired and revered judge, for whom the Pittsburg Courthouse is named. Among many others, Judge Arnason was the jurist for the 1970s Angela Davis trial. Beverly Lane of Danville also shared a story of what it was like to face an early Justice of the Peace.

In the exhibit itself, apart from the history of the court system and the courthouses, many firsts are portrayed in the exhibit, including the first female judge in Contra Costa County, Betsy Rahn (Municipal Court, 1959); the first African American judge, George D. Carroll (Bay Municipal Court, 1965); and the first woman to serve on the Superior Court, E. Patricia Herron (1965).

The exhibit is located at the History Center at 724 Escobar St., Martinez, and is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the third Saturday of each month. The public is encouraged to stop by.

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