Chief Justice Richard Barajas (Ret.), is a 1971 graduate of Cathedral High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 1974. In 1977, he received his Juris Doctor from the Baylor School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas that same year. He served in the United States Naval Judge Advocate General's Corps as a legislative attorney on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In 1988 he was elected District Attorney for the 83rd Judicial District of Texas and in 1991 he was appointed by the governor of Texas to the Eighth District Court of Appeals in El Paso. On January 1, 1994 he was appointed Chief Justice. He retired from elected judicial service and took the non-elected status of senior justice in August 2006. He is currently assigned to the Eighth District Court of Appeals.
Chief Justice Barajas is a former faculty member of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, where he was an instructor on the use of information technology. In addition, he has served on the board of the National Organization for Victims Assistance, an organization which provides national advocacy for victims of crime, direct services those crime victims when not otherwise available, and assistance to professional colleagues. A nationally recognized lecturer on the proper balancing of the constitutional rights between the criminal defendant and the intended victim, Chief Justice Barajas was honored by the President of the United States at a White House ceremony as a national recipient of the Presidential Award for Victim Services. In addition, he is a frequent lecturer on topics relating to judicial ethics, educational leadership and mentoring, the applicability of federal constitutional protections to the parochial school setting, the separation of church and state (as it relates to the issue of school vouchers), and various aspects of educational management.
Since his retirement from elected judicial service, Chief Justice Barajas has moved into academia where he currently holds the position of Assistant Principal, as well as the Director, Center for Advanced Studies at his alma mater, Cathedral High School. Chief Justice Barajas is an instructor of Political Science, teaching both GOVT 2305 American Government and Politics, and GOVT 2306 State and Local Government. In addition, he is an instructor of Education, teaching EDUC 1300, Mastering Academic Excellence.
The Chief and his wife Cathy Jean make their home in El Paso. They have four children, Melanie Getiñah, a graduate of Baylor University, son Brian Robert, a 2000 graduate of Cathedral High School and a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso; son Richard Edward, a 2003 graduate of Cathedral High School and likewise a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso; and son Tyler Spurgin, of El Paso, Texas.