The Harris County Criminal Justice world was heartbroken to learn of the unexpected passing of longtime defense attorney Kirby Taylor this week.
Most of us have known Kirby since starting our careers in the CJC world. I remember meeting him as a baby prosecutor back in 1999. To use the term “universally beloved” would be a very appropriate way to describe this dear, sweet man. He was kind and friendly to all and everyone that I know found him to be one of the most endearing people at the courthouse.
He was a lawyer who handled the most serious of cases with compassion coupled with common sense. He fought hard for his clients with credibility and honesty that worked well for him in his practice.
If you ever met Kirby, you doubtlessly knew of his trademark “crazy socks” that became his calling card. Regardless of whether he was wearing a three-piece suit or casual clothes, he was guaranteed to be wearing socks that could potentially zap your retinas. He also carried with him the largest wallet I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It wasn’t filled with money (he once showed me) but with receipts, notes, cards, and other things. It resembled a large rock and was held together with rubber bands.
Several years ago, he and his son were the victims of a horrific act of violence that left Kirby both physically and emotionally scarred for life. If there was anything positive that came from that tragedy, it was the opportunity for our CJC community to let Kirby know how much we all loved him and hurt for him. He came back from that tragedy and returned to the courthouse. He was the same sweet man that he had always been, but there was a sadness with him that never left.
He still smiled and laughed that distinctive laugh of his, but it was different. It was impossible to see him without feeling somewhat emotional about what he had suffered through.
It goes without saying that all of us will miss Kirby Taylor. He was definitely a giant (both physically and metaphorically) of the CJC. I’ll miss his laugh and his smile, but most of all, I will miss the kindness that he showed to everyone he met on a daily basis.
It has been suggested to me that maybe we wear our craziest socks in honor of Kirby. So, this Friday, wear them if you got them. Kirby would have gotten a good laugh at that.
Rest in Peace, Old Friend.