Herby the Love Judge is leaving the bench.
After spending sixteen years as a Denver County Court judge, Herbert Galchinsky is hanging up his black robe in January due to the county's mandatory-retirement-at-age-72 rule. The court is now accepting applications for his replacement.
But retirement won't prompt Galchinsky, who recently presided over the restraining order case of TV reporter Deborah Sherman and Children's Hospital ER doc Louis Hampers, to give up his weekend passion: performing weddings.
"You remember Herby the Love Bug?" Galchinsky asks, when reached by phone in his chambers. "Everybody coined the phrase 'Herby the Love Judge' because I do more weddings than anybody around."
Why does Galchinsky love doing weddings so much? "You get to see happy people for a change," he says. "You see a lot of things that are nasty things in the courthouse. It's good for me to see happy people at the wedding and happy people at the reception."
He says one of the craziest weddings he ever officiated involved a helicopter. The bride's father was a pilot, and instead of just walking her down the aisle, he landed in the middle of a big field where the ceremony was taking place and then escorted her to meet her husband-to-be, who was standing with Galchinsky. After they said, "I do," the father took off with both the bride and groom in the 'copter.
Galchinsky's ceremonies are civil and secular -- and, he says, fun. He always meets with the couple beforehand to customize what he's going to say. Then, on the day of the wedding, he often helps the frantic bride take care of the details. "Not only are you Herby the Love Judge, you're the wedding coordinator," he says.
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A Denver native, Galchinsky was a trial lawyer for thirty-one years before becoming a judge. In that role, he spent two years presiding over traffic court, two years in arraignment court, six years in civil court, one year in restraining order court and five years in juvenile court. Of all his assignments, juvenile court was his favorite.
"That's the place where you can make the most difference," he says.
After his retirement, the loquacious Galchinsky plans to continue playing tennis, return to playing golf and hopefully get paid to fill in for judges who take sick time or vacation. Not to mention all the weddings he's yet to perform.
Hey, according to our Googling, he's already made the New York Times weddings section once!