This past Thursday, December 27th, one of Houston’s finest public servants struck the gavel for the last time.
Judge Zinetta Burney, who has presided over the Court as the Harris County Justice of the Peace, Precinct Seven, Place Two, for over 20 years, did so for the last time, as she decided to move aside and make way for the next generation of leadership – that next generation of leadership happens to be her daughter Sharon Burney, who won her most recent election to replace the outgoing judge.
Although Judge Burney has always remained an extremely humble and low-key public servant, she has been a strong pillar in the community and it is fitting to recognize her long service on the judiciary and to the community.
Born in Houston, Texas, in 1941, Judge Burney was the second of four children born to John and Thelma Arceneaux. At the age of seventeen, she gave birth to her only child, Sharon. A few years later, she became a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and completed her high school education by earning her G.E.D.
In 1968, Judge Burney graduated from Texas Southern University (TSU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. She went on to become an alumnus of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at TSU.
Prior to being elected presiding Justice of the Peace of Harris County Court Precinct 7, Judge Burney served as the Senior Partner in the law firm of Burney & Foreman– listed in the Bond Buyers Book qualifying the firm to practice in the area of Public Finance and Public Securities. Judge Burney also served as Special Judge for various Harris County Criminal Courts.
Judge Burney has received numerous awards. She has been recognized by the City of Houston, Housing Authority of the City of Houston, NAACP Alex Award, United Negro College Fund, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston Lawyers Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha-Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter, United Cerebral Palsy Association, Riverside General Hospital, YMCA, The Prestage Woods Women’s Legal Society, the Missouri City Chapter of Links, Inc., Channel 13’s Women of Distinction, Houston Black Firefighters Association, Texas Legislative Black Caucus and many more.
Judge Burney’s past service includes the University of Houston System Board of Regents, having been appointed by Governor Ann Richards; Board of Commissioners for the Housing Authority of the City of Houston; Mayor Lee P. Brown’s Transition Coordinating Committee; and Boards of the United Way of Texas Gulf Coast, Jesse Jackson Academy, Donald R. Watkins Aids Foundation and Main Street Market Square Redevelopment Authority. Judge Burney is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Third Ward Redevelopment Council, South Main Center Association, Main Street Coalition and Old Spanish Trail/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority. She is a Senior Fellow of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Leadership Forum.
The Forward Times wishes to thank Judge Zinetta Burney for her tremendous contribution and commitment to public service to the Greater Houston area!