40 Mass. App. Ct. 1135 (1996)
A special sitting of the Appeals Court was held at Boston on April 17, 1996, at which a Memorial to the late Justice Edith W. Fine was presented.
Present: Chief Justice Warner; Justices Armstrong, Brown, Perretta, Dreben, Kass, Smith, Jacobs, Porada, Ireland, Greenberg, Laurence, Flannery, and Lenk; and Retired Supreme Judicial Court Justice Benjamin Kaplan and Retired Appeals Court Justice Gerald Gillerman.
Judith Fabricant, Assistant Attorney General, addressed the court as follows:
May it please the court: On behalf of Attorney General Scott Harshbarger and the Bar of this Commonwealth, it is my privilege and honor to present a Memorial and tribute to the late Edith W. Fine, who served as Associate Justice of this court.
Edith Fine was born Edith Witty in New York City on May 27, 1930, the daughter of Bert Witty and Ruth Rose Witty. After graduating from public high school in New York in 1947, she attended Pembroke College, now part of Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. She transferred to Barnard College in 1949, and received her B.A. degree from Barnard in 1951. She spent the next three years working in New York, first as a secretary and later at a department store, and then enrolled at Harvard Law School, which had begun to admit women only a few years earlier. She received her LL.B. from Harvard in 1957, one of only five women in that graduating class.
Edith Fine's public career began immediately after law school, as law clerk to Associate Justice Arthur E. Whittemore of the Supreme Judicial Court. Following her clerkship she moved to New Haven, where she worked at Yale Law School as a legal research assistant, first for Professor Friederich Kessler and then for Professor Abraham Goldstein, with whom she published a work on the insanity defense.
During the 1962 to 1963 academic year she served as an instructor at the University of Puerto Rico Law School, teaching courses in legal research and in jurisprudence. She then spent a year as a staff attorney for the Maryland Civil Liberties Union, and then in 1964 she joined the Office of the General Counsel for the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington, D.C., where she served principally as attorney for the VISTA program. From 1966 to 1968 she worked in Lima, Peru, as assistant to the director of the Peace Corps for Peru.
In 1968 Edith Fine returned to the Boston area to serve as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston. She handled a variety of matters, especially cases involving education-related issues and Federal grant programs. A lawyer who is now my colleague in the Attorney General's office recalls appearing opposite her in one Federal court case during this period, in which she represented the Boston school department; he describes her handling of that case as "an exceptional model of what it meant to be an advocate, especially for the government."
While in the City Law Department she also directed the department's work study program and served as aide to the Corporation Counsel in the recruitment and hiring of attorneys. During this period she also served as an elected member of the Brookline Town Meeting and as an appointed member of the Brookline Rent Control Board.
For the last twenty-two years of her life Edith Fine served on three levels of the Massachusetts judiciary. In June 1973 Governor Francis Sargent appointed her as presiding judge of the Brookline Municipal Court, now known as the Brookline District Court. Four years later, in July of 1977, Governor Michael Dukakis appointed her to the Superior Court, where she served for seven years. In August 1984 Governor Dukakis named her Associate Justice of the Appeals Court, where she served until her retirement in January 1995. As a judge she participated in numerous educational programs and on several committees, including the Judicial Conduct Commission, the District Court Committee on Trial de Novo, and the Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Judge Fine's service on the Appeals Court coincided with a time in which the court's caseload grew extensively. Her own decisional work reflects that phenomenon. During her ten and one-half years of service she authored nearly 750 decisions, of which 268 were published. The subjects addressed in these opinions span the full range of civil and criminal law, and address such areas as commercial real estate transactions (Worcester Tatnuck Square CVS v. Kaplan), domestic relations (Pavluvcik v. Sullivan), peremptory challenges in jury selection (Commonwealth v. Matthews), qualified immunity of public officers (Caron v. Silvia), zoning (Sherrill House v. Board of Appeals), automobile insurance (Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Faris), and the rights of at-will employees (Glaz v. Ralston Purina Co.). Beginning with Merry v. A.W. Perry Inc., in 1984, and ending with Sullivan v. Town of Acton, in 1995, her opinions are consistently thoughtful, well-reasoned, and temperate.
Somehow over the course of this illustrious career, Judge Fine found time to raise three children, Anne D., Elizabeth R., and Grant D. Fine. Her first grandchild was a toddler at the time of her death; I recall a conversation with her in late 1994 in which she spoke of how much she enjoyed her time with him and wished she could spend more. Her second grandchild and first granddaughter was born in early 1995, just a few weeks after her death.
In preparation for this Memorial, I canvassed my colleagues for their memories of Judge Fine. Repeatedly, they referred to the affection they felt for her. Affection is not among the words most often heard from lawyers in reference to judges, but in this case it is precisely apt. I had the pleasure of appearing before her several times, and each time I came away with the feeling that the experience was exactly what it should always be: she was attentive, prepared, and unfailingly courteous, and she conveyed through every word and gesture her caring for the parties and counsel before her, and her thoughtful regard for the responsibility she held for matters of great significance to them.
Despite her distinguished career, Judge Fine always displayed a genuine sense of modesty. This is perhaps best exemplified in an excerpt from an interview with her that appeared in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 1992. Asked then what kind of judicial legacy she would like to leave, Judge Fine replied: "I'd like it to be said that I advanced the interests of the less fortunate in society, that I gave individuals charged with crime a fair shot and that in other respects at least I didn't mess up the law." There can be no question that Edith Fine met and far surpassed her own goal; she provided a model that was much emulated during her life, as it is sure to be long after.
It is an honor for me to participate in this fitting Memorial to a woman of high accomplishment, who inspired deep respect. On behalf of the Bar of this Commonwealth, I respectfully move that this Memorial be spread on the records of this court.
Herbert P. Gleason, Esquire, of the Boston bar addressed the court as follows:
May it please the court and the family and friends of Judge Fine: I am greatly honored by the Chief Justice's invitation that I present some reminiscences of Justice Edith Fine as a treasured colleague, dear friend, and exemplary citizen. I am touched that her husband, Robert Baram, and her children, Annie, Lizzie, and Grant have entrusted me with that role. These memorial occasions have tended, I think, toward grandeur and formality. Such an approach does not fit our subject today. Can't you see her laugh off such efforts? But can't you also see her delighted surprise at this tribute to the achievements of her life, of which perhaps only she seemed unaware. Quoth she: "I'd like it to be said that I advanced the interests of the less fortunate in society, that I gave individuals charged with crime a fair shot, and that in other respects at least, I didn't mess up the law."
To begin, I must note the gravity of her loss. It was too soon. She brought such a lift to our lives emotionally, intellectually, and morally. And what might she yet have done after she left this bench, either early or in good time? Though she regarded her service here as a great privilege, she was not altogether fulfilled by it. She was troubled by the growing number of criminal cases before the Court, particularly those involving drugs and sexual violence toward women. She wondered if she might be more effective working at early intervention to change the system rather than at the end station applying its rules. The fellowship in her name at the Harvard Law School which she designed during the last days of her life sums up her concerns. It supports "the work of a woman graduate of the School who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment to public service, especially in civil or criminal legal assistance to the poor, women's reproductive rights, and antidiscrimination." The loss of her leadership and guidance in those endeavors -- whatever form it might have taken -- is irreparable.
To say that Edith's judicial career was not the center of her life is not to diminish it. Rather, it was significant because it was informed by the values which pervaded her whole life. Her judging was shaped by her humanity, by her imagination about the impact of authority on individuals, by her common sense, her humor and her fairness - all applied and harmonized by her quick and disciplined intelligence. Recent psychology has it that these qualities are "feminine", and Edith would concur. That's why she thought there should be more women judges and more women in elective office -- not because they deserve it but because, in her words, "society would be better served."
I have been struggling with the paradox that her modesty persisted despite her conspicuous achievements. We, who so much admired her, were often astonished at how seriously she sought and respected our views. Indeed, you sometimes wished to rephrase a harsh or careless answer when you realized how critically she listened.
I think I have an answer: her modesty was the tool of her achievement. Because she had such high regard for other people, she was deeply interested in their views. That curiosity, empathy and attention contributed greatly to her competence and understanding as a judge.
Edith graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1957 and clerked for Arthur Whittemore at the Supreme Judicial Court the following year -- a year ahead of me in both instances. There she came to be noticed by Ammi Cutter. She was one of the few law clerks who took seriously his urging that we write learned articles in our spare time. Hers was entitled "Massachusetts Contract Cases and Problems in the Choice of Law". You will be rewarded when you find it in Volume 43 of the Massachusetts Law Quarterly.
Her husband Jonathan's decision to discontinue the study of Law at Harvard and pursue Medicine at Yale took them to New Haven for four years where Edith continued her legal research including coauthorship with Friederich Kessler of an article on contracts, "Culpa In Contrahendo," which appeared in Volume 77 of the Harvard Law Review, and an article with Abraham Goldstein on indigent defendants and the insanity defense in Volume I 10 of the Pennsylvania Law Review.
There followed a year in Puerto Rico, then three years in Baltimore and Washington with the Civil Liberties Union and the Poverty Program. In 1968, after two years in the Peace Corps in Peru, the family returned to Boston. It was Arthur Whittemore who suggested that Edith see me about a job, and I was delighted to hire her as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Law Department of the City of Boston. She argued three cases before the Supreme Judicial Court having to do with the city's fiscal control of the School Committee. She prevailed in two and won the third in principle. She was also in charge of all our student internship programs. Lucky were the young lawyers who met her encouragement and her purpose.
I assigned her to the School Department, where she immediately won the respect of teachers and administrators though not of the School Committee, which was well on its way to solidifying segregation. I remember Edith's outrage when the committee changed the boundaries of the new Joseph Lee School to forestall its integration, a major factor in Judge Garrity's determination of culpability.
Edith left the Law Department before the issue of school segregation was finally joined. She was glad not to be in the middle of it. But I've often wondered if her fairness and common sense might not have tempered some of the harshness of the remedy, had she and Sandra Lynch been in the lists together before Judge Garrity.
In 1973, Governor Sargent appointed her presiding justice of the Brookline Municipal Court. Some of you will recognize the hand of Ammi Cutter, who advanced so many legal and judicial careers to the great benefit of his proteges -- many of them women - the profession and the public.
She loved the work of the Brookline court. It allowed her to apply her own experience, practicality and fairness to the problems litigants had in the management of their lives. She would discuss her cases with her three children at the dinner table, listening to them with the respect she showed almost everyone. They felt she put them above everything else in her life and gave them that sense of self-worth and confidence which enabled their flourishing careers.
She was full of efficient energy not only professionally but in her love of the outdoors - swimming, tennis, and especially hiking and walking. She walked to work whenever she could, almost to the end. It filled her need for solitude and reflection.
In 1977, her old friend Michael Dukakis appointed her to the Superior Court. There she established a creditable record, if affirmation on appeal is a measure. Of the thirty-one cases in which her judgments were appealed, I found there were only three in which she was not affirmed.
I like to think that Edith's work for the city of Boston strengthened her grasp of the sense and order of things in public affairs. In City of Boston v. U.N.A. Corp., affirmed in 11 Mass. App. Ct. 298 (1981), she decided that land leased from the Massachusetts Port Authority located on the Commonwealth Flats was taxable to the lessee -- a result which always seemed obvious to me but which was fiercely contested by Massport. In Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts v. Attorney General, affirmed in 391 Mass. 709 (1984), she struck down a statute forbidding charities to pay telephone operators to solicit contributions. The First Amendment was vindicated but the quiet of our homes has vanished. And in Felicetti v. Secretary of Communities and Development, affirmed in 386 Mass. 343 (1982), she ordered release of emergency heating funds over bureaucratic objection, so that they would be available at the start of the heating season. Of course, the secretary's appeal prevented that from happening for two years. Edith must have wondered what compelling government purpose was served thereby.
That same assurance carried over after Governor Dukakis promoted her to this court in 1984. Two cases in particular show her toughness and her fairness.
In Petruzzelli v. Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical High School, 93-J-237, a juvenile who had been found delinquent by reason of manslaughter was awaiting sentence. He was suspended from school by the superintendent. Judge Fine, as Single Justice, set the suspension aside and was severely criticized. But she stuck to her principles on reconsideration, believing the child was better off in school and no threat to his classmates. I know she was deeply distressed that under § 37H of c. 71 of the General Laws, a student could be expelled from school for carrying weapons without being provided an alternative education. Neither the individual nor society was well served, she thought, by having weapons carriers ungoverned on the streets. Her fears were confirmed last summer in Doe v. Superintendent of Schools of Worcester, 421 Mass. 117 (1995), which held in an expulsion case that such a young person has no right to a public education in Massachusetts.
In Sherill House, Inc. v. Board of Appeal of Boston, 19 Mass. App. Ct. 274 (1985), she wrote that the owner of a nonconforming institutional use in a residential zone is not aggrieved by a neighbors' substitution of another nonconforming use on its property. She relied on a much earlier Boston case (Circle Lounge & Grille v. Board of Appeal of Boston, 324 Mass. 427 [19491), but I think her sense of fairness carried the day.
I will close by describing this episode:
In 1982, I persuaded Edith to speak at a Symposium on Nuclear Arms Control. The topic was, "Our Legal System After the Bomb." She thought the whole notion was absurd. But I told her that only by trying to imagine the realities of a nuclear attack could we rouse people to its monstrosity. At last she assented and went at it with her right good will. She described the state roads north of Boston over which the Federal Emergency Management Agency proposed the people of Boston and its suburbs would travel to designated communities in New Hampshire. Where would they get gas, she wondered. Would people in host communities be willing to share their meager rations? She went on to imagine how courts could function without courthouses or records - or judges.
I tell this story because it shows her capacity to imagine how government and law affect real life. In the case of the bomb, she concluded that planning for the disaster was pointless and dangerously deceptive. She declared we should put our energies into prevention.
She ended her bomb speech with a paragraph from Winnie the Pooh. "Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment to think of it."
Amid all the bumps and triumphs in her life, Edith was always looking for "another way."
Stacy DeBroff, Esquire, addressed the court as follows:
I am both honored and touched to be able to stand here today to speak about Justice Fine, a woman I profoundly admired and loved. In preparing for today's talk, I spoke with many of Justice Fine's prior judicial clerks, and much of what I say echoes the sentiments we all share.
The first thing that leaps to mind in terms of clerking for Justice Fine was the speed and decisiveness with which she was able to identify critical issues in each case and write her opinions for the court. Without compromising the careful thought she gave to each decision, she could turn out beautifully crafted opinions with incredible speed. She was able to do this in part because of her remarkable intelligence and efficiency, but also because she felt driven by a moral imperative to expedite cases for litigants anxious for a final resolution.
When Justice Fine sat on the bench during oral arguments, I was struck by her insightfulness and her ability to cut to the quick of the issues at stake. She appreciated skilled advocacy, but was never harsh or patronizing to attorneys appearing before her. When serving as a Single Justice hearing emergency appeals, she listened intently and asked incisive questions that got to the heart of the matter before her. She seemed to have an inner compass of calm that lent her a composed and even-keeled judicial temperament both on and off the bench. She approached each case with an open mind and with thoughtful consideration of all the options, and I remember the tremendous pride I always felt watching her at work.
Justice Fine approached each case with a deeply rooted concern about justice. After discussing, researching, and evaluating the law at issue in a case, she would always ask me one last question before calling a decision final: Is it fair? In doing so, she drew upon values formed from her own work experiences in public service prior to coming on the bench. She took her obligation to the written law very seriously, while caring profoundly about both the societal implications of her work and the impact it would have on the particular litigants before her.
She valued input from her law clerks, asking us our thoughts on the cases at hand. In doing so, she imbued those of us newly graduated from law school with a sense of professional competence. She took her role as a mentor seriously, spending significant time and energy to teach us how to think about the law, as well as how to write well.
Yet one of the most striking qualities of Justice Fine was her personal charisma. She exuded warmth and caring about everyone around her at work: from her secretary to clerks of the court to fellow judges. She placed tremendous value on her relationships and the camaraderie with her colleagues on the court. While not afraid to stake out a dissent if she felt she needed to, she always tried to work towards consensus. Justice Fine similarly had tremendous respect for the District and Superior Court judges, but when she felt she had to make a call differing with their judgment, she would do so.
My personal relationship with Justice Fine reflects her abundance of warmth and involvement. She took an ongoing, personal interest both in my career and in my children. For each of my children's birthdays, she would buy special books for them that she felt that no child should go without: from Make Way for Ducklings to Winnie the Pooh to Madeline. She greeted me effusively each time I visited the court to meet her for lunch, insisting on taking me around to say hello to other judges on the hallway. She also advised and supported me in my career steps that took me out of private practice and to the creation of a public interest advising office at Harvard Law School.
It was in this context that Justice Fine shared with me her initial thoughts about her own retirement. She wanted to give back to her community through volunteer work and was deeply interested in finding such opportunities. She wrote, "It occurred to me, as I was thinking about retirement in a few years, that I'm sure there are many [lawyers such as myself] leaving law firms and judicial posts who still have a great deal of energy and who would like to spend their later years contributing the knowledge, experience, and reputations they've acquired in meeting some of society's social problems." With her focus so squarely set on public service and on leading others to engage in this work, the fellowship created in her memory at Harvard Law School could not be a more fitting memorial. Created by generous donations from colleagues, friends and family, the Edith Fine Fellowship will be given each year to a woman graduating from Harvard Law School who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment to pursuing public service work. The recipients will work to protect women's protective rights, to provide legal assistance to the poor, or to help eradicate discrimination. As my office oversees the selection process now underway for the first year's Fellow, I am profoundly happy to stay connected to Justice Fine through this tribute to her.
Justice Fine taught me a great deal, perhaps without even realizing it, about the ability to truly balance work and family. She made being a terrific mom, wife, and judge seem almost effortless. She would share engaging stories about her children and life outside of work, always speaking of her family with overflowing love and pride. In the midst of her demanding career, she raised tremendously successful children both in terms of their professional accomplishments and personal compassion. As important as her work was to her, it was equally important for her to be home in time to have dinner with her husband, and to spend time in the summers down at the Cape with her family. For her former clerks who now find ourselves parents of young children, we have come to realize the grace with which she carried the dual commitments of work and family.
And she accomplished all of this with the most unassuming manner imaginable. Justice Fine had a personal modesty and self-effacing nature that stood in stark contrast to her remarkable accomplishments. If she could hear us today, she would surely roll her eyes and say, "Who, me?" But what she thought of as no big deal, we consider to have been an extraordinary life. We will always think of her as a hero whose life we can only hope to emulate.
Justice Kass spoke at Justice Fine's memorial service and said that he had "an image of Justice Fine standing at her office window, looking over the harbor" talking to her kids or her husband on the phone. I also have an image of Justice Fine that will be forever etched in my mind. In my image, she is sitting at her desk, with the late afternoon sunlight filtering through the window behind her, with a warm smile of greeting on her face: both surprised to see someone appear at her door and at the same time instantly welcoming. It is with this vision in mind that she will always live in my heart and inspire me throughout both my professional life and the upbringing of my children. And as each of us have our own images we cherish of her, she will continue to live in the hearts of all of us who loved her, who respected her, who continue to be inspired by her and who miss her very deeply.
Justice Raya S. Dreben, speaking for the court, responded as follows:
Chief Justice, members of the Supreme Judicial Court, my colleagues on this court, Edith's loving family and friends --
I, too, am deeply moved and honored by the privilege of speaking at this special session in memory of Justice Edith Fine. But it is not easy for me to speak in her memory -- I still want to go to her office, ask her advice, confide in her, receive a warm embrace. And I am not alone. Chief Justice Warner expressed the same sentiment to me just a few days ago. None of us can believe that healthy, energetic Edith, our graceful colleague and good friend who cloaked her extraordinary intellect in such a modest exterior, is no longer in her office.
What was amazing about Edith as a judge was her quick and surefooted recognition of a just solution to the case at hand, and what was even more striking, was her ability to cut through and turn aside the hurdles seemingly obstructing a direct way of getting there. Once seen, the route she found was persuasive, even obvious. In his moving speech at Edith's memorial service, Justice Armstrong mentioned, in connection with her formidable legal ability, how last December in a three-minute conversation Edith put her finger on the solution to a legal problem he had been wrestling with for a week. Justice Kaplan tells a similar story, how Edith, by a quick comment, simplified and vastly improved an opinion of his last winter. Most of us can cite similar examples of Edith clarifying and simplifying our opinions by coming up with a more direct approach.
Edith's understanding of legal principles was so firmly rooted that she, more often than not, wrote her opinions first, and only afterwards asked her law clerk to fill in the citations. She, as far as I am aware, was the only member of the court to write her opinions in this fashion.
It was always fun to sit with Edith and deeply satisfying. Her good humor, her optimism, her willingness to listen, combined with her powerful mind made us look forward to being on a panel with her. Even when she disagreed and dissented, she was cordial and courteous. In addition, and perhaps even more telling, her innate sense of fairness and her passionate commitment to justice, her insistence that the law also had to protect the rights of the oppressed, the poor, and the loner could not but lift our spirits and ennoble the task at hand.
Edith's efficiency and sense of duty continued to the very end. She never had to concern herself with a deadline, her opinions were finished long before the one hundred and thirty day guideline and with elegance and clarity. She sat as late as the middle of December. When she learned of the seriousness of her illness, despite Chief Justice Warner's wish to remove all pressures from her, she insisted on writing as many of the cases assigned to her as possible. She completed all but one and when she could not finish it, she called the Chief full of apologies.
Edith was a superstar on all the courts on which she served. When she was on the Superior Court she often consulted Dr. James Gilligan, the former medical director of Bridgewater State Hospital. He tells of Edith's concern for the litigants before her and her creativity. Appalled that there were no facilities for mentally ill women prisoners or women who needed drug rehabilitation, Edith roused the Commissioner of Correction to create a commission to study the problem and both she and Dr. Gilligan were appointed. Although the commission's efforts had only moderate success this was only because of changes in the office of commissioner.
Dr. Gilligan relates how Edith called him one day and asked, "How would you like me to send you a murderer." It was a battered woman and Edith, anticipating what is now more and more a legitimate defense, sentenced the woman to Bridgewater to act as a secretary in Dr. Gilligan's office. The sentence worked out well and the woman is now an upstanding member of her community.
Edith also recognized early on, long before the canons of judicial ethics precluded judges from belonging to clubs which excluded women, that the existence of such organizations had effects far beyond exclusion from the club. Despite her willingness to please, her friendship with her colleagues, and her knowledge that she would incur the wrath of some, she made it known that she would not attend a Superior Court dinner at a club which excluded women. The court thereafter always met at a location which did not discriminate.
On the Brookline Municipal Court, Edith was a leader in alternative sentencing. She directed defendants to work with retarded persons, in town recreation activities, serving meals to the elderly and painting the town's fire boxes. She explained, "These are very useful, alternative dispositions, especially for first offenders who deserve more than a slap on the wrist or a fine. This makes them realize that they have done something wrong and now we have them do something meaningful." How similar her words are to those of the recent sentencing commission.
But Edith's impact was even greater. Judge Judith Cowin of the Superior Court graciously gave me a copy of the January, 1976 Report of the Special Committee on Trial De Novo sent to the Chief Justice of the District Courts. Edith chaired the committee, and, in only six months from its creation, the committee accomplished its task and submitted its printed report. Together with Judith Cowin, Edith drafted the report which summarized the findings of the committee, discussed the literature, and the experience of the two-tier system in other states. In a mere twenty-four pages, the report delivered a restrained, persuasive and devastating attack on the system, pointing out its unfairness and setting forth in the clearest terms its conclusion, and I quote: "To the extent that the system provides two separate trials, for the career criminal it provides excessive benefits against the public interest; for the others, the burdens associated with two trials result in unfairness. The requirement of fairness would be satisfied by one opportunity for trial, before a jury if so desired, and an appeal on errors of law, if any." Any reader of the report with an interest in justice cannot but be impressed by the analysis, and in awe of its clarity. Although the legislative wheels ground slowly, there is no question that the report of Edith's committee was a powerful force in the abolition of de novo. Its only vestige now is in the Juvenile Court.
Edith's first love was the District Court where she could be directly involved in peoples' lives so as to advance the interests of the less fortunate. She clearly shared with Chief Justice Liacos the view that courts should be institutions of instruction in ethics and in justice. In a speech in 1992, Edith recalled her tenure as a trial judge as exciting, important years, and commented that in the District Court she had the opportunity to be creative and innovative with first time offenders, while by contrast matters moved more slowly in the Superior Court.
I have the impression that when she first came to the Appeals Court, she felt more constrained and perhaps shared the thoughts of the Connecticut judge who asked, "Who would want to be one-third of a judge?" In time, however, I think Edith felt equally excited about her work on this court and as she stated so beautifully in her interview with Lawyers Weekly, referring to all three courts: "It is a privilege to be able to serve society in such an important capacity. If one has experience and performs the function honestly and as well as one can, I think that it's a privilege that's rarely offered." And her colleagues on each of the courts might add, it is a privilege that rarely is done so well.
After hearing the tributes of those who spoke today and recognizing how deeply our court treasured Edith's presence and abilities, I cannot but remember how I sat in the Supreme Judicial Court not long ago, at the memorial of Justice Ammi Cutter. Edith was sitting next to me and said ruefully -- no one will be able to say anything about me.
One cannot end without mentioning the broadness of Edith's interests -- she spent an hour each morning reading the Times and the Globe before walking to court -- and one must mention the pleasure she took in Annie, Liz and Grant and in Benjamin and in Bob Baram, her wonderful husband, who brought her great joy in the years they spent together. Bob provided me with much helpful material and suggested the following description of Edith: She did what Adlai Stevenson said of Eleanor Roosevelt - "she lit candles, and refused to curse the darkness."
On behalf of the Court, I allow the Attorney General's Motion.
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