Friday, March 12, 2010

Attorney lounge dedicated to Judge Eugene Spellman

There was a really nice luncheon today at the federal courthouse, naming the attorney lounge on the 14th floor the Eugene Spellman Attorney Lounge. Judge John O'Sullivan gave a great speech about Spellman -- telling stories about how Spellman judged cases and taught young lawyers. It was very funny and one got a sense of why everyone loved Spellman. Judge Spellman's wife and son were present. Harry Solomon was also honored for his work on the CJA panel.

The lounge itself is very nice, with a big flat-screen TV, couches and places to plug-in for computers.

The NY Times wrote this obit about Spellman back in 1991:

Judge Eugene P. Spellman, an 11-year veteran of Federal District Court who was known for innovative sentences and supporting social causes, died of cancer today at Mercy Hospital. He was 60 years old.
Judge Spellman was absent from the bench only a week before his death.
He crafted a novel sentence that withstood a challenge in the tax-evasion case of the industrialist Victor Posner, a millionaire who was ordered to give $3 million to the homeless and to serve meals in a shelter.
In other cases, the judge decried "underhanded tactics" used by Federal immigration officials against Haitian immigrants and released on bond a prisoner with AIDS after ruling that the Bureau of Prisons did not offer the prisoner adequate medical treatment.
In a case involving religious freedom, Judge Spellman ruled that public health and needs outweighed the tenets of the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion and upheld ordinances banning animal sacrifices in the Miami suburb of Hialeah.
He presided over the 1985 trial of Hernan Botero, a Colombian financier who was convicted of laundering $57 million in drug money, as well as drug cases involving former Government ministers of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean and a former agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Judge Spellman, who was nominated to the Federal bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, was to be honored Wednesday as an outstanding jurist by the Dade County Bar Association.
He is survived by his wife, Robin, and sons Michael and James.

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