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The Sudden and Unexplained Rapture of America’s Federal Judiciary - Page 4
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Thread: The Sudden and Unexplained Rapture of America’s Federal Judiciary

  1. #31
    Senior Member CnCP Legend FFM's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    Juan M. Pérez-Giménez deceased 12/10/2020.

  2. #32
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    Jan 2013
    Retired federal judge William J. Castagna dies at 96

    There’s no question that William J. “Bill” Castagna lived a complete life, his son said Saturday.

    Born in Philadelphia to Italian immigrants, Mr. Castagna moved to Clearwater in the 1940s. It was in the Sunshine State that he’d go on to graduate from law school at the University of Florida, start his own practice and then serve as a Senior United States District Judge for 13 years.

    But it wasn’t just his professional success that Mr. Castagna will be remembered for, said his 64-year-old son Charles Castagna. It was also his dedication to family, from his wife of 59 years, Carolyn, to his 10 grandchildren and 6-month-old great grandson, Warren.

    Mr. Castagna passed away from natural causes while surrounded by his family on Friday. He was 96 years old.

    “He was a model husband and parent in every way,” said Charles. “Even with a busy professional life, we never got anything but his love and attention.”

    Charles said he and his brother, Will, would often take their 20-foot boat out to ski with their dad, and to fish in the Gulf of Mexico for trout and grouper.

    One of Charles’ fondest memories of his father was from when he was a teenager, on that same boat. When he and Will were around 13 or 14, they were trusted to stay overnight at a marina on Tampa Bay. There was one rule: Don’t take the boat out, or else you won’t be staying again.

    “Of course we took it out right away,” said Charles, laughing. “And then here we came back at midnight, three hours later, and the first thing we see is dad’s headlights beaming at the boat.”

    There were no more campouts for at least a year, Charles joked.

    Charles commended his father for his ability to balance work and life at home. From hosting holidays to birthdays, to helping with junior high student government campaigns, he was never too busy for family, said Charles. And as far as careers go, Mr. Castagna had an extensive one.

    The first line of Mr. Castagna’s resume on the U.S. Courts’ official website: United States Army, Air Corps, 1943-1945.

    While Mr. Castagna enlisted during the heart of World War II, he never saw action, despite being trained as a bombardier. But he sure did get close, Charles said.

    “The word that’s been passed down the family was that he was taxiing on a runway, about to head into action whenever the news came that the Japanese had surrendered,” he said. “Then he just headed home, but he was that close.”

    After serving, Mr. Castagna went to law school and had four children: Charles, Will, Lisa and Catherine. He also began his own private practice, which he’d run until 1979.

    That’s when Mr. Castagna was called upon by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the federal bench for the Middle District of Florida. He would hold that position until 1992, when he assumed senior status.

    While his seat was vacated after that, Mr. Castagna didn’t slow down much.

    He learned how to snow ski at age 70 and played tennis into his early 90s. He also continued fishing and water skiing, an annual birthday and Father’s Day tradition until he turned 93.

    “He truly lived a complete and fulfilled life,” said Charles. “I’m thankful to have had him as a dad and as a great role model for so many years.”

    William J. Castagna

    Born June 25, 1924. Died Dec. 18, 2020. Survived by his four children — Charles N. Castagna, William D. Castagna, Lisa A. Griffith and Catherine A. Abood — and 10 grandchildren. Predeceased by his parents Charles and Ninetta Castagna, his brother Edward, and his wife Carolyn.

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  5. #35
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  6. #36
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    Nov 2015
    New Jersey, unfortunately
    Cousin of the former Governor of Mississippi...
    Don't ask questions, just consume product and then get excited for next products.

  7. #37
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    Jan 2013
    Benjamin Gibson, first Black judge in U.S. Western District of Michigan, dies at 89

    GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The Hon. Benjamin F. Gibson, a retired U.S. District judge, and the first African-American judge to ever be appointed to the U.S. Western District of Michigan, has died.

    Gibson, according to his obituary, was 89 years old. He died Jan. 13 in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he resided prior to his death.

    After serving as the first Black assistant prosecutor in Ingham County, Gibson was appointed to his position as a federal judge in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. Prior to retiring from the district in 1999, he rose to serve as chief judge from 1991-95, according to Ballotpedia.

    Born in Alabama and raised in Detroit, Gibson served in the U.S. Army from 1948-50 before returning to Michigan to get a bachelor’s degree in science from Wayne State University and later earned a law degree from the Detroit College of Law, his obituary states.

    Described as a trailblazer and a pioneer, Gibson served as the assistant attorney general in the state of Michigan from 1961-63 before joining the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office and later going into private practice. He also taught as a professor at what is now WMU Cooley Law School.

    As well, Gibson became the first African-American board chair of the Heart of West Michigan United Way when he was appointed in 1987. Gibson also served on boards with the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Spectrum Butterworth Hospital and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, according to a Facebook post by the United Way.

    Following his retirement and a few moves, Ben and his wife Lucille settled in Gulfport, Mississippi where he founded the South Mississippi Ballroom Dancers, a group that “quickly grew to nearly 200 members and performed and danced all along the Mississippi Coast, from New Orleans to Pensacola,” his obituary states.

    A statement from JoAnn Spann-Fields, with the dance troupe said of Benjamin and Lucille Gibson, “They brought their grace, expertise and the beauty of ballroom dancing ‘urban style’ here that they learned from the best renowned instructors in Detroit.”

    Benjamin F. Gibson is survived by his wife Lucille Gibson, daughters Charlotte (Larry) Evans, Linda Reasor, Gail Junod, Carol LeFlore and Laura (Michael) Hopson, his son Gerald (Ishia) Gibson and his grandchildren, Larry, Lance, Bretton, Benjamin, Gerald, John Christopher, Ashley, Bryceton, Braegon, Bridge, Breckbrook, Dallas and Daevin.

  8. #38
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    Jan 2013
    Federal Judge Dominic J. Squatrito dies at 82

    Dominic J. Squatrito, who served more than 26 years as a federal judge after a legal career that included successfully defending the town of Manchester in a lawsuit alleging that it sought to discriminate against the poor in housing died Wednesday at age 82.

    Squatrito approached his responsibilities as a federal judge seriously. President Bill Clinton appointed him to the federal judgeship in 1994, and he took the semi-retired status of a “senior judge” a little more than 10 years later.

    He said in an interview at that time that there were few easy decisions. All litigants who come to the court think they are right, he said, and they generally have arguments that carry some weight.

    “People don’t come here with frivolous cases or frivolous defenses, mostly, in federal court,” he said.

    But Squatrito, a physically big man, also had a self-deprecating sense of humor that stayed with him until the end.

    Just this week he said, “Can you believe that I placed sixth in New England in pole vaulting, with a steel pole!” according to an obituary placed by his family.

    Manchester Town Attorney Ryan Barry said he knew Squatrito since Barry was a child because his father, David M. Barry, a longtime state legislator who later became a state judge, considered Squatrito “his most trusted, loyal friend.” Squatrito would come over to Barry’s house every Sunday for political meetings when Barry was a child.

    “He used to call me a whirling dervish, because I was a kid, running around in my pajamas.” Ryan Barry recalled. “But he was the whirling dervish, he had so much energy.”

    Benefiting society

    “When I was getting my law degree, he told me that it isn’t about yourself; the benefit isn’t to you, it’s to society,” Barry said.

    Barry described Squatrito as someone who was “warm, active, and never became aloof.” He remembered that Squatrito was interested in the lives of everyone around him.

    Squatrito was a three-letter athlete at Manchester High School, then went on to Wesleyan University, where he was captain of the football team before graduating in 1961. He earned a Fulbright Scholarship and attended the University of Florence in Italy in 1961-62.

    In his post-college period, he also worked with an organization called Crossroads Africa on providing clean drinking water on the continent and traveled around Europe on a motorcycle.

    He went on to Yale Law School, graduating in 1965, then settled down to practice law in Manchester with the firm of Bayer & Phelon, which eventually became Phelon, Squatrito, FitzGerald, Dyer & Wood, P.C.

    One of the best-known cases of his career occurred in the same courtroom where he would later preside. He was Manchester’s lead defense lawyer in a lawsuit that alleged that the town dropped out of the federal Community Development Block Grant program to keep members of minority groups out of town and to avoid federal pressure to build housing for the poor.

    Squatrito won that case before one of his predecessors as a senior federal judge, M. Joseph Blumenfeld.

    Close to Lieberman

    During his years in private law practice, Squatrito also served in a variety of public capacities, including as chief counsel to the state Senate from 1976 to 1980. During those years, he cemented his friendship with Joseph I. Lieberman, who was then leader of the Senate’s Democratic majority and went on to be elected state attorney general, then U.S. senator.

    Squatrito was prominently involved in Lieberman’s campaigns for those offices, and the senator’s support was widely considered the key to Clinton’s decision to appoint Squatrito to the federal judgeship.

    Squatrito expressed a certain awe about the high-powered talent that would come before him in major lawsuits.

    One such case involved a claim that a biotechnology company had infringed on patents belonging to two other biotech companies when it developed a genetically engineered strain of corn.

    “I have all the great scientists in the world come in and talk to me,” Squatrito recalled in the interview when he took senior status.

    But Squatrito also emphasized that “the most disliked people in society’s eyes can come here and get a fair decision.”

    He presided over a case that could be a textbook example of that point. It was a civil suit filed by Kevin King, who had been convicted of breaking into a neighbor’s apartment in New Britain, then raping and murdering Patricia Urbanski, 15, as her 2-year-old sister watched.

    King committed another outrage while in prison, beating and stabbing prison guard Elizabeth Prete, then putting on her uniform in an attempt to escape. After his escape was foiled, King alleged in a subsequent federal lawsuit that correctional officers handcuffed him, then sprayed him with Mace, took him to a holding cell, and took turns beating him over a 45-minute period.

    In a trial before Squatrito, a jury delivered a stunning verdict in King’s favor, awarding him more than $2 million in damages.

    Squatrito denied motions by the state to overturn the verdict, but he reduced King’s compensation to $375,000, calling the jury’s award “so high as to shock the judicial conscience and constitute a denial of justice.”

    Squatrito leaves many family members, including his wife of 53 years, Carla, who heads a successful business of her own, Carla’s Pasta, in South Windsor.

    Staff Writer Erika Purdy contributed to this story.

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