Monday, May 16, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin Newmark on Being a Judge

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Below I transcribe a quote from my grandfather, Melvin Newmark, which appeared in a much longer news article that interviewed several local municipal judges. (The image is from family records, and not the newspaper.)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb 22, 1972, page 5.

Once a municipality has obtained a good judge, it may have a problem keeping him.

Melvin L. Newmark, a lawyer who resigned after several years on the municipal bench in Olivette, did so because he had become discouraged about the public’s attitude toward the lower courts.

“I quit because being a judge got to be a problem, “ Newmark says. “Friends expected me to do favors for them. I thought my job was to enforce the ordinances, but some of my neighbors wouldn’t talk to me because I wouldn’t fix a ticket.”

“I’m disappointed about the attitude of the public towards traffic courts,” Newmark said. “Often the people who yell and scream for strict law enforcement are the same people who would not hesitate to get a ticket fixed.”


1. My grandfather was municipal court judge from 1962-1967, so this quote  is from five years after he resigned. It's great to have 'on record' the reason he left the position.

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