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Somma: On the Bench or Off?

Judgesomma When last we left U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Somma of Massachusetts, he was reconsidering his resignation from the bench. As you will recall, after news broke in February of Somma's DUI arrest while crossdressing, the judge, anticipating a "media frenzy," quickly submitted his resignation, effective April 1. But when area lawyers rallied to urge him to stay, citing his skill on the bench, he had second thoughts. In an April 1 letter to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, the judge wrote that the show of support led him to conclude, "contrary to my initial belief, that the media frenzy occasioned by this episode would not be an impediment to my continued service as a judge." He had "been communicating with the Court of Appeals" about his status, he told Lawyers Weekly, and was extending the effective date of his resignation to May 15.

That date has come and gone with no word of Somma's status. Yesterday, reporter Jonathan Saltzman at The Boston Globe went looking for answers, only to hit a solid wall of "no comments." Susan Goldberg, deputy circuit executive for the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, told Saltzman she could not discuss Somma's status. Karen Redmond, spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., promised to get back to Saltzman, then never did. Somma's lawyer said he could not comment. At the Web site of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston, Somma is still listed as a judge. The 1st Circuit's site still has the Feb. 15 press release announcing Somma's resignation, but nothing more recent.

Somma's status is the subject of considerable speculation among bankruptcy lawyers in the region, Saltzman writes. Many of them gathered last week for a CLE conference in Boston, on the day Somma's resignation was to take effect. "All I heard was people asking whether anyone had heard anything," said Paul D. Moore, a lawyer who helped circulate the letter of support. "It's a small community, but I'm not aware of any news being shared with anyone."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 21, 2008 at 12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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