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Was Judge Too Quick to Resign?

After highly regarded Boston-based U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Somma pleaded no contest to a DUI charge earlier this month and news media reported that he had been dressed in women's clothing when arrested, he resigned from the bench. Now, sentiment is coming out of two camps that Somma may have been too quick to hang up his robes.

Boston-area bankruptcy lawyers this week waged a letter-writing campaign to urge the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject Somma's resignation. The campaign -- reportedly spearheaded by Goodwin Procter partner Michael J. Pappone -- yesterday submitted letters to Circuit Executive Gary H. Wente saying, "Recent events do not in any manner diminish Judge Somma’s ability to fulfill his duties and to remain as a highly respected member of the bench with the overwhelming support of the community of bankruptcy practitioners." Above the Law has the full text of the letter.

Also this week, the New Hampshire newspaper credited with breaking the story is taking heat for reporting the alleged cross-dressing and exposing the judge and his family to embarrassment. The New Hampshire Union Leader published the story under the headline, Arrested Judge Wore Dress, Women's Hosiery. But EDGE Boston, a gay news Web site, reports that the newspaper's decision to turn cross-dressing into headline news is drawing as much scrutiny to the paper as the story brought to the judge. "Reader responses posted on the paper’s Web site have ranged from conscientious objections to vehement outrage," EDGE contributor Scott Kearnan writes. The judge may have betrayed public safety by driving drunk, Kearnan adds, but should he also have to explain his choice in hosiery?

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 29, 2008 at 01:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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