Judge Blake Gets the Love


Our own Judge Blake receives a glowing profile by the Boston Globe, focusing on his humorous, folksy style, unlike all those New England stiffs. Here’s my favorite part:

When he jousts with the stone-serious Fred Wyshak, the Boston federal prosecutor on loan to the locals, about sartorial choices Wyshak’s made for this road trip, Blake says that since becoming a judge 14 years ago he can no longer afford the fancy suits.

In fact, the judge says, “I sew pant legs to the bottom of my robe and wear gym shorts underneath.”

Uhh, if you say so Judge. Here’s more:

So for the judge, there’s a method to his one-liners. “People are usually petrified about being on a jury,” he says during the lunch recess while at his desk in his chambers. “I want to make it easier for jurors to come to court.”

Blake turned 60 last Saturday, a former marathoner and now avid golfer who combs his gray hair back and keeps a mustache neatly groomed. Though a native of Detroit, his family moved to Miami when he was a baby, and it’s been all Florida ever since — local public schools, the University of Florida and the University of Miami Law School.

He was a defense lawyer for nearly two decades before becoming a judge. For the past seven years he’s served as administrative judge in the circuit court’s criminal division.

The humor, he says, is not intended to take away from the solemnity of Connolly’s murder trial. He wants early on to get the eight women and seven men loosened up and talking, so that later on, during deliberations, when some may have sharp disagreements, they’ve already gotten over the hump of sharing their views.

He doesn’t worry that jurors might mistake his seemingly freewheeling style for judicial laxness. “Jurors get it,” he says. “They know what their job ultimately is.”

Humor is definitely an asset on the bench. Does Judge Blake have the best sense of humor among our judges on the bench? I can think of some who are entirely humorless.