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Bar News - May 4, 2007

In Memoriam

Hon. Armand Capistran

Armand Capistran, 81, retired justice of the Manchester District Court, died on April 18, 2007, after a period of declining health.


Capistran was a member of the NH legislature and was a 50-year member of both the NH Bar Association and the Manchester Bar Association. He was appointed judge of the Manchester District Court in 1970 and served there until his retirement in 1995. In his community, Capistran was a member of many organizations, among them the Centre Franco-American Historical Association, the Society for French History in America, the American Legion Juris Post Historical Society and the Manchester Historic Association.


Capistran graduated from St. Anselm College in 1948 and received his master’s degree in French from the Universite de Laval in Quebec in 1952. He went on to study law at Boston University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1957. He joined the NH Bar that same year. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army.


According to an article by Pat Grossmith in the April 20 issue of the Union Leader, Capistran took very seriously not only his job as judge, but his responsibility for the way in which the taxpayer monies were spent. One time, a defendant jumped the railing and punched Capistran in the face; even so, he resisted the idea of metal detectors because of the cost to the public.

Eventually the court decided to put bullet-proof glass under the judges’ benches to allow them a place to duck if they were shot at. Capistran resisted the idea, for the same reason—too expensive. He would not allow the glass to be installed. The court solved the problem by waiting until he was on vacation and then installing the glass while he was gone.


According to the article, the judge loved his work and grieved when he had to retire at the mandatory age of 70. His birthday came on a Saturday—which he spent in court, his last day on the job.


Capistran is survived by his wife Cecile (Richard) Capistran; three sons, Conrad, Charles and Richard; and one daughter Celeste Ciesla; twelve grandchildren; and several nephews.


On behalf of our colleague Armand Capistran, the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Board of Governors has contributed to the New Hampshire Bar Foundation, 2 Pillsbury Street, Concord, NH 03301.




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