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Bar News - May 18, 2007

Morning Mail: Judge Capistran Was One of a Kind


This letter is in memory of our late Judge Armand Capistran, whom I had the privilege of appearing before many times over a period of several years. He had a great knowledge of the law and a memory that worked to the disadvantage of criminal defendants who had appeared before him on prior occasions, perhaps years before, whose prior transgressions Judge Capistran would recall in detail. He also had an off-the-wall sense of humor which often relieved the tedious courtroom atmosphere. Those of us who had the privilege of appearing before him have our favorite Judge Capistran anecdote. Mine follows.


On one occasion, while waiting for the morning call of the list, an arraignment was taking place. The defendant was accused of shoplifting food from a supermarket and the arresting officer was reading a list of the food items the defendant was accused of stealing. At one point, the officer read, “Pork chops, eight dollars,” and continued to read. Judge Capistran stopped him and said, “Wait; read that last item again.” The officer read, “Pork chops, eight dollars.” Judge Capistran stopped him and said, “That’s terrible. If I were you, I wouldn’t shop there anymore.” The entire courtroom erupted in laughter.


Judge Capistran was one of a kind and will be missed. Rest in peace.


Richard L. Rodman



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