Bar News - September 5, 2008
Retiring Judge David Huot Presided over “People’s Court”
By: Mike Persson
District Court Judge David Huot with wife June at his retirement celebration on August 22.
More than 100 friends and colleagues gathered at the historic Belknap Mill in Laconia on August 22 to celebrate the career of retiring District Court Judge David Huot of Laconia. The event, organized by Belknap County Attorney Jim Carroll, Laconia District Court Clerk Diane Lane and attorney Sue Rock, featured speeches by people who have known and served with Judge Huot throughout his career.
The event began with speeches by Bob Hemeon of Wescott, Millham & Dyer, who spoke about his long relationship with Judge Huot, and by Paul Normandin of Normandin, Cheney & O’Neil, who first hired Judge Huot as a new attorney fresh out of law school. Attorneys Hemeon and Normandin both touched on themes that would be repeated throughout the night: that Judge Huot is a man who cares about people and was the perfect person to serve in what everyone affectionately called "the people’s court."
Retired Judge Willard "Bud" Martin, who served as an associate judge under Judge Huot for many years, thanked him for his flexibility, his understanding and friendship. Attorney Matthew Lahey, who grew up on the same small street in Laconia where Judge Huot lived, remarked that he literally has known Judge Huot all his life. In his capacity as mayor of Laconia, Lahey thanked Judge Huot for his service to the city, both in and out of the courtroom.
Retired Judge Michael Sullivan spoke about his long association with Judge Huot and presented him with the clock that district court judges are traditionally given at retirement. Judge Edwin Kelly, representing the state judiciary, thanked him for his service and presented him with a certificate from the New Hampshire Supreme Court commemorating his years of service.
The night’s lightest moment came courtesy of Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin who left the crowd laughing after he told lighthearted stories about his days as a NH State Trooper prosecuting his own cases in front of Judge Huot.
Judge Huot was introduced by his son Matthew, who spoke movingly about life with his father. Then Judge Huot told about his life growing up in Laconia, his years in the Air National Guard, as a Babe Ruth umpire, his law practice prior to his appointment to the bench, and his service as a district court judge. He spoke at length about his family and the support that his wife June, his son Matthew, and his stepchildren have provided him.
Finally, he talked about his plans for the future. He applauded the decision to allow retired judges to serve as senior active judges and said that he is enjoying his trips to different district courts around the state and is looking forward to continuing to spend time in the courtroom.
The night ended with two presentations. The first was made by Jim Carroll, who was responsible for recruiting all of the night’s speakers and served as the master of ceremonies for the evening. Carroll presented Judge Huot with a framed portrait of himself that will be hung in the new Laconia District Court in what was jokingly referred to as the "rogue’s gallery" of retired judges.
Lastly, Judge Edwin Kelly announced that the courtroom in the new Laconia District Court will be named the Judge David O. Huot Courtroom, and presented Judge Huot with a replica of the plaque that will be displayed on the door of the new courtroom.
Michael J. Persson has a law office (Lawson & Persson, P.C.) in Laconia.