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Bar News - August 14, 2009

Judge Wallace J. Anctil Retires

Pictured left to right: Hon. David King, administrative justice of the probate courts; Hon. Wallace Anctil, presiding justice of the Berlin District Court (now retired); Coos County Marital Master Ann Barber; Hon. Stephen Samaha, justice of the Plymouth District Court; and Hon. James Michalik, Coos family court judge. The picture is a photo by Paul Charest of Berlin of the Androscoggin River with the Berlin District Court, where Judge Anctil sat for 35 years, on the left.
Wallace J. Anctil, Presiding Justice of the Berlin District court since 1976, has retired at the mandatory age of 70. Although Anctil called the mandatory retirement age a bit "outdated" since many people are living longer more active lives, he added "I think Iíll enjoy the free time."

Judge Anctil is a graduate of St. Michaelís College and the Washington College of Law at American University. He was admitted to the Bar in 1969.

Anctil practiced law with Dupont & Anctil in Berlin, and also served as Special Justice for the Gorham District Court from 1975-2006. A majority of Anctilís career was spent in both Berlin and Gorham District Courts.

Attorney Philip R. Waystack had dozens of cases come before Judge Anctil. "Judge Anctil always treated everyone in his courtroom with dignity and respect," said Waystack. He said that during more than 30 years on the bench, Judge Anctil earned a reputation for patience and for control of the courtroom.

One of Judge Anctilís most memorable cases came in the winter of 1982. Defendant Roland Duchesnaye was found guilty of animal cruelty after discarding four puppies at the Berlin dump. Only three of the puppies survived the below-zero temperatures and Judge Anctil gave Duchesnaye the option of paying a $200 fine or spending two nights at the same dump where he left the puppies. The defendant refused to pay the fine and opted for two nights at the dump.

At the time of sentencing, Anctil said: "This kind of treatment shouldnít be given to an animal nor any human being, but I felt he should get a taste of it." The case gave Judge Anctil a brief moment of fame, as newspapers around the country published the Associated Press account of the unusual sentence, generating headlines such as "Puppy Dumper Sent to Dump," and "Judge Gives Man Same Treatment Dogs Got: Two Nights at Dump."

Anctil will continue living in the North Country in his retirement and he is anticipating filling his time with volunteering. His career was feted by the Coos County Bar in a retirement party at in Berlin, on June 25.

Krista Glencross is a graduate student working as a summer intern for the Bar News.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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