Bar News - May 18, 2016
Morning Mail: In Memoriam: Remembering Freddie Catalfo
Read an obituary for Fred Catalfo Jr.
I have three Freddie Catalfo stories to share. When I was first assigned to the then-new courthouse in Dover in 1975, I had a jury trial where Freddie was wearing his velvet jacket. At one point during the case, he objected to a question by the prosecutor, saying, “Your Honor, I object to the tone of that question.” I sat there for a few seconds trying to digest how to rule, and then I said, “Very well, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the question stands, but you will disregard the tone.” Freddie, of course, with a great smile, thanked me, and on we went.
Later, in Carroll County, I had an appealed speeding conviction that I was hearing on a beautiful Friday afternoon. After an hour of expert testimony and cross-examination concerning tuning forks and radar, and numerous witnesses involved, I called Freddie up to the bench around 3:30 p.m. and said, “How much longer are we going with this?” He said, “Your Honor, the guy paid me $2,000 and I feel I have to earn my money.” I said, “Very well.” About 10 minutes later, Freddie rested. At that point, reasonable doubt having long been created, I promptly found his client not guilty.
Freddie was always a pleasure to deal with, and while he was unorthodox, he was always in there with a good fight for his clients. The only time he totally confounded me was during a bail hearing in 1976 in Rockingham County where he had expressed the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States was on his side on a particular bail issue. I asked him for the citation and the answer was, “Miranda v. Arizona, your honor.” At that point, I knew that I was clearly in uncharted waters bereft of any governing authority, but I let his client out on bail anyway. May he rest in peace.