Judge Frank Schwelb, who was a local judge in DC for more than 3 decades, died. I just spotted his obituary in the Washington Post. CLICK HERE
I liked him because he was always a gentleman — to lawyers and citizens in his court room. He certainly did not always agree with me and once wrote an opinion describing my argument on behalf of a client with the borrowed phrase as ‘an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.’ In other words, he was most unconvinced. :)
In reading his obituary I learned much about the judge that I did not know. He was born in Prague and his father was a human rights lawyer ‘who represented anti Nazi refugees from Hitler’s regime.’ His father was even arrested in 1939 by the Gestapo held for some time.
I wish I had known his personal history when I practiced before him because I would have liked to learn more about him and about his father…but, I suppose I would not have asked anyway. I always had a distant and professional relationship with him, not a casual one. He was a judge, I was a lawyer.
One thing I do remember was that one night, while a judge, he was robbed and shot in the stomach. That news was big in the courthouse! The obituary says that 12 years after the shooting, they found out who did it. Click on the link above if you are interested in finding out more.
(By the way, to show you how small the DC legal community is, Judge Schwelb was on the local bench at the same time now Attorney General Eric Holder was.)