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Morton J. Hanlon

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Material Information

Title:
Morton J. Hanlon able, affable, and agonistic, 1925-1993
Physical Description:
1 online resource (4 p.) : ill. ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Buck, Morison
Publisher:
Morison Buck
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Judges -- Biography -- Florida -- Hillsborough County   ( lcsh )

Notes

Original Version:
Originally published as part of the "Chips off the Old Bench" column: Tampa, Fla. : Hillsborough County, November 1998, Lawyer under title:
General Note:
Title from caption.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
usfldc doi - B28-00013
usfldc handle - b28.13
NEW
System ID:
SFS0000057:00001


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M or t on J. H an l on A b l e A f f ab l e an d A gon i s t i c 1925 1993 A bl e A f f a bl e a nd A goni s t i c N o, t ha t 's not t he na m e of a ne w l a w f i r m i n t ow n. I t 's a f a i r a l l i t e r a t i ve de s c r i pt i on, i t s e e m s t o m e o f m y f r i e nd, a r e a l m a n, H ono r a bl e M or t on J H a nl on. T hom a s J a nd B l a nc he H a nl on, L a c e C ur t a i n I r i s h" C a t hol i c s ha d f i ve c hi l d r e n, a l l bor n i n S t L oui s M i s s our i M r s H a nl on l i ke d t o r e t ur n t o he r f or m e r f a m i l y ho m e f o r t he b i r t h of he r c hi l dr e n S he m a de but f our s uc h t r i ps how e ve r a nd t he l a s t one r e s ul t e d i n a br a vur a pe r f or m a nc e S he ga ve bi r t h t o G e or ge t he n f o r a n e nc or e s he de l i ve r e d M or t hi s i de nt i c a l t w i n T he na t ur e o f t he s e ni or H a nl on's w or k a s a n e l e c t r i c a l e ngi ne e r m a de i t ne c e s s a r y f or hi s l a r ge f a m i l y t o m ove a r ound t he c ount r y w i t h s oj o ur ns i n N e w Y or k F l or i da a nd T e xa s S e ve r a l ye a r s w e r e s pe nt i n T a m pa w he r e he s e r ve d a s p r e s i de nt a nd G e ne r a l M a na ge r of T a m pa E l e c t r i c ( he w a s s uc c e e de d by F r a nk G a nnon) T he H a nl on s l i ve d on D a vi s I s l a nd a nd a l s o on S out h D e l a w a r e i n H yde P a r k j us t a c r os s t he s t r e e t f r om D i c k G r i f f i n t he w e l l know n ba nke r M or t H a nl on e nl i s t e d i n t he N a vy V 12 pr ogr a m a nd s e r ve d on a c t i ve dut y f or a bout t w o ye a r s dur i ng W or l d W a r I I Y e a r s l a t e r hi s w i f e di s c ove r e d a n honor a bl e di s c ha r ge c e r t i f i c a t e i ndi c a t i ng t ha t he a l s o s e r v e d i n t he A i r F or c e R e s e r ve B e f or e de c i di ng t o go t o l a w s c hool a c a r e e r pa t h c hos e n by hi s ol de r br o t he r s T hom a s J ( now de c e a s e d) a nd D a vi d G ( s t i l l a c t i ve a s a s e ni or pa r t ne r i n t he S ha c kl e f or d F a r r i or l a w f i r m ) he di ppe d i nt o t he a c a de m i c pool s o t o s pe a k, a t a num be r of uni ve r s i t i e s ( a bout t e n a l t oge t he r a c c or di ng t o hi s w i f e ) H i s a c a de m i c g r a de s w e r e a l w a ys t op not c h. H i s L L B de gr e e w a s e a r ne d a t S out he r n M e t hodi s t i n D a l l a s ; t ha t f e a t w a s f ol l ow e d by a M a s t e r s i n T a xa t i on a t N Y U M or t 's s c hol a s t i c hi s t or y r e m i nds m e of a c om m e n t a t t r i but e d t o Y ogi B e r r a w ho w he n a s ke d i f a c e r t a i n r ooki e 's pl a y ha d e xc e e de d Y ogi s e xpe c t a t i ons s a i d, H e 's done m or e t ha n t ha t U pon t a ki ng r oot ba c k i n F l or i da he m a r r i e d L e s l e y W ood, a de m ur e r e f i ne d B r i t i s h l a dy. T he m a r r i a ge pr oduc e d a da ught e r H e i di w ho no w l i ve s i n t h e A t l a nt a a r e a a nd M or t J r of T a m pa H a nl on's pr of e s s i ona l e xpe r i e nc e a nd j ob c onne c t i ons w e r e va r i e d a nd s ubs t a nt i a l F or a bout 3 ye a r s he di d c o r por a t e l a w w or k f or t he W i nt e r H a ve n f i r m o f S u m m e r l i n a nd C onnor ; s e r ve d a s a n A s s t A t t or ne y G e ne r a l i n L a ke l a nd a nd l a t e r a s A s s t S t a t e A t t or ne y i n T a m pa L i ke hi s f a t he r he w or ke d f or S t one & W e bs t e r S e r vi c e C o r p. i n N e w Y or k a nd T a m pa E l e c t r i c C o. i n

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T a m pa I nt e r s pe r s e d w i t h hi s ot he r a c t i vi t i e s bus i ne s s a nd pr of e s s i ona l w e r e : a f f i l i a t i on w i t h t he l a w f i r m of D i xon, F l ynn & T r i gg, a nd pa r t ne r s hi p w i t h t he G i bbons f i r m i n T a m pa T hom a s J H a nl on, S r w a s a R e publ i c a n, a nd s on, M or t w a s a t l e a s t be f or e be c om i ng a j udge a n a c t i ve G O P m e m be r a nd a n out s poke n c r i t i c of t he oppos i t i on pa r t y's phi l os ophy. F or i ns t a nc e i n 1963 he w r ot e a l e t t e r t o P r e s i de nt K e nne dy c a s t i ga t i ng t he a dm i ni s t r a t i on f or f oi s t i ng upon t he A m e r i c a n pe opl e t he p r e s e nt r a c i a l r e vol ut i on H e w a s not ba s hf ul a bout t a ki ng a pos i t i on on pol i t i c a l i s s ue s a nd pr i nc i pl e s A f t e r he be c a m e a j udge e ve n a s a m a gi s t r a t e ( j us t i c e of t he pe a c e ) he s e e m e d t o be a l i ght ni ng r od f or di f f i c ul t c a s e s M or t 's j udi c i a l c a r e e r w a s l a unc he d i n 1970 w he n G ove r nor C l a ude K i r k a ppoi nt e d hi m J P t o s uc c e e d W M a r i on H e ndr y O n a dopt i on of r e vi s e d A r t i c l e V of t he s t a t e c ons t i t ut i on H a nl on be c a m e a C ount y J udge T he T am pa T i m e s e di t or i a l l y e ndor s e d t he a ppoi nt m e nt f i ndi ng J udge H a nl on t o be w e l l qua l i f i e d i n t e r m s of e xpe r i e nc e a nd t e m pe r a m e nt f or t he be nc h. T he a ddi t i on of a not he r R e publ i c a n i n t he c our t hous e t he e di t o r i a l w e nt on t o s a y, w oul d he l p bol s t e r t he t w o pa r t y s ys t e m L a t e r j udge s w e r e s t r i ppe d of pa r t i s a n l a be l s but i n 1970 t he y w e r e s t i l l know n by t he pol i t i c a l c om pa ny t h e y ke pt W hi l e s e r vi ng a s C ount y J udge w i t h m i s de m e a nor j ur i s di c t i on, J udge H a nl on w a s a s s i gne d a c a s e t ha t or i gi na t e d i n V ol us i a C ount y ( D a yt ona B e a c h) I t w a s St at e v M ar i on R y an, a nd t he c a s e be c a m e a c a us e c e l e br e not onl y i n l oc a l ne w s pa pe r s but i n a c ons e r va t i ve t a bl oi d c a l l e d N at i onal Spot l i ght S om e gr oups s t a r t e d a n E m e r ge nc y C om m i t t e e t o I ns ur e J us t i c e f or M a r i on R ya n" out of B e l l e G l a de F l or i da T he R ya n c a s e w hi c h w e nt t o t r i a l he r e i n 1975 p r oduc e d a n out bur s t of pa s s i on f r om s uppor t e r s of t he de f e n da nt M r s R ya n w a s c ha r ge d w i t h ke e pi ng he r c hi l dr e n out o f s c hool gi vi ng t he m i ns t r uc t i on a t h om e ; he r j us t i f i c a t i on w a s t ha t publ i c s c hool t e xt books w e r e of f e ns i ve a nd de t r i m e nt a l t o he r c h i l dr e n. H a nl on e xc l ude d de f e nda nt 's e vi de nc e of t he b ooks a nd t he i r e xpe r t w i t ne s s e s f i ndi ng a s a m a t t e r of l a w t ha t de f e nda nt 's m ot i ve s w e r e i r r e l e va nt A f t e r a j ur y ve r di c t o f gui l t y, t he r e c a m e a t or r e nt of c r i t i c i s m o f t he j udge T he A m e r i c a n P a r t y, w i t h a B e l l e G l a de F l a A ddr e s s s ought a s s i s t a nc e a nd c ont r i but i ons f r om t hos e out r a ge d by t he de c i s i on. L e t t e r s w e r e r e c e i ve d by j udge H a nl on f r o m s uc h f a r f l ung pl a c e s a s W a s hi ngt on S t a t e N or t h D a kot a a nd M i nne s ot a f r om a bout 15 s t a t e s i n a l l O ne o f t he a ng r y l e t t e r w r i t e r s s a i d, W e c a n be t ha nkf ul t h a t you w e r e not a t w i n. J us t us W R e i d, a l a w ye r s t i l l i n pr a c t i c e i n W e s t P a l m B e a c h, r e pr e s e nt e d de f e nda nt R ya n. W he n c ont a c t e d by t he w r i t e r f or hi s c om m e nt s r e ga r di ng t he c a s e a nd J udge H a nl on, r e pl i e d i n pa r t a s f ol l ow s : W he n i t be c a m e a ppa r e nt t h a t w e w e r e goi ng t o w i n t he c a s e t he j u dge i n V ol us i a C o. s uc c um be d t o t he pr os e c ut or 's pl e a f or a c ha nge of ve nue r e m ovi ng i t f r o m D a yt ona O nc e H i l l s bor ough C ount y w a s s e l e c t e d, J udge H a nl on m a de s hor t w or k o f a n y de f e ns e t ha t w e w i s he d t o put f or t h by r ul i ng t ha t t he M a r i on R ya n's r e a s ons f or not s e ndi ng he r c hi l dr e n t o s c hool w e r e i r r e l e va nt W hi l e I f ound j udge H a nl on t o be s om e w ha t s hor t s i ght e d on t he s e i s s ue s he w a s a l w a ys c our t e ous a nd m a i nt a i ne d e xc e l l e nt c our t r oom de c or um I t w a s c l e a r t ha t he w a s n't a bout t o a l l ow t he a ve r a ge c i t i z e n t o f i ght t he s c hool e s t a bl i s hm e nt I t i s a pi t y t ha t he di dn' t l ook pa s t t he i s s ue of w he t he r t he c hi l dr e n a t t e nde d o r di dn't a t t e nd s c hool T he ye a r o f J udge H a nl on's bi r t h a t r i a l m or e no t o r i ous t ha n St at e v R y an t ook pl a c e I t w a s t he 1925 D a yt on, T e nne s s e e e nc ount e r be t w e e n t h e f unda m e nt a l i s t W i l l i a m J e nni ngs B r ya n, f or t he pr os e c ut i on, a nd r e doubt a bl e C l a r e nc e D a r r ow f or de f e ns e S c ope s a 24 ye a r ol d hi gh s c hool t e a c he r w ho w a s c ha r ge d w i t h t e a c hi ng t he doc t r i ne o f e vol ut i on i n hi s s c hool w a s a l m os t f or got t e n i n t he g l a r e of a t t e nt i on f oc us e d on t he pr i nc i pa l a dvoc a t e s J us t a s J udge H a nl on l a t e r e xc l ude d de f e nda nt 's e xc ul pa t or y e vi de nc e J udge R a l s t on i n S c ope s r e f us e d t o a dm i t de f e ns e e xpe r t s s c i e nt i f i c t e s t i m ony, r ul i ng t ha t t he onl y i s s ue t o be de c i de d w a s w he t he r

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or not de f e nda nt ha d t a ught e vol ut i on c ont r a r y t o T e nne s s e e l a w T i m e m a ga z i ne r e po r t e d a n i nt e r e s t i ng c ol l oquy be t w e e n D a r r ow a nd t he J udge D a r r ow a s ke d w hy e ve r y r e que s t of t he pr os e c ut i on w a s gr a nt e d, a nd e ve r y de f e ns e r e que s t w a s ove r r ul e d. S a i d t he C our t I hope you do not m e a n t o r e f l e c t on t he c our t t o w hi c h D a r r ow r e s ponde d, W e l l Y ou r H onor ha s t he r i ght t o hope J udge R a l s t on l a t e r c i t e d D a r r ow f o r c ont e m pt a nd s e t bond a t $ 5000. S ubs e que nt l y, t ha t s a m e da y, a f t e r D a r r ow a pol og i z e d, t he j udge f or ga ve hi m w i t h a B i bl i c a l quot a t i on, C om e unt o M e a nd r e c e i ve e t e r na l L i f e J udge H a nl on t ook on t he S upr e m e C our t o f F l o r i d a w he n he s poke out a ga i ns t i t s pr ogr a m of a l l ow i ng c a m e r a s i n t he c our t r oom H e t ook uno f f i c i a l s t r a w pol l s of p r os pe c t i ve j ur or s i n t he c e nt r a l j ur y poo l a nd a l s o a pol l of t hos e s e l e c t e d t o t r y a f e l ony c r i m i na l c a s e t o i nqui r e a bout how s uc h pe r s ons f e l t a bout c a m e r a s E ve n t ho ugh a gr e a t m a j or i t y of t hos e pol l e d w e r e i n a gr e e m e nt w i t h J udge H a nl on's s t a t e d vi e w s t he S upr e m e C our t a s i t us ua l l y doe s pr e va i l e d. T he r e w e r e ot he r c r i m i na l c a s e s c om i ng be f or e H a nl on w hi c h r e c e i ve d publ i c a t t e nt i on, w i t h ne w s pa pe r c l i ppi ngs a nd r e l a t e d a r t i c l e s i n s c r a pbooks m e t i c ul ous l y ke pt by t he j udge hi m s e l f but s pa c e doe s not pe r m i t t he i r i nc l us i on i n t h i s pi e c e M or t s e r ve d a t one t i m e a s l a w c l e r k f or F e de r a l D i s t r i c t J udge J os e ph P L i e b, a nd t he y ha d a c l os e r e l a t i ons hi p unt i l t he l a t t e r 's de a t h i n 1971 H a nl on's na m e w a s m e nt i one d i n t he l oc a l pr e s s a s a pos s i bl e s uc c e s s or T he a ppoi nt m e nt ul t i m a t e l y w e nt t o W m T e r r e l l H odge s a S e ni or J udge now i n J a c ks onvi l l e I n 1976, J udge H a nl on w a s e l e c t e d C i r c ui t J udge w i t hout oppos i t i on. H e ne ve r d r e w a n oppone nt i n a ny f ut u r e e l e c t i on a nd r e t i r e d a f t e r 2 0 ye a r s of s c a nda l f r e e e xe m pl a r y j udi c i a l s e r vi c e T he j udge 's i nt e r e s t i n a t hl e t i c s da t e d f r om hi s yout h. H e a nd G e or ge w e r e a l l s t a r l i ne s m e n i n t he i r hi gh s c hool f oo t ba l l l e a gue ; he w a s on t he gol f t e a m t he r e W hi l e i n D a r t m out h he w a s a m e m be r of t he c r os s c ount r y r unni ng t e a m a nd he w a s a l ongt i m e hoc ke y f a n H e t o l d m e o nc e a f t e r r e t i r e m e nt t ha t he pl a nne d t o s e r ve pe r i odi c a l l y a s a s e ni or j udge s o he c oul d s he l l out t he c os t of s e a s on t i c ke t s f or t he ne w hoc ke y t e a m i n T a m pa S a dl y hi s f a i l i ng he a l t h di d no t a l l ow t ha t t o ha ppe n. H e a nd t h i s s c r i be ha d m a ny e nj oya bl e r ounds of gol f a t t he ne a r by c ount r y c l ub. R e m i ni s c e nc e s f r om Som e of T hos e W ho K ne w H i m L onge s t and B e s t F r ank F al l on ( r e t i r e d l aw y e r now l i v i ng i n B ur ns v i l l e N C ) k ne w M or t s i nc e e l e m e nt ar y s c hool i n Sc a r s dal e N Y "I al w ay s r e m e m be r M o r i l aughi ng and t he i nt e r e s t he t ook i n pe opl e ; he w as v ot e d "B e s t Spor t i n c l as s O ne ni ght M or t & I w e nt t o t he t r ot t i ng r ac e s at Y onk e r s R ac e w ay M or i c am e ov e r t o m e af t e r v i e w i ng t he hor s e s i n t he upc om i ng r ac e H e r at he r e x c i t e dl y t ol d m e t hat a hor s e nam e d "I r i s h" bad l ook e d at hi m W e be t r at he r he av i l y on I r i s h and he c am e i n l as t D r H e nr y A A z ar ( one of t he f ounde r s of U S T M e di c al Sc hool now r e s i di ng C hape l H i l l N C ) had gr e at j i nn and f r i e nds hi p i n y e ar s of t e nni s c om pe t i t i on. M or t ne v e r di s c us s e d w hat w e nt on i n c our t but onc e H e appe ar e d bot h out r age d a nd be f uddl e d by a c oupl e w ho w e r e s ui ng f or di v or c e i n hi s c our t t he r e as on? W hat r e as on do y ou hav e f or di v or c i ng?' ans w e r e d J udge H anl on. I di g r oc k s he di gs di s c o ans w e r e d t he m a n w hi l e t he w om an appe ar e d e qual l y di s gus t e d about t he i r i r r e c onc i l abl e di f f e r e nc e s H e w as a m agni f i c e nt r ol e m ode l dur i ng h i s l as t y e ar as he w as about t o m e e t hi s M ak e r N e v e r di d I w i t ne s s s uc h l ov e o f f am i l y s uc h di gni t y and f or t i t ude M i c hae l K av ouk l i s f r i e nd and f or m e r j udge ) w or k e d w i t h M or t i n t he A t t or ne y G e ne r al s

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of f i c e i n L ak e l and T he y c om m ut e d i n s e par at e c ar s be c aus e M or t dr ov e ov e r and b ac k w i t h out ai r c ondi t i oni ng i n hi s c ar H e w as l e s s c ons e r v at i v e gas t r onom i c al l y t he w ay he c ons t r uc t e d ov e r s i z e ` D agw ood" s andw i c he s at l unc h. Si s t e r B e be H odge has m any f ond m e m or i e s of f a m i l y gat he r i ngs w he r e hum or abounde d. A t M or t and L e s l e y s w e ddi ng, t w i n br ot he r G e or ge c am e f r om O k l ahom a w i t h hi s t w o y e ar ol d s on w ho c ons t ant l y c has e d M or t ar ound gr abbi ng hi s l e gs c r y i ng, "D addy D addy Son, M or t J r r e c ol l e c t s w i t h f ondne s s hi s f at he r s e x am pl e on how t o l i v e but al s o t he i r pl e as ur e i n at hl e t i c s t og e t he r e s pe c i al l y gol f H i s d ad had s om e of f i c i al bus i ne s s at t he j ai l one Sat ur day m or ni ng, and one o f t he j ai l pe r s onne l ap ol ogi z e d t o hi s f at he r be c aus e s om e one had par k e d i n hi s s pa c e not r e al i z i ng t hat s om e one o f m y f at he r s pos i t i on w oul d dr i v e an o l d P ont i ac V e nt ur a, w hi c h he c al l e d "T he M udde r B r ot he r D av i d G H anl on ne v e r f or got an oc c as i on i n T e x as o n t he l i ght e r s i de w he n he and M or t w e r e w or k i ng at a r oadhous e ( W oody H e r m an' s hand w as appe ar i ng) par k i ng c ar s D av e w as i n one ar e a bus i l y g e t t i ng c ar s i nt o p l ac e w he n he ne e de d t o f i nd hi s br ot he r T he r e w as no s i gn o f hi m at f i r s t but w he n D av i d d i d f i n d hi m he w as s i t t i ng i n a ne w C adi l l ac c onv e r t i bl e s i ppi ng c ham pagne w i t h t he dr i v e r a y oung, at t r ac t i v e w om an. B r ot he r G e or ge H anl on, and M or t w e r e f r e que nt l y m i s t ak e n f or one anot he r I n hi s c ham be r s one t i m e he t ol d G e or ge t hat hi s ne x t c as e w as i n c ham be r s and t ol d hi m t o go i nt o t he c our t r oom and s i t i n t he j ur y box A s he e nt e r e d t h e c our t r oom t he bai l i f f c am e r unni ng ov e r t o G e or ge v e r y al ar m e d and s ai d, J udge y ou v e f or g ot t e n y our r obe "O nc e agai n, M or t t r ai l i ng be hi nd, bur s t out l augh i ng and be gan r e as s ur i ng t he bai l i f f W i f e L e s l e y H anl on r e l at e s t hat M or t w as e nt hus i as t i c w i t h e v e r y t hi ng i n l i f e e v e n danc i ng. O nl y t r oubl e s he s ay s w as t hat no m at t e r w hat m us i c w as be i ng pl ay e d or w hat t e m po, he di d t he w al t z "H e m ade m e l augh, and t hat i s w hat c o nv i nc e d m e t o m ar r y hi m M or t had an i nf e c t i ous l augh w hi c h w oul d e r upt f r om de e p i ns i de hi m and t he n e x pl ode w i t h hi s f ac e w r e a t he d i n a huge gr i n. Som e t hi ng s e e n r e c e nt l y f r o i n an ol d E dna F e r be r s t or y s om e how m ade m e t hi nk of m y gong buddy be f or e hi s f i nal i l l ne s s : A hands om e ol d boy he w as r uddy hal e w i t h t he z e s t of a j ui c y ol d appl e s l i ght l y w i t he r e d, but s t i l l s appy P ar aphr as i ng a bor r ow e d l i ne w r i t t e n as a t r i bu t e t o t he l at e R e d Sm i t h, t he c e l e br at e d s por t s w r i t e r : C har ac t e r w a s s o m e t hi ng M or t H a nl on had no t r oubl e r e c ogni z i ng. H e s a w i t e v e r y m or ni ng w he n he s hav e d. M or i s on B uc k A f t e r w or d: T i m e i s t he c oi n of y our l i f e I t i s t he onl y c oi n you ha ve a nd onl y you c a n de t e r m i ne how i t w i l l be s pe nt B e c a r e f ul l e s t you l e t ot he r pe opl e s pe nd i t f o r you R al ph M c G i l l J our nal i s t and E di t or


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