Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Judge Hatten's Birthday

Today is Judge Bill Hatten's 96th birthday, and a celebration will be held in the 176th District Courtroom at noon.

Judge Hatten was before my time as an elected Judge, but I had him once as a visiting Judge during a voir dire on a Robbery case I was picking in the 179th. It wasn't all that serious of a robbery case and I had decided that some humor in my voir dire would work well.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't realize that Judge Hatten was going to talk to the jury before I did. If I recall correctly, it was around the time of his 90th birthday when the trial occurred, and he mentioned his birthday to the jury panel, before launching into the problems with getting older.

In a deadpan voice, he told the jury panel:

The problem with getting older is that it's getting harder and harder to wake up in the morning.

I knew I was getting older when my hearing was going and I couldn't hear the alarm anymore. Then I would try to just look at the clock and see what time it was, but my eyesight started going and I can't see it anymore.

So, then I just started turning over and asking my wife what time it was, but now I don't have my teeth!

The jury erupted in laughter and there was just no following that act. It was hysterical.

Happy birthday, Judge.


Anonymous said...

Judge Hatten lives in my neighborhood and has provided his house as a venue for Halloween and Christmas for years. It's only been the past couple of years he didn't take an active part in the proceedings. Great guy! Great neighbor.

jigmeister said...

I have lots of fond memories of Judge Hatten. One of my favorites: In the middle of a court trial, he put is feet up on the bench and displayed his new tennis shoes the rest of the trial.

Anonymous said...

Jig: I remember Wild Bill's tennis shoes too! He presided over the first felony case I ever sat on (Harry Lawrence kicked our butt on big fraud). The Judge was constantly coming down off the bench and cracking us all up when the jury was out - well - maybe not cracking up the defendant so much. For as old as he was (even 12 years ago) he was always right on top of things.

-Eric M-