Monday, August 15, 2011

"Welcome to C.H.'s Tribute Blog"

History ~ Photographs ~ Memorabilia

                                                          Judge C.H. Mullen (1917-1999)
                                                          -Photograph by Allen Studios, 1977

        Welcome to Remembering Judge Mullen, a tribute blog dedicated to the life of the late
        Judge C.H. Mullen of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

        Scroll down this HOME page for a look at his career as a judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit
        of Kalamazoo County:  from his gubernatorial appointment in 1977, his subsequent election
        to the bench, chief judgeship, re-election, to his retirement from the bench in 1987.

        Blog postings on this page appear in the following order:

        "On the Bench" ~  Governor's Appointment ~ New Career ~ Election

        "On the Bench:  The Next Phase" ~ Chief Judge ~ Re-election ~ Retirement

        "Making Headlines" ~ The Kalamazoo Gazette Gets the Story

        "Jelly Bean Justice" ~ A Tradition Continues

        "Brighten the Corner Where You Are" ~ C.H.'s Party Piece ~ Philosophy of Life
          (Click on Older Posts)

        "They Called Him C.H." ~ History ~ Photographs ~ Memorabilia
          (Click on Older Posts)

Watch for TITLE TABS to appear on this blog in the upcoming weeks!  You will read about C.H.'s
early life:  his boyhood in Kansas, his student days at the University of Kansas, his marriage to Alice,
World War II in Washington, D.C., the University of Michigan law school, choosing Kalamazoo as
their home, his life and career here from 1947 to 1977, when he became judge.  

~ All photographs, articles, letters, and memorabilia are from the family's personal archives.

~ Click on the link below to read existing online articles about C.H.'s life and times:
                           ALICE'S ARCHIVES
                      Scroll down the Alice's Archives HOME page to read two postings:

                            "From K.U. to Kalamazoo"  and  "About Alice... and C.H."


              This short biography of C.H. Mullen appeared in the Testimonial Dinner Program, 1987.

                                                     HONORABLE C.H. MULLEN
                                                           Testimonial Dinner
                                                         Kalamazoo Hilton Inn
                                                            November 4, 1987

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"On the Bench"

Governor's Appointment ~ New Career ~ Election

                       C.H. Mullen, 1973
                        -Schiavone Studio, Kalamazoo

After he retired from trust work at the First National Bank and Trust Company in 1976, C.H. was practicing law with the firm of Martell and Allen.

A group of close friends and community leaders urged C.H. to apply to the State of Michigan to fill a vacancy on the bench of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Kalamazoo County, due to the death of Judge Raymond W. Fox, in 1977.

C.H. thought carefully about this momentous undertaking, and rose to the challenge.  He applied to fill the vacancy, and was duly appointed Circuit Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit by Michigan Governor William G. Milliken in September, 1977.

The document bearing the seal of the State of Michigan reads:

State of Michigan
Executive Department
William G. Milliken
Governor of the State of Michigan

"To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:
Know Ye, That reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity and ability of
Charles H. Mullen, Jr.
In the Name and by the Authority of the People of the State of Michigan,
I do appoint
Circuit Court Judge
Ninth Judicial Circuit

Term expires January 1, 1979
Document dated:  October 3, 1977

                                             Judge C.H. Mullen with Judge Glenn S. Allen, Jr. 
                                              -Photo by Jerry Campbell, Kalamazoo Gazette

The formal swearing-in ceremony took place on September 30, 1977 at the Kalamazoo County 
Courthouse with C.H.'s former law partner Glenn S. Allen, Jr., Michigan Court of Appeals Judge,
administering the oath of office.  Glenn Allen and Joe Crum gave C.H. his first job in Kalamazoo
when they invited him to join their law firm in 1947, which became Crum, Allen and Mullen.

A large contingency of family members, colleagues and friends were present to see C.H. don his
judge's robes, take the oath of office, and begin a new chapter in his life.

                                                           C.H. waiting to be sworn in

                                             A warm welcome from distinguished colleagues  
                                              -Photo by Jerry Campbell, Kalamazoo Gazette

                                                  -Photo by Schiavone Studio, Kalamazoo  

                         Swearing-in ceremony montage of photos by Schiavone Studio, Kalamazoo. 
                                                                  (click on to enlarge) 

         Good friend Caroline Ham and colleague Judge Robert Borsos at a yard party at C.H. and Alice's.

                                                                      Ta da!  A perfect fit!

            Waite Avenue neighbors got into the spirit of things and surprised C.H. with this yard sign.
            Neighbor Richard Gerstner, one of the organizers of the display, waits for C.H.'s reaction.

                               They provided C.H. with a robe and judicial wig for the occasion! 



                                                                 -Kalamazoo Gazette,
                                                                  May 22, 1978

A year after his appointment to the bench, Judge Mullen ran for a six-year term in the 1978 election,
and won.  He embarked on what was to be one of the most rewarding decades in his life.


                                 Scroll down this page to the August 7th blog posting entitled:
                                 "Making Headlines"  The Kalamazoo Gazette Gets the Story.
                                 It is a compendium of highlights from Judge Mullen's tenure
                                 on the bench as they appeared in Gazette headlines, articles,
                                 and editorials.

                                   Judge Mullen with court staff members and lawyers, c.1978. 

             Power couples, left to right:  Governor William G. Milliken and Hon. Glenn S. Allen, Jr., 
             and their wives, Alice and Hon. C.H. Mullen, in Lansing, c.1980.
                                                                 -Photo by Betty Jane Owen, East Lansing, Michigan. 


Saturday, August 13, 2011

"On the Bench: The Next Phase"

Chief Judge ~ Re-election ~ Retirement

     After his gubernatorial appointment to the bench in 1977,
     and his successful run for election the following year,
     Judge C.H. Mullen began the next phase as judge of the
     Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


      -Photograph by Jerry Campbell,
       Kalamazoo Gazette, March 27, 1985


                                                                  -Kalamazoo Gazette, November 30, 1979

           Judge Mullen was elected chief judge in 1979, and began his first term on January 1, 1980.
           He served in that capacity for two terms (four years).

           In the fall of 1980, Judge Mullen took a course at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.

      Judge C.H. Mullen, standing far right, with fellow judicial college students ~ casual in his blue jeans!

     "... Classes very intensive, high caliber and stimulating.  Start at 8 a.m. on the button, go 'til 12,
       with 10 minute breaks each hour.  We eat on a veranda at noon... Back to classes at 1 p.m., and
       continue 'til 5 p.m... Judges from all over the U.S. and half a dozen countries.  A few duds, but
       generally of quite high caliber.  Quite impressed..."  -C.H.'s letter to Alice, September 22, 1980.                                                          

             Stories from Judge Mullen's courtroom were often reported in the Kalamazoo Gazette...

                                 Interview marking Judge Mullen's fifth anniversary on the bench,
                                 by Mike Gallagher, Staff Writer, Kalamazoo Gazette, November 15, 1982.

                                                                 -By Mike Gallagher, Kalamazoo Gazette Staff Writer, 1984


After his chief judgeship ended on January 1, 1984, Judge Mullen was faced with a re-election
campaign that same year.  He had good support from the community.

                      -Letter from Al and Tenho Connable in support of C.H.'s re-election to the bench.


                               Montage of Judge Mullen's 1984 re-election campaign advertising.
                               He was re-elected for another six-year term.


                       Snapshot of Judge Mullen in the office of attorney William Kriekard, 1987.

                    A compendium of headlines/articles from the Kalamazoo Gazette appear below
                    in the August 7th blog posting entitled "Making Headlines"  The Kalamazoo
                    Gazette Gets the Story.  Scroll down the page to read this posting.  It is a good
                    sampling of the types of cases he had,  and tells about his work on behalf of
                    the courts during his decade on the bench.


C.H. made the difficult decision to retire from the bench in 1987,  prior to the expiration of his second
term.  His tenure as circuit court judge was one of the most rewarding periods in his life, and the
culmination of a life of service to the community.

                                              -Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial, March 18, 1987
                                                             (click on article to enlarge)

Mullen's career was carefully followed by many in Kalamazoo, and he was often quoted in Gazette
articles and editorials.  His Midwestern plainspokenness and humorous turns of phrase when dealing
with repeat offenders, deadbeat dads, and drug dealers were notable, and quotable.  He did much to
improve the workings of the courts in Kalamazoo County, and was a treasured colleague and mentor.


Let the tributes begin!  The Kalamazoo County Bar Association gave Judge Mullen a testimonial
dinner on November 4, 1987 at the Kalamazoo Hilton Inn main ballroom.  400 people attended.
Legal luminaries from Kalamazoo County were there to pay tribute, along with community leaders,
old friends, neighbors, and family members.  After cocktails and dinner, the assembled throng enjoyed
speeches and stories, with Judge Richard A. Enslen acting as Master of Ceremonies.

                   The man of the hour, and seasoned public speaker in his own right, gave a speech.

   This memorable evening made headlines, and a Gazette feature article appeared on November 5, 1987.

        Reverend Dave McShane, left, partially obscured; Judge Richard Enslen and Judge C.H. Mullen

     "The testimonial, a program of the Kalamazoo County Bar Association, was organized by local
       attorney Kenneth Miller, who was Mullen's first law clerk and recalled that Mullen sponsored his
       admission to the bar.  'He started out just the way he ended up', Miller said, speaking of the warmth,
       humor and optimism that have characterized Mullen's life and resisted the potentially hardening
       effect of a legal career... Asked about his philosophy in life, the judge said:  'I guess it doesn't cost
       anything to be kind to other people.  I guess, basically, that's the whole foundation to my life.
       There aren't very many of us going to be president, walk on the moon or do great things.  But there's
       something each of us can do to brighten the corner we're in.'"    -Al Jones, Gazette Staff Writer


        Thank you from Jim Gilmore, in the October/November, 1987 issue of ENCORE Magazine, p.5

                 Kalamazoo County Chamber of Commerce Resolution, adopted on August 28, 1987.

                                        Letter from President Ronald Reagan, March 25, 1987. 

 Portrait of Judge C.H. & Alice Mullen
by Don Rice, for ENCORE Magazine
October/November, 1987, page 6.
Feature article:
   C.H. Mullen, "a real people person"



        In late-1987, Judge Mullen returned to legal work, "of counsel" to the law firm of Fox, Thompson,
        Morris, Stover & O'Connor, from 1987-1996.    

C.H. Mullen was a President of the Michigan Retired Judges Association, and also served as board
member of the Kalamazoo County Bar Association.

    Snapshot of C.H. taken at the Kalamazoo County District Court Consolidation luncheon at 
    Brook Lodge, Augusta, Michigan, 1997 or '98.  Judge Mullen had worked on court consolidation
    during his tenure on the bench. 

         Guest umpires for a baseball game at Hyames Field at Western Michigan University, 9/11/89.   
         Left to right:  Ben Brot, Richard Enslen, C.H. Mullen, James Gregart, Tom Edmonds.    

         Umpires James Gregart, Richard Enslen, C.H. Mullen, Tom Edmonds with his back to the camera.

                                                    Feature article in ENCORE Magazine,
                                               October/November, 1987, Volume 15, Issue 2

Remembering Judge Mullen

"Making Headlines"  The Kalamazoo Gazette Gets the Story

"Jelly Bean Justice"  A Tradition Continues

"Brighten the Corner Where You Are"  C.H.'s Party Piece ~ Philosophy of Life

"They Called Him C.H."  History ~ Photographs ~ Memorabilia

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Making Headlines"

The Kalamazoo Gazette Gets the Story

         Courthouse postcard from a folio, late-1930s;  Kalamazoo County Courthouse, completed in 1937.                                                                

Kalamazoo Gazette reporters frequent the tan limestone edifice at the corner of West Michigan Avenue
and Rose Street in downtown Kalamazoo.  The Kalamazoo County Courthouse is their beat.  Down the
cool, austere marble halls they walk to the formal wood-paneled courtrooms of the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

Judge C.H. Mullen's courtroom was often colorful by all reports.  He meted out justice with a keen legal
mind, thorough preparedness, common sense philosophy, and homespun humor that made him a legend
in his own time.  Here are a few Kalamazoo Gazette headlines that give a sampling of what his ten years
on the bench were like.

"Call it Poetic Justice" -Kalamazoo Gazette, February 15, 1978
      A Kalamazoo circuit judge read a poem [celebrating life] by a confessed armed robber
      aloud in court Tuesday, then sentenced the man to seven to 20 years in prison...

"Lawn care part of sentence"  -Kalamazoo Gazette, June 13, 1978
      Time in jail, probation and some old fashioned lawn mowing was the sentence handed
      down Monday by Kalamazoo Circuit Judge C.H. Mullen to two criminal defendants...
      ordered to mow the lawns... of three of the oldest victims of the shooting spree... 
      12 homes were hit in the incident.

"Courtroom comments add to life sentence"  -Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial, December 30, 1978
      This is the crookedest court in the state [he] shouted.  Mullen had deputies bring [him] back
      to the bench where the judge found him in contempt of court. "Well, you can stick it" [he said]
      as deputies lead him away.

                                                     -By Dave Hager, Gazette Staff Writer
                                                                  February 14, 1979

       He [Judge Mullen] characterized [his] drug dealing as a "multi-drug, multi-state operation...
       There is no place in any community for a man like you... you home turned out to be a supermarket
       for drugs of many kinds...

"Judge orders drug dealer to pay back police funds used in cocaine purchase"
                                                                      -Tom Caylor, Gazette Staff Writer, January 12, 1982

"Prostitute handed one-way ticket"  -Tom Caylor, December, 1981
      Stay out of this city.  Never come back again.  

      Judge Mullen paid for the bus ticket himself, and sent her packing-- back to Grand Rapids!

That last story made the Detroit papers, as did an earlier one:

"Jail Inmates Shovel Out Snowbound"  -Detroit Free Press, February 11, 1978
      The judge ordered the three, who had pleaded guilty to the charges against them, to spend the
      first three months of their probation in jail, adding the snow-removal efforts as part of the sentence.


"Being a judge no part-time job"   -Dave Hager, Courts, Kalamazoo Gazette, November 3, 1978
     It's been the most thrilling year of my life.  
     Judge Mullen was interviewed after marking his first anniversary in Circuit Court.

Judge Mullen was recognized for his efforts on behalf of the court system in Kalamazoo County.
He worked for reforms within the Circuit Court, and was instrumental in making the system run
more efficiently.

"Judges, lawyers court proposals to speed up flow of cases"  -Dave Hager, February 17, 1980
      Judges and lawyers will join forces Thursday to discuss a nine-point plan aimed at 
      speeding the flow of cases through Kalamazoo Circuit Court... During his terms as chief judge 
      of the court, Mullen has been responsible for the court's  administration.  Central assignment, 
      one week-one trial jury service, pre-trial conferences, divorce mediation and bringing child 
      support schedules up to date are among a few of the changes Mullen has had a hand in since 
      being appointed in 1977.

"Judge cites need for county law enforcement support"
                             -C.H. Mullen, Guest Columnist for Viewpoint, Kalamazoo Gazette, July 20, 1980

                                                         -By Tom Caylor, March 6, 1982

          ... According to C. Duke Hynek, court administrator, the county's highest court was
          responsible for "unparalleled achievements" during the year.

          Changes were made to the court's central scheduling system, and "status review" conferences
          were established.


              The Kalamazoo Public Library website lists 77 entries on C.H. Mullen in their catalog.
              Click on the link below and find "Search Catalog" at the top of the HOME page.
              Type C.H. Mullen in the field provided to search for an index of articles.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Jelly Bean Justice"

A Tradition Continues


"What was his toughest case?... those involving child custody.  Who gets the son or daughter
in a divorce, the mother or the father?  Those are the ones that tore at his innards and kept him
from sleeping on some nights.  Those are the kinds of heartbreaks that drained him."

                                                                                        -"C.H. and Alice" - Feature article in
                                                                                          ENCORE Magazine, Oct./Nov., 1987
                                                                                          Volume 15, Issue 2, p. 18.

In his chambers, Judge Mullen kept a large jar of jelly beans on his desk.  When children caught
in the middle of a custody battle were asked by the judge to speak with him in private, the sight
of the sweet treats immediately put them at their ease.  He felt it vitally important to have the
children talk openly about their domestic situation, away from the influence of immediate family.
Judge Mullen wanted to hear their side of the story.  That's jelly bean justice.

When Judge Mullen retired in 1987, his successor Judge William G. Schma took up the jelly bean
idea, and, upon his retirement in 2006, had the bean pot inscribed with the name of the originator,
Judge C.H. Mullen (1977-1987), and his successors Judge William G. Schma (1987-2006), and
Gary C. Giguere, Jr. (2007- ).  The tradition continues...

                 "I'm not sure where C.H. got that [jar], but it was indeed on his desk.
                  When I was sworn in to succeed him, he and Alice were in Cleveland
                  for the symphony and couldn't make it to the ceremony.  But he gave 
                  the jar, filled, saying in his note, 'with the very best jelly beans Jewel's
                  had available' to Judge Dick Lamb who was chief judge at the time and
                  asked to give it to me during the swearing-in ceremony at this bequest,
                  and with his good wishes.

                  I, of course, continued the tradition and it was always available on my desk.
                  When I left, I had the inscription placed on it and passed it on to Judge Giguere.
                  I believe it's still in Court A."
                                                                               -Judge William G. Schma

The inscription on the jar says it best:  "Judges who have dispensed justice from this jar."

Thank you Judge Schma for being such a great colleague and treasured friend, and for
your contribution to this blog entry.                  

                                            Judge C.H. Mullen and Judge William G. Schma.


                                             Judge Mullen with William's wife Gerry Schma.

                                Notecard from Judge Schma of the Kalamazoo County Courthouse,
                                from an original drawing for Key Four, Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

                                          Friends 'til the end:  Judge Schma at a birthday party
                                          for C.H., a few years before Judge Mullen's passing
                                          in 1999.  

                                                                     KEEP SCROLLING...
                                             Click on Older Posts below to read two more articles:

                         "Brighten the Corner Where You Are"  C.H.'s Party Piece ~ Philosophy of Life

                                    "They Called Him C.H."  History ~ Photographs ~ Memorabilia