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                                                                                                                                    


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