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.


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