Dick Polman, a national political colomnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer tells the most brilliant story of the life of Judge Lisa Richette in Obit Magazine. He tells the story of Judge Richette who was a trailblazer for women, attorneys, jurists, Italian-Americans, Philadelphia Justinians, children and the homeless! She was truly one of the most brilliant and yet extremely flamboyant women I've had the pleasure to know. She embraced life and law.
I remember a particular homicide case more that a decade ago when I worked for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Jude Conroy was the Philadelphia prosecutor. The case was against a couple who left their disabled young child in a crib inside their house - only heated by kerosene - to go out and sell crack and induldge themselves. The house caught on fire and by the time the child was rescued, he was burned over a large percentage of his body. The child lived for months (perhaps seven if my memory is right) in severe pain and then died. It was a bench trial (no jury) and the judge found the couple guilty of homicide. I remember crying in the back of the room for the child and knowing that the judge did the right thing. She came down so hard on those parents - her words stung deep - but she was right - she was brilliant - she was passionate - and she followed the letter of the law.
Judge Richette was the first woman judge in Philadelphia and an active member of The Justinian Society. As stated so nicely by Rudolph Garcia, Chancellor of The Justinian Society:
"Judge Richette epitomized the ideals of The Justinian Society and was an inspiration to all of us. In 1994, we selected her as the first recipient of the Beccaria Award. Since then, the award has been presented annually by the Justinian Society and the Criminal Justice Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association to a legal jurist, scholar or practitioner for outstanding contributions to the cause of justice and the advancement of legal education. Judge Richette also was the first recipient of The Justinian Society’s Outstanding Women in the Law Award, in June 2000."
Thank you to Dick Polman for remembering Judge Richette. She truly deserves the accolades.
Great job. I just realized that three generations of lawyers in our family were blessed with knowing and admiring Lisa. Pop-pop (Edward W. Furia) introduced me to her and her late husband Larry Richette at a formal dinner before I was even out of law school. I later tried several matters before her. She was always fair, kind to the new lawyers, and never hesitated to say, "I knew your father, what a brilliant man. It's a shame he died so young. He made us all proud." So, it is fitting that you remember Lisa, now, and share your admiration for her, too.
Richard F. Furia
Furia and Turner
1719 Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
Tel; (215) 985-4500
Fax: (215) 985-2824
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