A. David Mazzone

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The memorial to Judge Mazzone on Deer Island

A. David Mazzone (June 3, 1928 – October 25, 2004) was a lawyer, Massachusetts assistant district attorney, assistant United States attorney, Massachusetts Superior court judge. He served for twenty-six years as a Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.[1]

"He will forever be remembered by the people of Massachusetts for his landmark rulings that led to the cleanup of Boston Harbor," United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy said to the Boston Globe shortly after Mazzone's death in October 2004.[2]

Life and career[edit]

He was born Armando David Mazzone in Everett, Massachusetts, to immigrant parents. He was a star tight end on the Everett High School football team, where he won all-scholastic honors, and he later played tight end on the Harvard College team. After graduating from Harvard in 1950, he became a supervisor at Inland Steel Corp., a steel mill in East Chicago, Indiana. He served in the United States Army for two years during the Korean War, then returned to the steel mill and enrolled at DePaul University Law School. After law school, he opened a small law office in Chicago, but soon returned to Massachusetts, where he spent two years as an Assistant District Attorney of Middlesex County and four years as an Assistant United States Attorney under Arthur W. Garrity Jr. In 1965, Mazzone and three other Assistant U.S. attorneys, resigned to open their own law firm, Moulton, Looney and Mazzone. He remained in private practice until his appointment to the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by Governor Michael Dukakis in 1974. In 1977, was nominated to the federal bench by President Jimmy Carter, and he was sworn in during March, 1978.

In the early 1980s, the Conservation Law Foundation and the City of Quincy, Massachusetts sued the regional Metropolitan District Commission, saying that it violated clean water statutes because its antiquated sewage treatment plant on Deer Island was dumping hundreds of tons of black sludge into the harbor daily. The United States Environmental Protection Agency later joined the suit. Judge Mazzone ruled the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (which was the successor to the Municipal District Commission's operations of the Boston regional water and sewage systems), was in "chronic, flagrant violation" of federal law, and ordered it to set deadlines for a cleanup. He oversaw the case himself, rather than appointing a special master as judges often do in long-running cases.

Judge Mazzone was known for his dedication not only to headline-producing cases, but to the routine caseload of a federal court, which he characterized as "doing the nation's work."[3]

"I don't think there are any secrets to being a good judge," Mazzone said in a 1984 interview with the Boston Globe. "You have to work at it. Few of us have the brilliance of a (Judge Charles E.) Wyzanski or a (Judge) Learned Hand. What you have is a respect for the law, a knowledge of the principles and a desire to do the best job you can. Good lawyers make good judges. Any lawyer can make a judge look bad. But a good lawyer playing by the rules, playing it straight makes a good case, and the judge is merely incidental, truly an impartial arbiter. A judge should just be there with a knowledge of the law and leave the lawyering to the lawyers."[4]

A memorial to Judge Mazzone on Deer Island in Boston Harbor (pictured above), near the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant was dedicated on October 19, 2007.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Matz, Jennifer (n.d.). "Judge A. David Mazzone's Chamber Papers on the Boston Harbor Clean Up Case, 1985-2005". Healey Library Archives & Special Collections: Finding Aids. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts, Boston. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  2. ^ Long, Tom. "A.D. Mazzone, Judge Who Led Harbor Effort, Dies At Age 76." Boston Globe, October 27, 2004.
  3. ^ "Presentation of the Portrait of the Honorable A. David Mazzone," December 4, 1995, 926 F.Supp, at LXXIX.
  4. ^ Doherty, William. "Good Lawyers Make Good Judges." Boston Globe, August 1, 1984.


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Frank Jerome Murray
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Nancy Gertner