H. Lee Sarokin
|H. Lee Sarokin|
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit|
October 5, 1994 – July 31, 1996
|Appointed by||Bill Clinton|
|Preceded by||Seat established by 104 Stat. 5089|
|Succeeded by||Maryanne Trump Barry|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey|
November 2, 1979 – October 5, 1994
|Appointed by||Jimmy Carter|
|Preceded by||Lawrence Aloysius Whipple|
|Succeeded by||Katharine Sweeney Hayden|
|Born||Haddon Lee Sarokin
November 25, 1928
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
|Education||Dartmouth College A.B.
Harvard Law School LL.B.
Haddon Lee Sarokin (born November 25, 1928) is a former United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Early life and education
Sarokin was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. He is the son of a newspaperman who named him after Haddon Ivins, who had been the editor of the Hudson Dispatch. "It's a dreadful name, which I dropped," Sarokin told the New York Times in 1985. Sarokin earned an Artium Baccalaureus degree from Dartmouth College in 1950 and a Bachelor of Laws from Harvard Law School in 1953.
Work as a U.S. District judge
In 1978, Sarokin worked as the finance chairman for his friend Bill Bradley, who was running for a United States Senate seat to represent New Jersey. After Bradley won, he recommended Sarokin for a federal judgeship. On September 28, 1979, President Jimmy Carter nominated Sarokin to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey that had been vacated by Lawrence Aloysius Whipple. The Senate confirmed Sarokin on October 31, 1979. He received his commission on November 2, 1979. His service terminated on October 5, 1994 due to elevation to the Third Circuit.
In 1985, Sarokin famously overturned the 1966 triple murder conviction of former middleweight boxer Rubin Carter resulting in Carter's release and a granting of a writ of habeas corpus to the former middleweight boxer. Sarokin had ruled that Carter had not received a fair trial as the prosecution had been based on 'racism rather than reason' and 'concealment rather than disclosure'.
In 1988, Sarokin presided over a landmark cigarette liability lawsuit that resulted in a $400,000 payment to the estate of Rose Cipollone, who died in 1984 after smoking for 40 years. Although the case was reversed on appeal, it was the first cash award ever in a case involving a death from smoking.
Third Circuit career
On May 5, 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Sarokin to a newly created seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. On October 4, 1994, the Senate voted 63-35 to confirm Sarokin to the seat on the Third Circuit. He received his commission on October 5, 1994.
In early 1996, Sarokin sought to assume senior status, which means a reduced caseload. As part of shifting to senior status, Sarokin asked to move his chambers from New Jersey to California to be closer to his children. On April 24, 1996, an 11-member council of the Third Circuit denied Sarokin's request, citing federal guidelines relating to judicial office space.
In a speech in April 1996, presidential candidate Bob Dole cited Sarokin as one of four federal appellate and district judges that Clinton had appointed to the federal courts that Dole had deemed to be liberal activist judges. The others were Harold Baer, Jr., Rosemary Barkett, and Leonie Brinkema.
On June 5, 1996, Sarokin announced that he would retire outright from the Third Circuit, effective July 31, 1996. Sarokin cited his fear that his opinions from the bench might be used politically. "It is apparent that there are those who have decided to 'Willie Hortonize' the Federal judiciary, and that I am to be one of their prime targets," he wrote in a letter to President Clinton. "In the current political campaign, enforcement of constitutional rights is equated with being soft on crime and indeed, even causing it."
In a separate letter to colleagues, Sarokin denied that his decision to retire had had anything to do with the court's decision not to allow him to move his chambers to California.
In late 1999, after the movie The Hurricane came out starring Denzel Washington about Rubin Carter, Sarokin told the Newark Star-Ledger in an article that appeared on February 10, 2000, that "[a]fter reviewing the record [in 1985], I had my doubts that Carter and [co-defendant John] Artis were guilty. That's been confirmed by my appearances with Carter. If he is guilty, he's the greatest actor in the world and should win an Academy Award, not Denzel Washington," Sarokin told the paper.
- Margolick, David (9 November 1985). "MAN IN THE NEWS; JUDGE WITH ACERBIC PEN; HADDON LEE SAROKIN" – via NYTimes.com.
- "Sarokin, H. Lee - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- "ESPN Classic - Hurricane found peace at storm's center". espn.go.com.
- "Timelines - Rose Cipollone And Judge Lee Sarokin - Inside The Tobacco Deal - FRONTLINE - PBS". www.pbs.org.
- Macfarquhar, Neil (5 June 1996). "Federal Judge to Resign, Citing Political Attacks" – via NYTimes.com.
- Sowell, Thomas. "Thomas Sowell - Obama and the Law".
- "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 103rd Congress - 2nd Session". www.senate.gov.
- Judge Barred From Moving His Chambers To California, New York Times.
- Dole, Citing 'Crisis' in the Courts, Attacks Appointments by Clinton, New York Times.
- "National Healing: Is It Too Soon?". 6 October 1998 – via NYTimes.com.
- FJC Bio
- A film clip "The Open Mind - A Judge Speaks Out, Part I (September 27, 2007)" is available at the Internet Archive
- A film clip "The Open Mind - A Judge Speaks Out, Part II (September 27, 2007)" is available at the Internet Archive
Lawrence Aloysius Whipple
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Katharine Sweeney Hayden
Seat established by 104 Stat. 5089
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Maryanne Trump Barry