Samuel Zoll

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Samuel Edward Zoll
45th Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts
In office
Preceded byFrancis X. Collins
Succeeded byJean A. Levesque
President of the
Salem, Massachusetts
City Council[1]
In office
Member of the
Salem, Massachusetts
City Council[1]
In office
Member of the
Massachusetts House of Representatives[1]
6th Essex District[1]
In office
1965[1] – 1969
Personal details
Born(1934-06-20)June 20, 1934[1]
Peabody, Massachusetts[1]
DiedApril 26, 2011(2011-04-26) (aged 76)[2]
Salem, Massachusetts[2]
Political partyDemocratic[1]
Alma materBoston University,[1] Suffolk University Law School[1]

Samuel Edward Zoll[3] (June 20, 1934 – April 26, 2011) was an American[4] lawyer, judge and politician. He began his career as a high school teacher then became a lawyer, politician, then a judge. Later in life he was named to be Chief Justice of the District Courts in Massachusetts.

Early life and education[edit]

Zoll was born in Peabody, Massachusetts.[3] His father was an immigrant from Lithuania, and his mother was a native of nearby Haverhill.[5] Zoll was educated at Salem High School and attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Master of Arts degree, both from Boston University.[3]

He attended the Suffolk University Law School receiving a Juris Doctor Degree (JD) degree in 1962.[3][6]


Zoll was a United States Navy veteran who served in the Korean War.[6] Zoll worked as a high school teacher at Danvers High School from 1958 to 1962.[5][6] While teaching, he served on the Salem City Council (from 1958 until 1966, being President of the Council from 1959 to 1960[6]).[5] After graduating in law, Zoll worked as a lawyer.[5] He was a State Representative of Salem from 1965 to 1969.[6]

Zoll successfully ran for office as the Mayor of Salem, serving a full term.[5] He left the mayoral office before the end of the second term in 1973 when he accepted his first judicial appointment.[5] In 1973, he was appointed by Governor Sargent to be Special Justice of the Ipswich District Court.

In 1974, he was appointed again by Governor Sargent as Presiding Justice of the Salem District Court.[6] Zoll became Chief Justice of the Massachusetts District Courts in 1976 when he was first appointed by Governor Michael S. Dukakis. Following the passage of the court reform bill in 1993, Chief Justice Zoll was then reappointed as Chief Justice of the District Court in 1998[6] He chaired the Commonwealth Joint Labor Management Committee which oversees police and fire unions negotiations with the government.[5]

He retired on June 20, 2004 when he reached the age of 70, the mandatory retirement age for judges.[5][6]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • The media centre of Salem High School was named The Samuel E. Zoll Instructional Media Center.[7]
  • In 2009, Zoll was the keynote speaker for the 100th anniversary of the Congregation Sons of Israel.[8]
  • He was awarded honorary degrees from Suffolk University and Salem State College
  • In 1991, he received the Brandeis University Award for Distinguished Public Service.[6]

Family life[edit]

Zoll and his wife Marjorie lived in Salem.[6] They had four children and five grandchildren.[5][6]

Scott Brown[edit]

U.S. Senator Scott Brown has recalled that, aged twelve, he was brought before Judge Zoll in Salem for shoplifting. Zoll asked Brown if his siblings would like seeing him play basketball in jail, and required him to write a 1,500 word essay on the topic as his punishment.[9] Brown said, "That was the last time I ever stole, the last time I ever thought [about stealing]... The other day I was at Staples, and something was in my cart that I didn't pay for. I had to bring it back because ... I thought of Judge Zoll."[10][11]

Other rulings[edit]

Zoll once required a family to eat dinner together for 30 days and sent a parole officer to make sure they were doing it.[11]


Zoll died on April 26, 2011 at his home in Salem after a year-long battle with gallbladder cancer. He was 76 years of age.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Pidgeon, Norman L.; Mills, Wallace C. (1967), 1967–1968 Public officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 319
  2. ^ a b c Lavoie, Denise (April 26, 2011). "Mass. judge, lawmaker Zoll dies at age 76". Associated Press. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Pidgeon, Norman L.; Mills, Wallace C. (1969). "1969–1970 Public officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. p. 318. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  4. ^ Profile Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Pan-Mass Challenge 363-2: Riders". Steve Marsel Studio. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Chief Justice for Administration and Management Barbara A. Dortch-Okara Reappoints Chief Justice Samuel E. Zoll as Chief Justice of the District Court". Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. January 27, 2003. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  7. ^ "Salem High School — Library Media Center". Salem High School. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  8. ^ "Peabody's Sons of Israel Celebrates". The Jewish Journal (Boston North). Barbara Schneider. October 30, 2009. Archived from the original on March 5, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  9. ^ Naughton, Philippe (January 20, 2010). "Twenty things to know about Scott Brown". The Times. UK.
  10. ^ Mooney, Brian C. (November 20, 2009). "Being the underdog never deters a driven Brown". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Dalton, Tom (November 27, 2009). "The day a little boy met a Salem judge". The Salem News. Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis X. Collins
45th Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Jean A. Levesque