T. Emmet Clarie

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Thomas Emmet Clarie (January 1, 1913–September 24, 1997) was an American lawyer, politician, and later federal judge from the state of Connecticut. Clarie served in the Connecticut General Assembly before his appointment to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. He sat on the bench from 1961 until his death in 1997.

Early life and education[edit]

Thomas Emmet Clarie was born on January 1, 1913, in Killingly, Connecticut, near the border with Rhode Island.[1][2] His father, Thomas C. Clarie, was a building contractor and stonemason; his mother was Kathryn Burns Clarie.[2][3]

He received a Ph.B. from Providence College in 1933 and an LL.B. from Hartford College of Law (now the University of Connecticut School of Law) in 1938.[1]

Political and legal career[edit]

Claire was a member of the Connecticut General Assembly from 1937 to 1943, and a Democratic floor leader from 1939 to 1943.[1] Claire was first elected to the Assembly the year before he graduated from law school.[3]

He engaged in the private practice of law in Danielson, Connecticut from 1940 to 1961.[1] He served as a prosecutor for the Killingly town court in Danielson in 1951, as assistant to statute revision commissioner for the state of Connecticut in 1945, as a clerk of the Connecticut State Senate in 1949, as state liquor commissioner for the state of Connecticut from 1949 to 1955, and as chairman of the Connecticut State Liquor Commission from 1955 to 1961.[1]

Federal judge[edit]

Clarie was nominated by President John F. Kennedy to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut on September 5, 1961, to a new seat created by 75 Stat. 80, confirmed by the Senate on September 14, 1961, and received his commission on September 18, 1961. He served as chief judge from 1974 to 1983. He assumed senior status on January 1, 1983.[1]

Clarie's most famous case was the trial of members of the Puerto Rican nationalist group Los Macheteros accused of robbing a Wells Fargo bank in West Hartford, Connecticut of nearly $7.6 million. Claire presided over the trial, at which the defense lawyers were William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. By 1989, most of the 19 defendants were convicted (either at trial or following a guilty plea); three were fugitives who were never captured, one was acquitted, and one defendant's charges were dismissed. Clarie was credited with keeping cool under pressure.[2][3]

Clarie died on September 24, 1997, in Danielson, Connecticut, at the age of 84, of viral pneumonia.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Although he kept his chambers in Hartford, Connecticut, the state capital, he lived in the rural small town of Danielson in a Colonial-style house on a 220-acre farm, making the 104-mile round trip almost every workday.[2][3] He considered himself a small-town lawyer.[3]

Clarie was married to Gertrude Reynolds Clarie (d. 1995).[3]


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
new seat
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Peter Collins Dorsey
Preceded by
Mosher Joseph Blumenfeld
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
Succeeded by
T. F. Gilroy Daly