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July 03, 2008

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Judge Stuart Namm (Ret)

Thank you for your very kind comments. It was a no-brainer to do a documentary about Marty's case, because I had always believed in his innocence, having sat in on some of his trial, and knowing tne cast of characters involved, even as I was serving against my will as an "acting" Supreme Court Justice in a civil part.

I've now been away from Suffolk County and the law for more than 15 years, and whatever bitterness I may have had in 1992 from the way I was treated has long since diminished. At almost age 75, I have long ago learned that life, although we may like it to, does not continue in a straight line. There are many curves along the way, some not as steep as others. It was very difficult not to be bitter though, after I, in 1985, had asked Gov. Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the prosecution of homicides in Suffolk County, which the State Investigations Commissions characterized as "the wild West!"

I knew that I was seen as a villain by the Republican Party, the ruling power in the county, but I felt that I should have been seen as a hero by my own party, especially since my law partner of 10 years had been the New York State Democratic Chairman, and was the senior County Chairman in the State of New York. How wrong I was in my assessment! Unable to elect judges on the Democratic line, he simply bowed to the powerful majority party, and elected not to renominate me, the thorn in their side, and accepted four cross-endorsed judgeships, including my County Court seat, in exchange.
His last words to me were: "Stuart, this was just not your year!" How callous, and how shameful! Yet it was the people of Suffolk County who would pay the price.

Three weeks after moving to North Carolina, my now deceased wife, Lenore, and I were brought back for a weekend in New York City, where in one night, I was the recipient of three very distinguished awards: the Justice Thurgood Marshall award from the New York State Association of Defense Attorneys-only the first recipient after Justice Marshall himself; the David S. Michaels award from the Criminal Justice Section of the New York State BarAssociation; and a special award from the NAACP for standing "...up for what was right at great personal sacrifice. 'Principal was ahead of expediency.' A man who practiced and lived what everyone else preached." I'm not sure that I've entirely lived up to those beautiful words, but it sure feels good seeing it on my wall every day.

Still, it didn't end there. My wife and I were invited out to Hollywood by a reknowned movie producer, where they were going to do a movie about my life as a judge, and for months I worked with the creator of Kojak, himself a previous recipient of an Academy Award and an Emmy for "Judgement and Nuremberg" and the series "Kojak." I was billed in the Hollywood Reporter as "the Serpico of Judges." Needless to say, this has not yet happened, but the project remains viable.

Subsequently, I was recruited by a production company from the United Kingdom to act as both a consultant and interviwer for a 13 part series which appeared all over the world, including TLC, entitled "The Serial Killers." My interviews of "the lethal lovers" can still occasionally be seen on MSNBC

With the very same crew, my second wife and I (my first wife, who had been a Suffolk County probation officer, and very healthy, had suddenly passed in 1996) decided to finance a project called "A Question of Guilt?," and Marty's story was to be the pilot project, since I was still firmly convinced of his innocence. It was the very first media presentation of Marty's case, and the first to feature lengthy interviews of each of the main players, including Marty, in prison, McCready, Shari Rother, Bob Gottlieb, and many others. Whenever and wherever the DVD is seen, it receives uniform acclaim.

Although I was born in the tenements of Brooklyn, and had never heard Appalachian mountain music, I completed two documentaries about the mountain musicians of North Carolina and their great music. Not long ago, I completed a 3 1/2 hour documentary about the Korean War, having traveled all over the United States to conduct 48 interviews of the aging veterans of "the forgotten war." It was a project which took two years to complete, and working without a crew, I did it all myself from videography to final edit. It is the story of the Infantry unit that I served in as a Lieutenant immediately after the Korean War, the 17th Infantry Regiment, the only American unit to reach the Yalu River, which is the Manchurian or Chinese southern border. It is their story from the amphibious landing in 1950 at Inchon to the bloody battles of Pork Chop Hill, and it is the most important work I have ever done. You can see much of my work on our website at: www.legaleasgleproductions.com

So you see, there is no longer any reason for bitterness, as I have been free to explore the world, having visited every continent save Antarctica, and all of the great reefs of the world. I have engaged in new and interesting ventures, but occasionally it does hurt, especially knowing that I was kept from achieving twenty years as a judge. Recently I saw a report of the pension of a Democratic judge who was elected with me in 1975, after Watergate, and who moved up to the County Court with me in 1982, but who, fortunately for him, was a beneficiary of the 1992 deal to send me into an early retirement at age 59. His is a pension which is almost four times mine.

Nevertheless, I have no complaints, because I sleep well at night, and can look myself in the mirror every morning with pride in what I tried to do. I often wonder whether those judges who may still be on the bench, and those who have since retired, can do so without flinching, in the knowledge that they stood by in silence as I walked the plank for true justice alone.

Thanks again for your kind words about me and my work, and all that you have done for Marty.

Judge Stuart Namm (Ret)
A Very Happy Man and Grandfather of ten!

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This has got to be the longest reply i have ever seen on a blog. It's actually longer than the article itself. I read all of it and i don't regret doing so one bit.

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