A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

By George Shotzbarger

I have 20+ good stories about the late, great Judge Anthony J. DeFino but I’ll relate this one, which is only tangentially court-related. A while back, perhaps some 15 years ago, I sprung for a nice dinner with Missus Shotz at La Veranda on Delaware Avenue. It was a weekend, probably around the time of our wedding anniversary in late August. From across the crowded restaurant, I saw His Honor, he noticed me (tallest guy in the joint, with the whitest hair), & we waved to each other. Saint Patricia: “George, who are you waving to?” Self: “Judge Tony DeFino. He’s the one who ruled against me on that Rule 1100 hearing where I cross-examined Dick Sprague [defendant was the "allegedly" corrupt lawyer A. Terry Daly, mid-1990s]. Judge DeFino kicked the case — speedy trial & severance issues — but the Superior Court recently re-instated prosecution. I’ll bet he’s still upset that he got reversed. Anyway, I’m not gonna go over & say hello because he might think I’m rubbing it in.” The Judge & his wife finished their meal before we did ours. On his way out, His Honor went out of his way to stop at our table & tell Saint Patricia how I was his favorite lawyer [hardly the truth] & what a pleasure it was to see me socially, because he always thought I was working too hard. He then told Herself that, “in case his modesty keeps him from telling you, your husband’s probably the best Assistant D.A. that Lynne has on staff [another fib].” Now I ask, sincerely, what other jurist would say such things, just to make MY wife happy on our special occasion?

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