Mass Law Blog

Old Lawyers Never Die, They Just Lose Their Appeal

by | Oct 12, 2006

We repeat this bumper sticker joke meaning no disrespect for U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Keeton, who has retired at age 86 after 27 years on the federal bench. His retirement was effective September 8, 2006. You can find a link to the official announcement here.

Since being appointed to the bench in 1979, Judge Keeton presided over a number of significant cases, including a groundbreaking software copyright case involving Lotus 1-2-3 and the prosecution of political activist Lyndon LaRouche for conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also the trial judge who set aside the perjury conviction of Boston Police Officer Kenneth Conley – a decision that was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeals. Judge Keeton, a Harvard law professor, wrote extensively on various legal topics and was influential in the creation and adoption of the federal civil and criminal rules of procedure.

At age 86, Judge Keeton was the oldest member of the federal court in Massachusetts. Since 2003, he was a “senior” judge, meaning that he continued to take on cases but no longer worked on a full-time basis.

Of course, as we noted recently, some federal judges are only warming up at this age.