Historical Society member Carl Stern offers this engrossing summary of the oral history of one of the most pioneering judges to sit on the District Court bench:  Judge Charles Richey. In his oral history, Judge Richey proudly recounts how he ran what was purportedly the most efficient docket in the nation: through innovations such as requiring advance disclosure of witness testimony and meet-and-confers among trial counsel; two-jury criminal trials; computerization of records (as early as the 1990s); ruling promptly on motions; setting early trial dates; never granting continuances; and conducting court sessions early in the morning and even at night.

All of this was motivated by Judge Richey’s self-described “impatience to do justice.” His notable rulings involved the ownership of Richard Nixon’s papers, the interpretation of environmental statutes, permitting prevailing attorneys to receive fees in civil rights employment discrimination cases, and the determination that emails of government employees constitute federal records. Reading Judge Richey’s candid observations – about appellate courts; about his litigation likes and dislikes; and about his own experiences and accomplishments – makes abundantly clear why Stern considered him to be “the bench’s most prodigious schmoozer.”