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The Honorable Judge A. David Mazzone
A lawyer, Massachusetts Assistant District Attorney, Assistant United States Attorney, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge, and United States District Court Judge. A jurist whose landmark decisions reflected high intellect, social responsibility and human compassion. A man with an exemplary work ethic, a great sense of humor, and a genuine concern for his family, his colleagues, his court, and the environment.
Born in Everett, Massachusetts, to immigrant parents, Armando David Mazzone starred as tight end of his football team at Everett High School, attaining all-scholastic honors and went on to play for his Harvard College team. He graduated Harvard in 1950 and was hired as a supervisor for Inland Steel Corp., located in East Chicago, Indiana. For two years during the Korean War, Judge Mazzone served his country in the United States Army. Following his tour of duty, he returned to his position at Inland Steel Corp. and enrolled in courses at DePaul University Law School. After completing his law degree, he initially opened a law office in Chicago but soon returned to his home state of Massachusetts, spending two years as an Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County and four years as an Assistant United States Attorney.
In 1965, Judge Mazzone returned to private practice until his appointment to the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1974 by Governor Michael Dukakis. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter nominated Judge Mazzone to the federal bench and he was sworn in as of March, 1978. He served as a Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for 26 years.
Judge Mazzone was renowned for his dedication to his job; whether working on a case that made headlines or attending to his routine caseload, he cherished his role as “doing the nation’s work.” To his colleagues, Judge Mazzone was not only a constructive critic, but a fine teacher; a humble jurist, whose guidance shaped a generation of lawyers in the Boston legal community. Judge Mazzone took pleasure in promoting the careers of young lawyers and professed utmost dedication to improving the Massachusetts Court System. Through his service on the United States Sentencing Commission, he made an indispensable contribution to the legal system by creating the guidelines that reformed all aspects of sentencing rules, reduced disparities among judges across the nation, and made the rule of law fairer and more effective.
Judge Mazzone placed his office and his talents in the service of the public good, and through his leadership and dedication provided a legacy for generations to come to enjoy a clean and sparkling Boston Harbor — a living monument to his memory.
For 19 years, Judge Mazzone presided over the federal case brought to trial by conservationists and others that condemned the condition of the Boston Harbor. His commitment was unusual in that rather than appointing a special master as is often done in long-running lawsuits, Judge Mazzone oversaw the case himself. In turn, his landmark rulings led to an enormous public works project to restore the Harbor back to an impressive natural resource. When work began, Boston Harbor was considered “the filthiest harbor in America;” the environmental remediation that Judge Mazzone fought to implement is now viewed as one of the United States’ most inspiring environmental success stories.
Not satisfied with his accomplishment for the Boston Harbor, Judge Mazzone served as catalyst for organizing the Swim Across America’s Boston Harbor swim event, which has continued to grow and has become a meaningful contributor to over $30 million raised for cancer research and programs for cancer survivors.
Judge Mazzone was a judge who loved the law, who was committed to the betterment of the legal profession, and whose love of people was reflected in the gracious way in which he lived and practiced. He was married to Eleanor Stewart, his loving wife of 51 years and he enjoyed most of all his fatherly role as an inspirational figure to their seven children.