Judge Woodlock

JUDGE DOUGLAS P. WOODLOCK
U.S. DISTRICT COURT, DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS

Judge Woodlock, Judge Harrington and Attorney John Hanify all served together in the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston from 1979 to 1980.

Judge Woodlock appeared with John Hanify’s father, Edward Hanify in Washington D.C. to speak in support of Edward Harrington’s nomination to the Federal Bench at the US Senate Judiciary Hearing of December 9, 1987. [click U.S. Senate Judiciary]

Judge Woodlock was the first person to hear the Sweeney case in Federal Court in 1991. (CA-91-10098-WD dated March 1 1991) He immediately did two things:

  1. Questioned how the case had come before him:

  2. Judge Woodlock: "Well, what I guess I don’t understand is why doesn’t Middlesex Court have these papers, the original of these papers? The only way that papers get over here on removal is [when] certified copies or a writ of certiorari is issued by the Court. I’m not aware that a writ was issued here, so, consequently, we shouldn’t have the original papers."

  3. Recused himself:

  4. Judge Woodlock: "I’m afraid after reviewing the papers more carefully last night that I have a threshold problem, a question here that I think may merit my recusal from the case."

"And I…have had social contacts or encounters – although not extensive ones – with the plaintiffs here. It has been my practice generally when confronted with personal relationships like that – even attenuated ones – to recuse myself."

"Of course, I suppose I should note I also have had professional relationships with Mr. Hanify, with whom I served in the United States Attorney’s Office, and, in fact, with Mr. King with whom I had some dealings in Georgetown alumni matters." [James King is the law partner of John Hanify at Hanify & King]

"But the sole question is whether or not someone looking from the outside could reasonably say that there was some sort of appearance of impropriety as a result of these relationships. I think they perhaps could here and I choose not to proceed."

NOTE: When Judge Woodlock recused himself the case was supposed to have been "redrawn," but instead it was "reassigned" to John Hanify’s friend and colleague Judge Edward Harrington.

COMMENT: Isn’t it strange that Federal District Court Judge Woodlock found it necessary to recuse himself on the slightest impropriety but that District Court Judge Harrington denied the Sweeney motion requesting that he recuse himself because of more extensive connections with John Hanify and his father Edward Hanify!!! [click Senator Kennedy and U.S. Senate Judiciary]