Devitt, Edward J. (Edward James), 1911-1992

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Edward James Devitt, the son of a railroad round-house foreman, was born May 5, 1911 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Devitt gained notarity as the youngest judge in the USA. Named an assistant attorney general in Minnesota in 1939, he also taught at the UND Law School. During his tenure on the US District Court, Devitt became the most respected and influential district court judge in the nation. His decisions were seldom reversed on appeal. His booklet "Ten Commandments for the New Judge", written in 1961, has become standard reading. During the years 1967-1971, Judge Devitt chaired the American Bar Association Legal Advisory Committee on Fair Trial - Free Press, which developed guidelines for news media and the bench in sensational cases so as to avoid prejudicial publicity that would prevent a fair trial. An active Catholic, Judge Devitt urged his fellow jurists to pray for divine guidance since "judges need that help more than anyone else." Among Judge Devitt's most notable cases were the 1961 racketeering trial of Minneapolis gangster Isadore (Kid Cann) Blumenfeld, the 1963 fraud trial of former Minneapolis mayor Marvin Kline, the trial of the "Minnesota Eight" resisters of the Vietnam era draft, and the Reserve Mining environmental pollution trial of the mid 1970s. Judge Devitt died March 2, 1992.

From the description of Papers, 1927-1992. (University of North Dakota). WorldCat record id: 49059751

Edward James Devitt, the son of a railroad round-house foreman, was born May 5, 1911 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned a Bachelor of Law degree at the University of North Dakota in 1935, and a Bachelor of Science in Commerce in 1938. Elected a municipal judge in East Grand Forks, MN in 1935, he became the youngest judge in the USA. Named an assistant attorney general in Minnesota in 1939, he also taught at the UND Law School. During the Second World War, Devitt became a US Navy intelligence officer. Lt. Cdr. Devitt was the sole survivor of a kamikaze hit upon the destroyer Caldwell. On the US District Court he was the most respected and influential member in the nation. He wrote books, and developed guidelines for judges. An active Catholic, Judge Devitt urged his fellow jurists to pray for divine guidance since "judges need that help more than anyone else." Judge Devitt died March 2, 1992.

From the description of Papers, 1927-1992. Series I. (University of North Dakota). WorldCat record id: 49059764

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Heisey, George A., 1893-. George A. Heisey papers, 1917-1985. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Minnesota. Attorney General. Natural Resources Division. Reserve Mining Company case files, 1895-1990 (bulk 1947-1980). Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Devitt, Edward J. (Edward James), 1911-1992. Papers regarding disputes over Chippewa bands' hunting, fishing, and related rights, 1968-1974. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Devitt, Edward J. (Edward James), 1911-1992. Papers, 1927-1992. Series I. University of North Dakota, Chester Fritz Library
creatorOf MacKinnon, George E., 1906-1995. George E. MacKinnon Papers, 1927-1995. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Kroncke, Francis Xavier, 1944-. Francis X. Kroncke papers, 1971-1972. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Frank P. Leslie papers., 1903-1972. Minnesota Historical Society
referencedIn George E. MacKinnon papers., 1927-1995. Minnesota Historical Society
referencedIn Reserve Mining Company case files., 1895-1990 [bulk 1947-1980]. Minnesota Historical Society
creatorOf Burnquist, J. A. A. (Joseph Alfred Arner), 1879-1961. J. A. A. Burnquist papers, 1884-1961. Minnesota Historical Society Library
creatorOf Devitt, Edward J. (Edward James), 1911-1992. Papers, 1927-1992. University of North Dakota, Chester Fritz Library
creatorOf Leslie, Frank P. Frank P. Leslie papers, 1903-1972 (bulk 1940-1970). Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Devitt, Edward J. (Edward James), 1911-1992. Edward J. Devitt papers, 1925-1992. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Freund, Paul A. Paul A. Freund papers. 1918-1993. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Bar Association. corporateBody
associatedWith American Society of Newspaper Editors. corporateBody
associatedWith Blumenfeld, Isadore, 1900-1981. person
associatedWith Burger, Warren E., 1907-1995. person
associatedWith Burnquist, J. A. A. (Joseph Alfred Arner), 1879-1961. person
associatedWith Heisey, George A., 1893-. person
associatedWith Judicial Conference of the United States. corporateBody
associatedWith Kroncke, Francis Xavier, 1944- person
associatedWith Leslie, Frank P. person
associatedWith MacKinnon, George E., 1906-1995. person
associatedWith MacKinnon, George Edward, 1906- . person
associatedWith Minnesota. Attorney General. Natural Resources Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Minnesota Newspaper Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith National Association of Broadcasters. corporateBody
associatedWith Orin G. Libby Manuscript Collection (Chester Fritz Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Orin G. Libby Photograph Collection (Chester Fritz Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Paul A. Freund person
associatedWith St. John's Preparatory School (Collegeville, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith St. John's University (Collegeville, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith West Publishing Company. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Minnesota
Minnesota--East Grand Forks
United States
Minnesota--Minneapolis
United States
Minnesota--Collegeville
Minnesota
Minnesota--Saint Paul
United States
Saint Paul (Minn.)
Subject
Legislators--Biography
Catholics
Court administration
Irish Americans
Mass media--Censorship
Mass media and criminal justice
Circuit Court
Liquor laws--Criminal provisions
criminal law--Cases
Free press and fair trial--Handbooks, manuals, etc
Juries
American Revolution Bicentennial, 1776-1976
Civil law--Cases
Student activities
Justice, Administration of
Free press and fair trail
Judges--Biography
Freedom of speech
Legal opinions
Newspaper court reporting
Catholics--Biography
District courts
Free press and fair trial
Saint Patrick's Day
Navies--Officers--Biography
Occupation
Judges--Minnesota--Saint Paul
Lawyers
Activity

Person

Birth 1911-05-05

Death 1992-03-02

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