RIP Judge Wm Browning
Local federal District Court judge William Browning died last night. My first job out of law school was with his firm, Browning & Wilson-Druke. Carol Wilson-Druke passed away some years ago.
Browning was a westerner and a fun guy to be around. He did slip now and then. He'd been to a bar luncheon when he was president of the State Bar. Governor Raul Castro (no, not that Raul Castro) was the speaker. He spoke with a slight accent. Browning was making cracks at his table like "He can ALMOST speak two languages."
When the governor left, one guy at the table got up and left. Browning asked the others at the table who that fellow was. "The governor's pilot," was the reply. Oooops. They probably had some interesting conversations on the flight back to Phoenix.
Gad, the interesting ones are passing on. A few years ago we lost Mo Ollason, bankruptcy judge. He'd hang out at Bob Dobb's bar, and had an incredible sense of humor. One night he was discussing a case involving an ostrich farm north of here (yes, there is one). They were going bankrupt because the birds weren't reproducing as rapidly as projected. Someone jokingly pointed out that the new-ager types believe there is a powerful good vortex near Sedona, and powerful negative vortex near the ostrich ranch.
So next time the case came up, with a perfectly serious face he asked the attorneys:
Q. Have you investigated whether the ostriches are being affected by the negative power vortex at Picacho Peak?
A. Pardon, your honor?
Q. The negative power vortex at Picacho Peak. Everyone knows about it. It may be affecting the ostriches' willingness to reproduce.
A. Uh ... we'll investigate, your honor...
He'd also become the first bankrupcy judge to seize Univ of Arizona basketball tickets (goods one are worth $10-15,000 per season) from high-rolling developers who went bust. Then the court sold them by raffle, so every one in town could have a shot at them. Another guy had a classic car collection, which he undervalued in court, but the judge knew his cars. He ordered them turned in a 5 PM, and figuring the guy wouldn't, sent the Marshal out with tow trucks at precisely 5.
Then there was the time a guy at Bob Dobb's said he knew the judge had Viagra and could he borrow one for a hot date. Sure, Mo says... and gives him one of the powerful painkillers he had for back pain.
UPDATE: Yup, there really is a Bob Dobb's here. They sell T-shirts with the logo "I drink to make other people interesting."