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October 9, 2008
Judge Michael C. Bolden
By Rick Winterson

Michael C. Bolden has been the Presiding Justice at South Boston’s Feeney Courthouse since September.  He brings a Law degree from Suffolk and 30 years of legal experience to the position.  And he is becoming a great fan of the South Boston community. 


Judge Michael C. Bolden has been in his position as Presiding Justice of the Feeney Municipal Courthouse “up on the hill” for just about a month.  Already, he is forming opinions about our community and they are quite favorable.

During this interview, Judge Bolden voiced his satisfaction at being assigned here by saying, “This is a great court with a great staff, which makes it easy for me to settle in.”  He continued, “I love the South Boston court.  It epitomizes the community court system we have here in Massachusetts.  We can react, be a part of, and be a resource for the community.  Our cases take on a community value, with a direct impact on South Boston.”

The Judge was born in Philadelphia to George and Patricia (Johnson) Bolden.  They moved across the Delaware, and settled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  He has one sister, Pamela.  In addition to his studies, young Michael Bolden was an athlete – football, wrestling, and track – and made the Cherry Hill High School Hall of Fame.

He was recruited to Bates in Lewiston, Maine.  His athletics continued.  He was an offensive tackle, and received 12 letters for football, indoor track (shot put, 40-yard dash), and outdoor track (hammer, discus).  His undergraduate degree was in Government.

After extensive consideration, Bolden decided to continue on to law school.  He had examined his strong points, which included being an articulate speaker as well as persuasive individual.  Suffolk Law School contacted him because Bates had a solid academic reputation, and he decided to come to Boston.  He graduated in 1978 and was admitted to the bar.

During his internships and clerkships in the Greater Boston Legal Services and with the Suffolk county DA, Michael Bolden found that the courtroom was his arena.  He wanted to be involved in litigation.  For two years, he worked as a trail attorney at the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) in Washington, D.C., traveling to coal mines throughout Appalachia.

He networked into an interview with John Droney, the Middlesex County DA, and accepted a job offer as an Assistant DA.  This was just what he wanted:  “We rolled up our sleeves and went to work.  There wasn’t much glory, but at the end of the day, you felt you had accomplished something.  Punishment, yes, in some cases, but you also got people into treatment programs.  I still have friends from my days there, including the best man at my wedding.”

Judge Bolden’s long career includes serving as the Assistant Corporate Counsel for the City of Boston.  He was Chief of the Civil Rights and Public Safety Bureau, when the influx of such cases began.  He worked for Wayne Budd, in the U.S. Attorney’s office.  Ralph Martin asked Bolden to return to Suffolk County as Chief of District Courts, where he supervised 40 Assistant DAs in nine courts.  He also worked for Jeffrey Locke in Norfolk County.  Later, he served as Acting Secretary of Public Safety and the Commissioner of DYS.

In 2005, Governor Romney appointed him Judge Michael C. Bolden.  He was assigned as an Associate Justice in the Municipal Court of Boston.  His home base was Roxbury, but Associates rotate throughout the system.  In January of this year, he was appointed to Charlestown, and came here as Presiding Justice a month ago.  Judge Bolden’s responsibilities now include both administrative and judicial duties.

Bolden is married to Tracey West of New York, whom he met through a friend on the Vineyard.  She is Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Advisor at B.C. Law.  They live in Milton and have two children – Nicholas (14) at B.C. High and Allyson (10) at St. Mary of the Hills.  In his spare time, Judge Bolden coaches a number of youth team sports.

He has promised South Boston Online a future article also.  Stay tuned. 


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Judge Bolden after a busy day at the Feeney Courthouse.