|Gov. Romney Signs Feeney Court House Bill Into Law
On Friday May 19th Governor Mitt Romney signed House Bill #3445 into law. The bill, which was presented by State Representative Brian Wallace (D-South Boston) calls for the South Boston District Court to be hereby called the Chief Justice Joseph F Feeney Memorial Court House. The bill which had the support of Rep Wallace in the House and Senator Jack hart in the Senate was heard in the Judiciary Committee where it received a favorable committee report and was ultimately steered through the House and Senate by Wallace and Hart.
Chief Justice Joseph F Feeney was born in South Boston on May 26, 1918. He graduated from Boston English High School on May 26, 1918. He graduated from Boston English High School and immediately took a job with Congressman John W McCormack. He attended American University and Catholic University in Washington. He was appointed Legislative Clerk to the United States Congress before enlisting in the United States Navy at the inception of World War II. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was present at the evacuation and surrender of Japan.
After World War II Joe Feeney returned home to South Boston and put himself through Boston University Law School. After passing the Bar he worked as an Assistant United State Attorney as well as an Assistant District Attorney under DA Garrett Byrne. In 1957 Feeney became newly elected Governor Foster Furcolo’s first appointment to the Judiciary and was, at age 39, appointed Special Justice of the South Boston District Court.
Feeney was a legendary figure at the South Boston District Court for the next twenty three years, In 1980, Feeney was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Boston Municipal Court and he later became Chief Justice of the BMC in 1986. He retired at the mandatory age of 70 as required by law but was recalled and presided in Quincy District Court for several years. He died on May 16, 1991.
Representative Brian Wallace recalled Feeney fondly. “My father and Joe Feeney grew as best friends in the lower end of Southie during the depression years and they remained friends until the day my father died in 1979. They worked together at the Southie Court for over twenty years. My father was dispensing wisdom in his custodian’s office while his friend Joe Feeney was dispensing justice from the bench. Joe steered this community through the tumultuous busing years and saved hundreds of Southie kids from getting records or going to jail even though he was pressured by the Feds and others to be harsher in his sentencing during those times. He never met a Southie kid he didn’t like or whom he didn’t think could be rehabilitated. It is an honor for me to have this legislation signed into law by Governor Romney and I want to personally thank Senator Jack Hart who helped me navigate it through the process and whose support was crucial to it being a law today,” Rep Wallace stated
Plans are now underway for a September dedication at the South Boston District Court