When we refer to each judge as “Your Honor,” we “honor” that person and we simultaneously “honor” the office of every judge. Importantly, we also “honor” something in ourselves as individuals and as members of a civilized, honorable, and lawful society. Reflecting upon the life of the Honorable Richard A. Damiani, we find something more than “His Honor” or our honor. We find an example of a person who achieved such a level of excellence in the way he lived and acted as a judge and as a human being that he truly enriched the office of the judge and the society that he served so well.
To his family, friends, and professional colleagues, he was known fondly as “Richie” Damiani. During his years as a practicing lawyer, he was unpretentious, down-to-earth, and yet fiercely competitive when advocating for his clients. Throughout his years as a judge, he demonstrated a remarkable combination of true compassion for those in need balanced against the capacity for judicial severity when dealing with the most severe criminal offenders.
In this regard, as a jurist who was capable of dispensing stern justice, it is particularly remarkable that Judge Damiani demonstrated a keen sensitivity and concern for individuals with mental illness. He was careful and mindful of those for whom evaluation and treatment was a preferred alternative to strict judgment and punishment. As such, he exemplified the values to which Justice Benjamin Cardozo referred in The Nature Of The Judicial Process, where he wrote: “There is an old legend that on one occasion God prayed, and his prayer was, ‘Be it my will that my justice be ruled by my mercy.’”
At this time of profound sadness, we extend heartfelt condolences to Judge Richie Damiani’s family, closest colleagues and friends. He was truly a remarkable judge in whom justice and mercy, common sense and compassion combined with a sense of humor to allow us to say that his life was, indeed, well-lived. His passing was far too early. But we can say with confidence that our lives have been enriched and we have been honored by his life and His Honor.•