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Monday, November 05, 2012

Longtime Westporter Judge Sam Freedman, 85

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Judge Samuel S. Freedman, a longtime Westporter and former state legislator, died today at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, the same hospital where her was born, following a brief illness, Judith Freedman, his wife of 48 years said. He was 85. Image
Quinnipiac University presented an honorary degree to Judge Samuel S. Freedman of Westport in May 2010. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

A graduate of George Washington University and Yale Law School, Freedman was a partner for 25 years with his father at Freedman, Peck and Freedman in Bridgeport.

In 1972, Freedman, a Republican, headed to Hartford where he represented the 135th House District then serving Westport, Weston and Easton.

He chaired the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and was responsible for creating what is today’s public defender system.

In 1975, he was appointed by the legislature to be its chief legal counsel. He became legislative commissioner in 1976, and in 1977 Gov. Ella Grasso appointed him to the state Superior Court bench where he oversaw many homicide cases in Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford and Derby courthouses.

Judith Freedman, a former Republican state senator who served the 26th Senate District from 1987 to 2008, said her husband never retired. In 1997, he was appointed a judge trial referee, a senior position he held until his death.

Away from the bench, Freedman was an ardent Green Bay Packers fan, she said. He also taught law at Quinnipiac University’s School of Law in Hamden since 1983.

In May of 2010, Quinnipiac awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his distinguished career as a World War II veteran, as a practicing lawyer in both the public and private sectors and for his teaching.

That year, his portrait was placed in the main criminal courtroom at the Stamford Superior courthouse in honor of his service to the Connecticut Courts.

In addition to Judith, Freedman is survived by his daughter Martha.

“I have been very lucky to have had a wonderful life with him, and he gave Martha and me so much,” said Judith Freedman.

“He has left Martha and me with so many good memories and gave me the strength I know I need right now.

“I know he is in a better place, but I wish he was here,” she added. “He was a very special person and his mark will be felt in so many ways, by so many and so many different places.”

Judith Freedman said she is in the process of making final arrangements, which will be forthcoming.

Posted 11/05/12 at 01:04 AM


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Judi’s loss is a loss to us all.  It will be a hard task for anyone to fill Sam Friedman’s shoes.

One recollection I have of Judge Friedman goes back several years to a warm morning in June in a downstairs room in the Stamford courthouse where prospective jurors had just signed in.  A man wearing the robes of a judge (the day was already getting warm) walked into the room following a brief but very respectful introduction.  He thanked us all for being there and told us that what we were doing was very important.  What impressed me the most was not the words he spoke, but that he sounded incredibly sincere.  That man was Judge Sam Friedman.

I don’t think there are too many people like him.  I also have the sense from that morning and from the few times I was fortunate to meet him, that part of Sam Friedman’s greatness lay in his humility.  I think he left a lot of lessons for us all—and that we will all be better because of him.

Judi and Martha are in Adam’s and my thoughts.

Posted by Judy Starr on November 05, 2012 at 08:57 PM | #

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