Bucks Writs - Summer 2017 - 14

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and sanctity of contact, from the exercise of free speech
as to the number of disputes Sheriffs needed to guard the
dump site, providing for a consistency that may not have
been available if various issues had been heard by different
Judges. No one questioned his impartiality.
Nonetheless there were elements in the legal
community who felt they were being beaten up by
Zeke each time they entered his court room, and they
set out to defeat him when he was up for his ten-year
retention vote in 1985.

The committee successfully raised
thousands of dollars to support Judge
Garb's candidacy, raising far more
than had ever been raised for any
judicial election in Bucks County.
Many, many more lawyers manned the
polls, contributing their time as well
as their cash for Garb. The turnout
in that election was impressive. And
his retention was overwhelming.

Leaders in the Bar Association met and determined that the
Bar Association risked its non-profit status if it raised money
and contributed to Garb's campaign for retention. Therefore,
they decided to form an independent committee for fund
raising and related campaign activities. The committee
successfully raised thousands of dollars to support Judge
Garb's candidacy, raising far more than had ever been raised
for any judicial election in Bucks County. Many, many more
lawyers manned the polls, contributing their time as well
as their cash for Garb. The turnout in that election was
impressive. And his retention was overwhelming.
Through it all, the picketing, the civil protests, the quasicriminal displays, coupled with myriad Petitions for
Injunction, suits being filed, discovery sought; with all the
emotions occasionally boiling over, Zeke was unflappable.
He remained stern but fair. His handling of the combined
cases, and the trust in his fairness was significant in
bringing the litigation to a peaceful conclusion. The fact
that PECO was the ultimate winner does not affect Judge
Garb's singular role in bringing peace to a set of circumstances where violence could easily have broken out.

unethical conduct were hurled back and forth, including
fraud, intimidation, forgery, and worse. The case cried out
to be heard by a courageous and incorruptible Judge: the
Supreme Court chose Zeke.
He wrote the opinion that decriminalized adultery by
finding the Criminal Conversations statute unconstitutional. His opinion has never been challenged and has
been accepted as the law of the Commonwealth by all of
Pennsylvania's courts.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court turned to him and
made frequent assignments as the trial judge to handle
contentious litigation where full bench recusals required
the substitution of a judge from another county. He
was the judge who sorted out the offenses committed
by coal interests and banking interests by the Reading
Anthracite Coal case.

He was assigned to try the case of Commonwealth
vs. Joseph Smith, a case made famous by the novel by
Joseph Wambaugh, a case in which the defendant was
convicted of murder although the bodies of the victims
were never found.
Even as he lost his judicial temperament in the face of
lying witnesses and overpaid, unprepared attorneys,
he always did what was fair and just. He was fearless,
scholarly, a mentor to lawyers and judges alike. He
continued to study and learn the law all his life. We may
not see a judge of his intelligence and work capacity if we
look for 100 years; I do not expect we will see the likes of
Zeke ever again. 

Briefly, the Reading Anthracite Coal case involved a
struggle for control of a business between two powerful
families, the Currans and the Riches. The two families held
almost all the stock in the corporation, but one Tornetta
had enough shares to favor one or the other family. The
Currans were a family of lawyers, with the senior Curran
the President Judge of the County Court. The Riches were
extremely wealthy and controlled a local bank. Charges of

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Summer 2017

Bucks Writs - Summer 2017 - 1
Bucks Writs - Summer 2017 - 2
Bucks Writs - Summer 2017 - 3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/BucksWritsSpring2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2017
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