Tag Archives: St. John’s University School of Law

Professor Joseph A. Calamari (1919-2016)

I’m sad to report that my St. John’s University School of Law faculty colleague Joe Calamari died on December 2, 2016, at age 97.

February 27, 2007:  Celebrating Joe’s 88th birthday.

When we became colleagues in 1995, Joe was already retired from full time teaching… except for the fact that he taught actively every semester, was a leading authority on admiralty law, was hugely respected and involved in the admiralty bar in New York City, and was very connected to students and lawyers across their lives and careers.

I learned that Joe was a World War II and a Korean War veteran.

When I began to write about the Nuremberg trials, he stopped by my office to talk about them, smartly.  After a while, he said, gently, “I was there for a day—it was the day Keitel took the stand.”  His claim was true and typically modest.  We pinned down the date:  April 3, 1946.

When Joe finally, really, retired from teaching in 2011, St. John’s admiralty law society honored him at a special dinner, and the society took his name.

April 7, 2011:  Marie & Joe Calamari (and a earlier Joe photo behind them).

It was a great privilege to know him.

Rest in Peace, Louis Stokes


Louis Stokes, age 90, died on Tuesday at his home in Cleveland, Ohio.  As well-deserved obituaries are reporting, he was a World War II veteran, a lawyer, a civil rights champion, an African-American trailblazer, a Member of Congress for thirty years, and a great humanitarian.

To read more about Louis Stokes’s great life, here are links to stories in The Cleveland Plain Dealer (here and here, and also follow the additional links therein, and here is the image of today’s Plain Dealer front page, which is almost entirely a photograph of Rep. Stokes), The Washington Post (here) and The New York Times (here).

I had the good fortune to know Louis Stokes a little bit over the past decade-plus.  We met in 1998, when he participated in a St. John’s law school conference on the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1968 landmark decision, Terry v. Ohio, which upheld the constitutionality of, while also applying constitutional limits to, police stops and frisks.

Louis Stokes had been John Terry’s lawyer.  Beginning in late 1963, Stokes, then one of Cleveland’s foremost criminal defense lawyers, represented Terry and another man who were charged with illegally carrying concealed weapons after they were stopped and frisked, resulting in their guns being detected and seized, by a Cleveland police officer.

Stokes ably represented the men at trial and on appeal, including before the Supreme Court of the United States.  To listen to his oral argument in Terry v. Ohio, click here.  To read his 1998 reflections on the case and the Court’s decision, adverse to his client John Terry, click here:  Stokes 72StJohnsLRev727.

Through our contacts, I learned that Louis Stokes was not merely a brave pioneer, a great lawyer and a dedicated public servant.  He also was a generous, engaging, unpretentious and very kind person.

He was, in all respects, a hero.  I’m one of millions mourning his loss and giving thanks for his life and example.


July 4, 2008:  Louis Stokes speaking at Chautauqua Institution.