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Clerks of the Court (Historical)


Vincent A. Massi

Vincent A. MassiMassi
Clerk of the Court: 1957 - 1965
Born: May 28, 1905
Died: April 24, 1975

Vincent A. Massi was born in Philadelphia on May 28th of 1905. He graduated from Fordham University and Fordham law school, and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1933. Massi’s vigorous work and experience practicing law for several years in the Bronx earned him a position as a law clerk to an Appellate Division judge in 1941. He later became Chief Law Assistant and fulfilled this position until 1957, when he was named Clerk of the Court for the Appellate Division First Department.

He served as the Clerk of the Court until June of 1965, when he was appointed as Criminal Court Judge by Mayor Wagner. He then served as Assistant Administrative Judge of the Criminal Court from 1967 until 1970. He was designated as an acting Supreme Court Justice in 1970. In December of 1974 Massi was appointed by Mayor Beame to Criminal Court for a one-year term.

Massi did charitable and community of work outside the court. Living in the Bronx, Massi prioritized his community and used his positions within the judicial system to invoke societal improvements. He was elected president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of the First Department. Massi was a boastful supporter of the Boys Town of Italy and the Bronx Division of the United Jewish Appeal. He was also a prominent member of the Bronx County Bar Association. In 1960 he was sworn in as Secretary of the association, and was installed as one of the vice presidents in 1961. As he continued to climb the ranks of officers within the association, by 1963 he was installed as president.

Massi was always ready to chip-in during a crisis. In the spring of 1968, New York City Mayor John Lindsay became concerned over the possibility of mass disturbances during the summer months ahead. The Mayor was aware that the courts had to be geared to handle increased number of arrests that would follow demonstrations, particularly if they were accompanied by riots and violence. At the direction of the presiding justices, 55 justices of the Civil Court were asked to be ready on short notice to man the arraignment of parts of the Criminal Court, if necessary. Most of these judges were unfamiliar with practice and procedures of criminal cases. As a result, Massi, who was Assistant Administrative judge of the Criminal Court, was involved in organizing an orientation program for each of the 55 civil judges.

He was to reach the age of 70, the mandatory retirement from the criminal court, in May of 1975 but unfortunately passed away on April 24th 1975 suffering from a heart attack. Massi died at the age of 69, he was married to Mollie Massi, had four daughters, Marilyn Vagion, Mrs. Robert Doldin, Gloria and Patricia, and six grandchildren.

Sources:

Obituary, New York Law Journal, April 25, 1975, p.1.
Obituary, New York Times, April 25, 1975 p.33.

* This biography was written by Shazil Noel in August of 2016. At the time of the writing Mr. Noel was a rising senior at Secondary School for Law in Brooklyn, NY.