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Memorial-Futterer, Charles C.
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Charles C. Futterer
1934 – June 16, 1966 

     Mr. Jacobs. At this time I would like to call upon Alger Y. Barbee, Esquire. 

     Mr. Barbee. May it please the Court? 

     Judge Shook. Mr. Barbee. 

     Mr. Barbee. Judge Shook, Members of the Full Bench, Marianne, Dorothy, distinguished guests and friends: It is indeed with a heavy heart that I perform this mission, to spread upon the minutes of this Court concerning my close friend, companion and professional associate, Charles Christopher Futterer. 

     Charles departed this life during the tragic year very much like the tragedy of the other member we just commemorated, both in the performance of duty. The date was June 16, 1966, when he passed away, at the age of 32 years. His accident after an early a.m. verdict following four days of very rigorous trial work, which he performed with his usual finesse and great accomplishment in the success of a verdict for the State of Maryland. 

     In his comparatively short time at the bar Charles engendered the warm friendship and devotion of his fellow members and the Bench. He was known for his diligence, his courage, his sincerity and his legal proficiency. I shall not be influenced by my close association to overembellish this record, for such would not be the wish of Charles because one of his well-known virtues was modesty. When it came about that I should spread upon the record some of his many accomplishments, I could only do it, not by learning these things from Charles – because of his modesty – but I had to learn these fine things only from his friends, who were many. 

     His great and good family background, his legal education awards and the emoluments from his legal practice speak most loudly of his other attributes, which were many. Charles was born was born in the District of Columbia, and at a very young age came across the Line to live in Chevy Chase in Montgomery County for the rest of his life. He lived there with his mother; and at the age of 19 he lost his father. From then on he and his mother were on their own. Charles lived there with his mother until 1960, when he married Dorothy Fury, a daughter of a well-known District of Columbia attorney. He leaves four minor children ranging in age from seven months to five and a half years, all still living on Turner Lane in Chevy Chase. 

     Charles always excelled in his studies. He was a great exponent of educational study and athletic prowess. He attended the Blessed Sacrament in the District of Columbia, the Priory, and he attended the College of Mount St. Mary for three years, when he went into the Navy. Upon his leaving the Navy he enrolled in the University of Maryland and acquired in 1959 the degree of A.B. Following that he enrolled in the George Washington University Law School, and pursued his legal studies there with his usual excellence. When he was graduated he was not awarded, like many of, merely an LL.B. but was given the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence. 

     At graduation I sat in the front row, and the first man wearing the gold tassel and gold on his sleeve, leading his class – I can not learn and Charley would not tell me – whether he was first or fourth or where it was, but he was among the first handful of a class of some four hundred.

     He passed the Bar of the State of Maryland, fourth rating. While he was attending George Washington University Law School he served the Honorable James H. Pugh as law clerk, and I understand, with excellence. I believe Judge Pugh will speak for that. He later was appointed Assistant State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, and Len Kardy will probably tell you about it.  

     And most proud and complimented were Barbee & Starratt when he requested to come to be associated with us; and we accepted him. It was a great experience to work with Charley and to see come into reality all of these things which his background could only produce. Particularly I remember going to the Court of Appeals in a case and working with Charley, in his thorough, diligent manner, with the result that Judge Pugh was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in the pronouncement of a principle of law that before had never been pronounced in the State of Maryland. 

     During the time that Charles was with us, Len Kardy came to us to ask if he could have Charles as an assistant State’s attorney. Certainly he could – at a sacrifice to us – but with great good to the State Attorney’s Office and the experience that Charles would get, naturally. And I say, unselfishly we said yes.

      And he performed so well as Assistant State’s Attorney; and then, commensurate with his practice that was limited by law in the private field then, it was efficient for him to become associated with the firm of Cromwell & Clark, James Cromwell then being Deputy State’s Attorney, with a limited practice; and William Clark, a former Assistant State’s Attorney. 

     So I make these remarks to pronounce what we have claimed here was a great loss to us. But it was a reward to have known Charles, and it is today refreshing to remember him, as we always will. 

     Thank you, Your Honors. 

     Mr. Jacobs. At this time I would like Your Honor to recognize the former State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, Leonard T. Kardy, Esquire. 

     Judge Shook. Mr. Kardy. 

     Mr. Kardy. If it please the Court; Mrs. Futterer, Dorothy, Members of the Bar. 

     Charley Futterer was a trial lawyer! 

     And I know, standing here today, that that would be the greatest thing he would want to hear because, as Your Honors know, sitting here day after day you see lawyers, and you see lawyers. And trial lawyers are few and far between. And Charley Futterer was a trial lawyer. 

     As Mr. Barbee told you, I sought him out. He did not come knocking on my door asking for the job. Many did; many did. Not Charles. I sought Charles, and knew Charles when he was Judge Pugh’s law clerk – a brilliant boy; a good man, warm, sincere, affectionate; and a trial lawyer. I saw him with Barbee & Starratt, and without saying a word to Charles I went to Alger and Andy one night and asked them, please, whether I could have him on my staff. I knew of what stuff he was made. And they without hesitation at all, knowing Charles, knowing the experience that he could get in the State’s Attorney’s Office, with no small sacrifice to themselves took themselves out of the criminal practice which they had and let me have Charles. 

     And he was a brilliant assistant. As a matter of fact, the last day he spent here on this earth was right here in this courthouse, right down the hall; and I believe Your Honor Judge Shure was on that case. 

     It was a most difficult case for the State. It worried Charley. He worked on that – and I never had a more sincere, loyal, dedicated assistant in the years that I was in the State’s Attorney’s Office than Charley Futterer – he worried about that case. It was a capital case, it was a tough case. He was in there alone, with experienced counsel; very difficult case. 

     And each day of the trial when I would see him the morning he would shake his head and say, “Len, it’s tough.” And I’d say, “Charley, go give them hell!” And back he’d go. 

     And anybody knows that has been in courtrooms that adrenalin flows; and trial lawyers are a breed, because it’s tough work. You’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to be an in-fighter, and know your law, know your witnesses, and know how a case is going to project. You’ve got twelve people in the box watching every move. Every time you take a drink of water, every time you stand up, they are watching every move. And jurors are funny people; sometimes they don’t like the tie you wear, and find against you. 

     But in this particular case Charley after four days – he did a great job – he was worried, he was tired, he was exhausted. The jury came in late, and after that four-day trial his adrenalin had gone. He was exhausted. As all of us know in trial when a jury come back, whether you are for the State, the defense, plaintiff or defendant, there is a letdown. I say this again. 

     I will say one more thing that just came to my mind: Charley was witty. 

     And Jim, you know, and Bill, when we would go to our State’s Attorneys’ conventions and sit around and have fun, or on the beach throwing a ball or in the evening, Charley would tell jokes and bring tears to your eyes, tears of laughter. 

     A great man. A great man. 

     In closing I say this: Charley Futterer was a trial lawyer. And he was my friend. 

     Mr. Jacobs. Your Honor, I would like to recognize James S. McAuliffe, Esquire. 

     Judge Shook. Mr. McAuliffe. 

     Mr. McAuliffe. With the Court’s permission. 

     Charley Futterer grew up in Chevy Chase, near Western Avenue and Chevy Chase Circle, Connecticut Avenue; attended Blessed Sacrament Parish, Blessed Sacrament School; and I knew him long before he came to the Bar. I knew him for about half of the 32 years that he had on this earth. 

     I knew him first in connection with his athletic activities and mine; and he was an outstanding athlete. I remember him particularly in basketball, and I can tell you that he was a tough, fierce competitor. He was fair, and when that referee’s whistle blew, that was it. But as long as the play was going on he was a tough competitor. I played with him and I played against him; and there wasn’t anybody tougher under the boards. As a matter of fact, when you were playing against him and you went up for that basketball you didn’t usually come down with it, but you sometimes came down about five feet from where you expected to come down. Charley usually got the ball. 

     But he wasn’t only an outstanding athlete. He went on, pursued his education, became a member of this Bar; and in fact an outstanding member of this Bar. He became a State’s attorney. He was assigned for a time to the court known as Rockville People’s Court on Mondays. As Assistant State’s Attorney there he not only performed his job with ability and dedication but with compassion as well. He could be tough as nails when he had to be representing the interests of the State: but he recognized at the same time that he was there representing all the people, and he did show compassion where compassion was indicated. 

     It has been commented previously about his ability. He pursued continuing legal education, and he became a member of the club known as the Counselors club, one of the organizers of that club, formed by him and his contemporaries as a social club but more important as a vehicle for continuing legal education. He served as the secretary of that organization the year before his death.

      He was many things to his contemporary members at the Bar besides being able and dedicated. I think it is fair to say that he was generally recognized as one of the outstanding attorneys, and it is quite true that he had an outstanding ability in the trial of a case. When he became Assistant State’s Attorney he learned as most Assistant State’s Attorneys do – and particularly when you are in the Peoples Court – the necessity of trying a case “from the seat of your trousers,” when you learn about it two minutes beforehand. He displayed a tremendous ability in this regard. His contemporaries recognized that in him and recognized that in him there was one of the truly exceptional lawyers. 

     But he was something more to his contemporaries than being able and exceptional lawyer. Together with Bill Miller, Charley Futterer was the humorist of our group. Both of these gentlemen that I have named are exceptional in that because of their sharp minds and their sharp wits they see the same situations that the rest of us see but they are able to express the humor in them. 

     And Charley was marvelous; never the clown, but marvelous as a humorist. 

     Now the final referee’s whistle has ended for him; it has blown for him. And he who dearly loved his family and his God has left one to be with the other. 

     And we are here to spread on the record the fact that we dearly loved him, and I think it fair tosay that we will miss him until that referee’s whistle blows for each of us. 

     Judge Shook. Judge James H. Pugh will respond for the Court. Judge Pugh. 

     Judge Pugh. It is my privilege and pleasure and duty to respond to all of these remarks, on behalf of the Court. 

     I can not look aside from the fact that Charley Futterer got his start under me. He was selected as my law clerk in the early 1960s. I selected him on the recommendation of his father-in-law; I also knew Charley Futterer’s father and his mother. I knew also that he was an outstanding student, an outstanding young man, and a young man who offered promise. 

     The year or so that he was with me he exhibited all of that ability. He wanted to know how the courts operated. He assisted me as a law clerk very ably, very conscientiously and with ability. The case Mr. Barbee referred to, I might tell this audience that Charley Futterer wrote the Opinion and I approved it. So the case was affirmed. Law clerks do that occasionally for judges, and they are very, very helpful.

    Charley Futterer offered when he became a member of the Bar an opportunity to the Bar as a young man of ability. He lived just a short time, and during that period of his practice, some four years, he was a Mr. Kardy has stated an outstanding trial lawyer. He never came into court unprepared. He was always ready with an answer to any objections that might interesposed during the trial of a case – with the law. He prepared cases; he had trial briefs. He went to that extent, which is necessary to be a good trial lawyer, to prepare his cases in the form of trial briefs; looked up the law, interviewed his witnesses. He never stalled a Judge. He never stalled in the trial of the cases, he never stalled when the question was asked, “Upon what do you base your objection?” 

     Charley Futterer was on his way to be one of the most outstanding lawyers in this State. He exhibited that in the four years that he practiced in this court. 

     Charley Futterer died in the line of duty. He died as a result of overexhaustion, having been involved in the trial of a very, very difficult case. We know not why that his death comes about; we accept that. The purpose of these proceedings is to record upon the permanent records of this Court what the lawyers think of him and what the Court thinks of him. I believe that I speak for the Court in saying that Charley Futterer gave promise as one of the most outstanding young lawyers that this Bar has ever produced. 

     He died in the line of duty. We will miss him. I will miss watching him grow as a practicing lawyer before this Bar. We will all miss him. 

     Thank you. 

     Judge Shook. The Court will now stand adjourned, in memory of Perry Doing and Charles Futterer.