Alfred D. Noyes Sr. Dies; Juvenile Judge in Md.
By Claudia Levy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Aflred D. Noyes Sr., 91, who as Montgomery County’s sole juvenile court judge worked to create recreational as well as adequate correctional facilities for youth and who campaigned to limit the kind of permissiveness that can lead to crime, died November 4, 1998 at his Barnesville home. He had congestive heart failure.
Judge Noyes was the county’s juvenile judge from 1946 to 1970, a postwar period of enormous growth in the youth population. He was a kindly, grandfatherly figure whose chamber resembled a small classroom. He tended to talk to youths as if he were a teacher, asking them about their grades and the circumstances that had brought them to court.
“He communicated through vibration, by osmosis,” said reitred Circuit Court judge, L. Leonard Rubsen, who practiced before Judge Noyes and later succeeded him on the court. “He set a standard for us, as a judge and teacher, of how to have compassion for the kids. He said that a lot of the things that happened to kids were not of their own making, that they needed understanding and love.”
Judge Noyes wrote that young people were entitled not to liberty, but to live in the custody of guardians who cared and understood them. He resisted efforts to formalize juvenile court proceedings and successfully fought to exempt Montgomery County from a Maryland law he thought would turn juvenile courts into criminal courts.
He tried to persuade parents and authorities to limit driving privileges for those younger than 18 and sentenced many of those who came before him to a temporary carless existence.
He decried youthful excesses such as vandalism, blaming the “general lowering of moral standards over the years,” and he heard an increasing number of drug-related cases as he neared retirement.
Today, in a less innocent era, three judges in the juvenile division of the county circuit court hear cases now more likely to involve rape, homicide, sex offenses and assaults. After-school programs designed to help keep youngsters out of trouble, for which Judge Noyes had long campaigned, have been established in the county.
Judge Noyes was highly critical of the conditions under which youths were incarcerated in the state and worked for years to create a county detention center. It was opened in Rockville in 1077 and named in his honor. He was also highly critical of so-called training facilities for youngsters and pressed for the creation of alternative group homes.
Judge Noyes, the father of three children, remained active in youth work after he left the bench. He founded Camp Echo Lake, a summer retreat for disadvantaged children, in Frederick County, Md., and he was a founder of the Girls and Boys Clubs of Montgomery County.
Judge Noyes was born in Washington. He was a graduate of Central High School, Washington and Lee University and the law school of George Washington University.
Early in his career, he was an assistant state’s attorney in Montgomery County and also was in private practice. He served as a Montgomery County commissioner, on the governing body that was the predecessor to the County Council, before being named to the bench.
Judge Noyes was president of the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges and was of counsel to the American Justice Institute in Montgomery County. He was an elder of Poolesville Presbyterian Church and a member of the Monocacy Lions Club. His interests included Civil War History.
His marriage to Kathryn M. Kalister ended in divorce. His second wife, Anna F. Noyes, died 10 years ago.
Survivors include three children from his first marriage, Kathryn Sheila Noyes of Washington, Nancy N. Morningstar of Boyds and Alfred D. Noyes, Jr. of Beaalsville; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.