Former District of Columbia Superior Court Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton died over the weekend, according to a release from the court.
Hamilton, who was 78 years old, was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 1970. He served as chief judge from 1993 to 2000, and then as a senior judge. He died on Nov. 19.
"He was a man of many talents, who led our court during the crucial years of revitalization," current Chief Judge Lee Satterfield said in a statement.
Hamilton was born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1933 and earned his law degree from the University of Illinois. After serving as a Judge Advocate General Officer, Hamilton joined the civil division of the Justice Department as a trial attorney, where he served until his appointment to the bench.
During his time as chief judge, Hamilton oversaw a court in turmoil. As reported at the time in Legal Times, the fiscal crises facing the District in the 1990s meant Hamilton came under fire from local and congressional officials over how the court managed its own finances and administration. The local courts came under complete congressional oversight in 1998.
Hamilton was also credited with making a number of positive changes to the court, including the reenergizing of the family court calendar. Hamilton, who cared for dozens of foster children, gave high priority to improving how the court managed cases involving families and children.
Satterfield, in his statement, noted that Hamilton remained active on the bench after taking senior status, recently handling a high-profile case involving a young boy who was stuck at Children’s National Medical Center after no one came to get him.
"His commitment to the children of DC was evident in his final days,” Satterfield said.