With greater attention being focused on the work ethic of General District Court judges, I thought there might be some interest in a recent event in Fairfax.
On Friday afternoon, Jan. 23, the clerk’s office failed to notify the jail that I noted an appeal for a client who had been convicted of some traffic offenses and sentenced to jail. By the time my client’s family brought this to my attention, the clerk’s office had closed for the weekend. Needing to contact a judge after hours, I opened the telephone book and, to my surprise, found a listing for Judge Ian M. O’Flaherty.
I left a message for Judge O’Flaherty on his home answering machine, and he returned my call by 8:15 p.m. Judge O’Flaherty thanked me for bringing this matter to his attention and told me he would rectify the problem. By 9:15, the judge was at the courthouse to enter an order directing the jail to release my client. I thanked Judge O’Flaherty profusely and he replied that he was happy to be of service. He encouraged me to tell my colleagues that we could contact him at 2:00 a.m. if needed in a similar situation.
Judge O’Flaherty’s reputation for outstanding service is well-deserved. Often, he is seen in the courthouse lobby before court directing litigants to the proper courtrooms, or raking leaves and doing other chores outside of the courthouse in the afternoons. The commonwealth would be well-served if all judges displayed his level of commitment to public service.
Michael F. Devine