Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Spring 2017, Volume 43, No. 1 - Page 38

III rector and two as Deputy. TC: You were also a U.S. Magistrates? JD: Yes, but U.S. Magistrate was not the position that it is today. It started as some- thing called the Commissioner and they were always appointees of the federal judg- es. In those days, it was primarily low level criminal cases, setting bail on illegal entries, holding probable cause hearings, and oc- casionally trials. The most interesting trial case that I ever did, involved a gentleman who was alleged to and was convicted of taking an illegal duck in the federal wildlife reserve. The U.S. Magistrate position then was a few hours a week at most, unless you happened to get an interesting duck case. TC: I’ll have to get the citation to that case! What did you do next? JD: Let’s see, a variety of things for a while. Mostly, I worked for Legal Services Corporation and so I was in Washington ev- ery week for a period of time. My wife got a master’s degree in social work at West Virginia University and we lived in Morgan- town, West Virginia. Then I became Legal Counsel to Governor Kunin, before I be- came her Secretary of Administration from 1985 – 1987. TC: That must have given you a good taste for working with the Legislature. What did you enjoy the most about that ex- perience? JD: The Secretary of Administration is an interesting job; it’s a very close working relationship with the Governor. At times, the Secretary of Administration is involved in the decision-making on everything, abso- lutely everything, and you have an average of three minutes to do whatever needs to be done. Legislative sessions were the most interesting times. It was crazy, I mean you just worked 7 days a week and you were going, going, going the whole time. TC: What was the big topic in the Legis- lature then? JD: Educational financing was very big during my time. A number of environmen- tal initiatives were also big. I would have to get into them because the Secretary of Administration is the Secretary of Money, so anything that involved money, whether it’s the budget or financing particular pro- grams, or coming up with a financing de- vice for some new initiative or whatever, I was involved. The biggest fights were for educational financing, but they almost al- ways are. TC: The more things change, the more they remain the same? JD: Exactly. TC: When did you become interested in 38 serving on the Vermont Supreme Court? JD: It’s hard to know the answer to that question. I would have stayed being Sec- retary of Administration for maybe anoth- er term, but I was very heavily recruited by Fred Allen, then Chief Justice of the Su- preme Court. I had been the Rules Report- er for some time, and was working with the Supreme Court Justices all the time in that capacity. TC: So you were Kinvin Wroth? JD: Yes, and Kinvin was actually working with our rules committees at that time, so we worked together on a number of things. TC: What has been the biggest change on the Supreme Court since you first start- ed in 1987? JD: Well, as you know very well, the Su- preme Court is responsible for its own func- tioning, and is responsible for the function- ing of the Judiciary in general. I used to know how many cases the backlog was in the first year I came. What happened af- ter that may have been before you came to Vermont, I don’t know. TC: I came in ‘82. JD: Yes, so you were here. What hap- pened is as a result of the controversy in relation to Jane Wheel, Assistant Judge in Chittenden County. There were mass dis- qualifications, and the Court had a real large backlog as a result. We were doing a week of argument every month and so you were picking up cases at a higher, much higher, rate than what we’re currently do- ing. I spent my commuting time listening to arguments on my cassette player. I can’t re- member exactly how big it got, but I prob- ably had a backlog of 50 cases. TC: Wow. JD: Right. TC: You were missing your