Morning Call account as a gentleman, and that's certainly true. But don't get the idea that he's sitting in some country club, sipping on a martini. He's a gentleman who eats his lunch in the cafeteria, mixing it up with the clerks of various departments. He's a gentleman who will stop in the hall, to give some lost soul directions. In other words, a real gentleman.
Northampton County has always been lucky that way. The first judge I appeared in front of was Clinton "Budd" Palmer. His face was a thermometer. If it got too red in the courtroom, you'd know that you've gone too far. But Palmer, like Smith, was a judge who made sure he knew the county workforce. He'd be in the cafeteria every morning at 7:50 am, drinking coffee with custodians, clerks, probation officers, and from time to time, young lawyers.
Though Judge Smith is known for his military service and scholarship, I'll never forget one discussion I had with him several years ago. What he is most concerned about is his children. To him, being a good father trumps being a good judge.
When my daughter was in Iraq (Yes, my daughter was in the military), he often asked about her. He may be ascending to the judicial heavens, but his feet remain planted firmly in the ground.
Who will succeed Judge Smith? Some of you may want to discuss that, but for now, I just want to wish him the best.