Judge's name suggested for courthouse

January 18, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A grass roots campaign is under way to name the new Washington County District Court building after one of the two original judges to serve on its bench.

The late J. Louis Boublitz was appointed to the newly formed District Court for Washington County in 1971 and served until his retirement in 1982. He died in 1997 at the age of 83.

County Attorney Richard Douglas on Tuesday took the issue before the Washington County Commissioners and got their unanimous endorsement.

"The idea was actually started by the clerks here who worked with Boublitz during his years on the bench," said Washington County District Court Judge Ralph France. "They then brought the idea to me."

All the sitting judges in Washington County are in favor of the designation, France said.

He said State Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, is the point man in Annapolis for the effort to name the new Antietam Street court building, which is under construction south of the current court building on West Washington Street.


"Either the legislature can do it or the Maryland Board of Public Works can vote to have it done," France said.

In his memorandum, Douglas said Boublitz served with distinction as judge for 11 years, sharing the bench with now Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright.

A Baltimore native, Boublitz worked at the Cotton Duck Mill Manufacturing Co. while attending the University of Baltimore Law School at night.

He never went to college, and entered law school after passing an entrance exam in the early 1930s.

When Boublitz began practicing law, he was with Weinberg and Green, doing most of the trial work for that firm in the late 1930s.

He stayed with that firm until World War II broke out. He served with Patton's 3rd Army as a platoon sergeant during the Battle of the Bulge.

Just before the war, Boublitz married Ethel Lubin and they had two daughters. When he left military service, Boublitz and his family moved to Hagerstown and he resumed the practice of law.

During the 1960s, Boublitz was Hagerstown city attorney and served a term as chairman of the Washington County Planning and Zoning Commission.

When the current District Court system was established in 1971, Boublitz said he was surprised at his appointment - he was a Republican and then-Gov. Marvin Mandel was a Democrat.

Fellow attorneys and judges often used words such as firm, fair, wise and gracious in describing his administration of the law.

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