Former Supreme Court Justice Peck dies at 89

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(Host) Former Vermont Supreme Court Justice Louis Peck is being remembered today for his wit and his dedication to the law.

Peck died Thursday at the age of 89 in Berlin.

Peck spent a decade on the Supreme Court and before that had a distinguished career in the attorney general’s office.

Justice John Dooley served on the court with Peck. Dooley says Peck was dedicated to the people of the state.

(Dooley) “Whether you agreed with him or not, there was no question that his heart was with the people and he was doing everything he could to advance the cause of the citizens of the state, for the quality of the legal system and also to produce he right result for the people who came before the court.”

(Host) Peck became known as the “great dissenter” during his time on the court because he often wrote opinions in which he disagreed with the majority.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz worked for Peck on the court. She says he prided himself on being a conservative. He frequently disagreed with his colleagues who gave additional rights to defendants in criminal cases.

Markowitz says his personality came out in some of the dissents he wrote.

(Markowitz) “He was extremely literary and he spent hours and hours writing very eloquent dissents and he would pile through literary books, Shakespeare and poets and other Old English authors to find the right quote. He’d know what it was and he’d have to find where it came from to make his legal arguments not only more compelling but also more interesting to read.”

(Host) Peck also will be remembered for suing the state. He challenged the requirement that Supreme Court justices retire at the age of 70. He succeeded in serving out the rest of his term.


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