Controversial Judge Transfers Cases
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Senior U.S. District Judge Hubert Teitelbaum said Thursday the transfer of most of his caseload to other judges is not related to a controversy over his order to a married attorney to use her husband’s surname in his court.
″I conferred with the court and did this on my own volition and not because of anything connected with Ms. Wolvovitz,″ the judge said.
During a civil trial last summer, Teitelbaum threatened attorney Barbara Wolvovitz with jail for refusing his order to use her husband’s surname. Teitelbaum later apologized after women’s groups sought his resignation.
The incident prompted an investigation by the local bar association into sexism in the courtroom.
Teitelbaum, a federal judge since 1971, said he notified Chief U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill three weeks ago that he was stepping down as an active trial judge. Most of Teitelbaum’s cases will go to D. Brooks Smith, a newly appointed judge from Altoona who reported for work Tuesday.
Teitelbaum said he did not know how many cases he had, but he didn’t dispute a published figure of 154.
″Some time ago I became a senior judge - two years ago. A senior judge is sort of like semi-retired in as much as you don’t have to do any work if you don’t want,″ he said.
He said he would retain his courtroom and hear appeals in social security cases and routine constitutional appeals in criminal cases.
″I’m 73 years old and I think it’s about time I ease up my trial schedule,″ said Teitelbaum., ″There’s no other reason.″