Inherit the Heat

Justice was super toasty before State Supreme Court Justice Lester Adler. His Westchester County courtroom had no air conditioning, and everyone was hot and bothered. Women fanned themselves, men mopped their foreheads and grumbling was all around.

Adler came in and apologized for the temperature, saying “the powers that be” were aware of the problem. He told the lawyers to feel free to take off their jackets — reminding me of the classic film “Inherit the Wind” where Spencer Tracy and Fredric March shed their jackets in the sweltering courtroom.

Adler decided to lead by example, and took the bench without a jacket OR his robe. Assistant District Attorney Steven Vandervelden slipped off his jacket during a break in the proceedings, but most of the lawyers didn’t follow suit. Once outside, though, the lawyers whipped off the jackets and revealed their soaked shirts.

The defendants, with their short sleeved shirts, seemed a lot cooler.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.