Judging His Life Over, Retired Baltimore Jurist Ends It

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Retired Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert I.H. Hammerman had a peculiar wish: He wanted a heart attack like the one that killed his father. But Judge Hammerman, 76, believed his fate was not a quick death, but the progressive blindness and memory loss that clouded his mother’s last years. Determined to die on his terms, he took his own life yesterday, reports the Baltimore Sun.

It was not a rash act, for that was hardly the style of the studious, deliberate Harvard Law School graduate who arrived at the courthouse at 5:30 a.m. every day until Maryland’s mandatory judicial retirement age forced out the longest-serving trial jurist in state history. The judge undertook 16 months of planning, untold hours of letter writing and even two gun training courses before he put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger about 9 a.m. yesterday, in a wooded area not far from his Baltimore County condominium. Judge Hammerman detailed his reasons in a 10-page, handwritten letter that he copied and mailed to 2,200 relatives, friends and associates the night before his suicide.

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