For the past 45 years, Norman Goodman has been responsible for signing the piece of mail that every New Yorker dreads receiving: a summons for jury duty. But after Dec. 31, his signature will no longer grace the bottom of the foreboding red-and-white notice. On his 91st birthday, Goodman will retire from his long-held position as the New York County Clerk, the New York Times reports.
Prospective jurors probably assume he is fearsome or forbidding. He said he had been walking around his office with a walker lately (but it was nowhere to be seen during two recent visits). And Madonna, who answered a summons from Mr. Goodman in July, said by email that Mr. Goodman was “chatty and full of stories,” so much so that he “could have been Woody Allen’s lost brother.” Of course, Mr. Goodman let her wait in his office to avoid gawkers in the jury assembly room.
Over his nearly half-century at the New York County Courthouse on Centre St., Goodman has sent out between 11 and 12 million summonses, and fielded countless requests for exemptions. He’s seen six mayors and seven governors come and go, and has summoned the likes of Henry Kissinger and Cabaret star Joel Grey.
Goodman will be replaced by Justice Milton Tingling, the New York State Supreme Court judge best known striking down Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban in 2013. But Tingling, who said he plans to diversify jury pools, is about to become a household name.
Brigit Katz is an editorial intern at Tablet.