Judges Thomas A. Davies, Class of 1963, Steps Down After 40 Years
Judge Thomas A. Davies, a fixture in Fargo's Municipal Court for nearly 40 years, announced Thursday he is hanging up his robe when his current term expires.
Davies, who has been away from the bench since he began battling severe pancreatitis last spring, said in a letter to city officials he will not seek re-election in the June municipal election.
Davies became Municipal Court Judge on April 4, 1972, his 33rd birthday. He is the son of former federal judge Ronald N. Davies, who is known for a landmark ruling in 1957 that racially integrated schools in Little Rock Ark.
In his letter to city officials, Davies said he didn't realize how much he fell ill last year. "I will have major surgery this month; and wihile I contemplate a full and complete recovery over time, it is prudent that I will no seek re-election," Davies wrote. "I have truly enjoyed my time in office and expect to return to work to finish my current term as my health permits," he added.
Sue Thompson, who as clerk of court has worked with Davies for nearly 35 years, described his as a colorful judge whose rulings reflected firmness as well as humor, when appropriate. "i feel he was a great judge," Thompson said. "He was very caring about the people that appeared in court," she added. "He was very concerned about alcohol offenses in particular and trying to help those people that needed help. At the same time, he was very though."
Municipal Court hears cases of alleged violations of city ordinances, such as traffic offenses and many drunken-driving charges. A 2006 Forum Communications story described a day in court when Davies handed 37 citations issued during a concert. Davies gave this advice to an 18 year-old college freshman cited for urinating in public: "If it goes in, it's going to come out; just plan ahead."
In his letter to the city, Davies voiced high regard for those he has worked with and dealt with as judge. "I enjoyed and appreciate the work of the men and women of our outstanding police department; working with the best lawyers in the country; working with the most competent court staff any judge could wish for," Davies wrote.
Fargo attorney Steve Dawson was appointed alternate judge in Davies' absence and has been presiding over Municipal Court in Davies' absence. Attorney Andrea Smith is also serving as an alternate municipal judge.