Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy – Gone but not forgotten online
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Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy

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Kevin Thomas Duffy, a long-serving federal judge on the Southern District of New York bench who oversaw many notable cases in his career, died this month of the coronavirus, his son told BuzzFeed News. His son Kevin Duffy Jr. said he was transferred from a short-term rehabilitation facility in a nursing home to Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut after another resident at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19. Duffy tested positive for the virus and died April 1 at the hospital, his son said. The family had been unable to see him for four weeks before he died, his son said. Over a career as a federal judge that spanned decades and began when Duffy was 39 years old, he developed a reputation as a tough issuer of sentences who was a beloved mentor to his clerks and a larger-than-life presence in the courtroom. It was a career that encompassed some of the biggest news stories of the second half of the 20th century. Duffy sat as the judge during the 1985 trial of Gambino crime family members, a trial that was complicated by the famous December 1985 shooting of Gambino boss Paul Castellano outside the Sparks Steak House in Manhattan. He judged one of the trials of Black Liberation Army members who had robbed an armored Brink's truck in 1981. Duffy oversaw the trial of the Islamist militants who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, and he presided over the trial of the would-be perpetrators of the “Bojinka plot,” a plan to hijack planes flying to the US and sink them into the ocean (one of whom, Ramzi Yousef, was also involved in the World Trade Center bombing). Duffy was “a magnet for significant cases,” said Shawn Regan, a lawyer at Hunton Andrews Kurth who clerked for Duffy in the 1990s.