Defendants charged with crimes weren’t the only ones who felt they were being sent to Judge Frank Shea’s courtroom to be punished. “You wanted to go into the cauldron?” said Kevin Boshea, a prosecutor at the Criminal District Court in the 80s. “You went into Section G. And you were in the cauldron.”

Some grew to love it. “The truth of the matter is the guy was gruff,” said Franz Ziblich. “The truth of the matter is he had the sort of sailor mouth would not work today. His courtroom demeanor would not be considered appropriate today. But as Kevin said before, he was a little bit like a drill sergeant. We all respected him. You either loved him or you didn’t. But he made you a lawyer.”

Others — ones who threatened to slow-up the breakneck pace of proceedings — weren’t allowed to practice in his courtroom at all. 

In this episode of the Section G Podcast, lawyers reflect on their experiences with Judge Frank Shea.

Read The Section G Project part 1 and part 2 and listen to the Section G Podcast episode 1 and episode 2. The podcast also is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.

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Nick Chrastil

Nicholas Chrastil covers criminal justice for The Lens. As a freelancer, his work has appeared in Slate, Undark, Mother Jones, and the Atavist, among other outlets. Chrastil has a master's degree in mass...