The 1973 Awardees
William J. Curtin
AB 1953, LLB 1956, LLM 1957
William Curtin, a Washington-based attorney, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Disney Contemporary Hotel in Orlando, FL on October 20, 1973.
Born in Auburn, NY, Curtin settled in Washington after law school, becoming a nationally prominent attorney specializing in labor relations. He was named to a number of national bar associations, and negotiated labor agreements for a number of prominent projects, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Disney World, the latter of which welcomed him back to the John Carroll Awards.
At the time of his death in 1995, the 64 year old Curtin served as chairman of the Georgetown University Board of Directors.
James T. Finlen
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
James Finlen, an attorney and alumni volunteer, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Disney Contemporary Hotel in Orlando, FL on October 20, 1973.
Finlen grew up in Butte, MT, where his father built the state's most prominent hotel, the 200 room, nine story Hotel Finlen in 1923. After studying at Georgetown, Finlen returned to Butte, where he was one of the state's prominent attorneys and a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors from 1957 to 1960.
In his later years, Finlen retired to the warmer climates of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where he lived for 27 years until his death in 1982.
Dr. Robert L. Kaplan
Robert L. Kaplan, a Miami area dentist, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Disney Contemporary Hotel in Orlando, FL on October 20, 1973.
A 1990 obituary of Dr. Kaplan published by the American College of Prosthodontists told Dr. Kaplan's story: "He was born in Corinth Mississippi, and grew up in Miami, Florida. He graduated valedictorian from Georgetown University School of Dentistry...Following his internship and residency, he opened a private practice in Miami Beach. In addition to publishing several articles in the dental literature, Dr. Kaplan was a member of many professional organizations. He served as president of the Florida East Coast Dental Society, the Miami Beach Dental Society, the Dade County Dental Research Clinic and the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry. "
"Dr. Kaplan received numerous dental awards during his career including the Outstanding Service Award from the East Coast District Dental Society, the Distinguished Service Award from Georgetown Dental School Alumni, the John Carroll award also from Georgetown, and the Outstanding Service Award from the Miami Beach Dental Society."
Kaplan also served on the advisory board at the University of Florida School of Dentistry, which offered a scholarship in his name.
Daniel N. King
Attorney, Alumni Volunteer
Grosse Pointe, MI
Daniel King, a Detroit-based attorney and alumni volunteer, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Disney Contemporary Hotel in Orlando, FL on October 20, 1973.
Born in Bellefontaine, OH, King received his undergraduate degree from Marquette before completing his studies at Georgetown Law School, graduating in 1954. He served as an attorney for 52 years, most recently with the commercial litigation firm of Howard & Howard in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
King was an active Georgetown volunteer in the Detroit area, and served two terms on the Board of Governors of the Georgetown University Alumni Association. He died in 2013 at the age of 88.
Hon. John J. Sirica
LLB 1926, Honorary degree 1976
Silver Spring, MD
John Sirica, former Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Disney Contemporary Hotel in Orlando, FL on October 20, 1973.
The son of Italian immigrants, Sirica was born in Waterbury, CT in 1904 and moved to Washington at the age of 10, enrolling at Georgetown Law in the early 1920's. He supplemented law school with a brief career in boxing, but eventually decided to study the law instead of the sport. He lost the first 13 cases he tried but didn't give up, eventually spending four years as an assistant U.S. Attorney from 1930 to 1934. Sirica maintained a private practice until 1957, rising to the head of trial litigation at the Washington-based firm of Hogan & Hartson.
Sirica was active in Republican political circles when President Eisenhower named him to the District Court in 1957. Nicknamed "Maximum John" for his stiff sentences. he was soon to become a part of American legal history.
"The happenstance was simple," wrote the New York Times. "He was appointed to the Federal bench by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957; in 1971, by virtue of seniority, he became Chief Judge of his court and thus could assign cases to himself. When the Watergate burglary case came to court, Judge Sirica exercised his option. He did so, he later said, partly because he felt that if he, a Republican, handled the case fairly and effectively, there could be no charges of political partisanship."
In 1973, following the trial of former CIA officer James McCord, Sirica read aloud a confession by McCord that his testimony was perjured under pressure from the White House, causing national outrage. Sirica became a household name for his relentless pursuit of the truth through the various Watergate cases assigned to the court, and was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1973.
In 1974, the cases culminated with his order that President Nixon turn over White House tapes to the House Judiciary Committee. The order was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Nixon resigned 15 days later.
"I found the whole thing disgusting," Sirica later remarked. "A lifetime of dealing with criminal law... had not hardened me enough to hear with equanimity the low political scheming that was being played back to me from the White House offices."
Following the President's resignation, Sirica served as judge on the trials of three White House officials implicated in the scandal: H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and former attorney general John Mitchell, all of which were found guilty.
Judge Sirica assumed senior status on the court in 1977 and retired in 1986. He died at Georgetown University Hospital in 1992 at the age of 88.