Here are a few words that come to mind when Ron Reinstein's name comes up: Compassionate, thoughtful, even-handed, funny, egalitarian. Reinstein has presided over more high-profile cases (most of them death-penalty homicide trials) than any other judge, though his judicial star may have shone most brightly when the powers that be inexplicably rotated him off the criminal bench, first to Family Court and later to Juvenile Court. There, finally out of the spotlight, Reinstein quickly distinguished himself as a go-to guy, the judge whom everyone wanted to appear before because of his attention to detail and always-courteous demeanor.
The courthouse is more than a little darker in his absence.
In the end, once you got past the bleatings of both your court-appointed habeas attorneys and their counterparts the elected talking-head prosecutors, who would as much pass up a publicity opportunity as Barry Bonds would pass up a fresh load of 'roids you faced death with an unexpected dignity and jailhouse élan. And your last two words on this Earth, "Go Raiders," are almost as good as the Missouri killer whose last words in 2000 were, "Someone's got to kill my trial attorney." Really.