Leonard Braman August 21, 1925- June 1, 2020 Judge Leonard Braman passed in the early morning hours of June 1st , after a long bout with Parkinson's Disease. Braman was a judge for the Superior Court of Washington, D.C.; taking senior status in 1985, before fully retiring in 2015. Braman dedicated his life to the rule of law. He was appointed to the bench in 1970, where he presided over many important cases, most notably the Hanafi Muslim murder trials In which 5 Black Muslims from Philadelphia were convicted of murdering 7 Hanafi Muslims; and important opinions concerning the District's Landlord and Tenant statutes He grew up in Philadelphia, the son of Jewish immigrants and served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, as a navigator/bombardier. After completing his service, he attended Temple University, in Philadelphia and then law school at the University of Virginia, where he graduated in 1952 with honors, being a member of the Virginia Law Review as well as being inducted into the Order of the Coif. On graduation from law school, Braman clerked for Judge E. Barrett Prettyman, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the nation's second highest court, joining the unofficial club of "Prettyman Clerks" who rose to prominence in the D.C. legal community. After his clerkship, he was appointed an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, a position he held until 1954 when he was awarded a teaching fellowship from the University of Chicago Law School. He returned to the District in 1955, joining the law firm of David G. Bress, which later became known as Bress, Braman and Hillmer. When Mr. Bress was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Braman became a partner and head of litigation at the law firm of Surrey, Karisik, Greene and Hill until the time of his appointment to the bench by President Richard Nixon. Braman was also revered as a mentor, sharing his knowledge and guidance to several generations of ascending attorneys. Those who clerked for him, knew him to be exacting, but always committed in his instruction and guidance; and maintained contact and friendships that lasted decades. "I benefited from his brilliance and love of nurturing young lawyers," said Stephen Helfman, a Miami attorney. "A special man who really made a difference in the lives he touched." "He changed the course of my life and the lives of so many more," added Brian Shack, former U.S. Assistant Attorney for the Southern District of FL. "Judge Braman is legendary in the Washington legal community for his intellect, his long days on the bench and in chambers, his deep knowledge of every case that came before him, and his ability to issue detailed rulings from the bench without notes" said Ron Marshall, a former law clerk. "He mentored many of the young attorneys who appeared before him, and especially enjoyed his close relationships with those who later joined him as colleagues on the bench." "There's one less giant in the world," said his oldest son David. "I can only hope the apple didn't fall far from the tree." His younger son, Barrett, added: "There are so many who feel fortunate to have been affected by him, but none more so than myself, my brother and our families. "Nobody could have asked for a better big brother," added his brother, Norman Braman. "I was so proud of everything he did and accomplished. He was always an inspiration, and I loved him more than I could ever express." Braman was married to two wonderful women: Joyce Roberts for nearly 50 years; then Dorothy Weisfeld for 16 and a half. He is survived by Dorothy; his devoted brother: Norman and his wife Irma; two grateful sons and daughter-in-law: David, Barbara and Barrett; and three loving grandsons: Zach, Cory, and Nathan; and great granddaughter: Nola. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent in his name to the Parkinson's Foundation.
Published in the Miami Herald on Jun. 7, 2020.