In Memoriam

Honorable Charles W. Joiner

Judge Charles W. Joiner died Friday, March 10 in Naples, Fla., at the age of 101; a memorial service was held March 17.

Joiner earned his B.A. and J.D. from University of Iowa. Admitted to the Iowa bar in 1939, he practiced as a trial attorney until 1947 when he was admitted to the Michigan Bar, and moved to Ann Arbor where he became active in both Rotary and city government, serving on City Council, 1955-59.

In the early 1960s he directed a group of lawyers in drafting a complete revision of the 40-year-old Procedural Statutes and Rules for Michigan’s state courts, then led the drive for their enactment.

For the State of Michigan’s Constitutional Convention of 1961-62, he served as a director for the Preparatory Commission, as well as director of Research and Drafting.

In 1965 the Hon. Earl Warren tapped Joiner to help author the historic proposal that resulted in the Uniform Rules of Evidence for the Federal Court system, and Joiner served as one of the drafters, then as a leader in promoting and teaching the rules.

He was again recruited by the Chief Justice, to serve on the Civil Rules Advisory Committee, the Standing Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference, and the Committee to review Circuit Council Conduct and Disability Orders (Ethics).

For nine years, he sat on the Committee on Ethics of the American Bar Association, and chaired the ABA Committee on Specialization.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan, je served as president, 1970-77; and served as chair of the Privacy Committee. He was a Life Member of the NAACP.

In 1973, Gov. William G. Milliken named him as a Michigan Commissioner of Uniform State Laws.

At the University of Michigan Law School, Joiner taught as a professor of law, later serving as associate dean, then acting dean, until appointed dean of Wayne State University Law School in 1967 where he served until his appointment to the federal bench in 1972 as a District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.

He wrote prolifically and his work was published in numerous law reviews and Bar journals.

He was an active member of the American Law Institute; the American Judicature Society; and the American Bar Foundation, where he served as Chair of the Fellows,1978-79.

He was a prime mover of the first national effort to provide a program of continuing education for lawyers returning home after World War II. He organized and promoted the American Law Student Association as a part of the ABA. At the U-M, he created the Advocacy Institute for Continuing Education for lawyers.

On the Federal Bench, Joiner heard significant and landmark cases, including some of the first cases involving the use of polygraph technology.

He oversaw the elimination in Michigan of large state institutions for the severely disabled and the creation of smaller group homes.

Joiner sat actively as a Federal District Judge in Detroit and Ann Arbor until he took Senior Status in 1984. From then until 1997, he sat by invitation on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Judicial Circuit, before entering full retirement.

In 2016, at the age of 100, Joiner was inducted into Wayne Law’s inaugural Wall of Fame class as one of 13 distinguished alumni and staff.

Ralph Rumsey

Ralph Spencer Rumsey of Dexter Township died March 11 in Ann Arbor.

After earning his BBA, MBA and J.D. from the University of Michigan, Rumsey’s 39-year legal career began with an affiliation at Dickinson Wright in Detroit and then with Dobson, Griffin and Barnes in Ann Arbor.

In 1973 Rumsey formed his own firm with Michael Meade and Robert Magill, later joined by Robert Foster and Peter DeLoof.

Rumsey was briefly of counsel to Butzel Long, Ann Arbor, before the Magill and Rumsey firm was created from which he retired in 2012.

He was recognized nationally and internationally for his pioneering expertise in nonprofit, tax-exempt law. He created a client base that allowed him to provide counsel to charitable organizations, ranging from Great Commission Air to the National Kidney Foundation.

He served in leadership roles in numerous organizations, providing insight through published works, keynote speaking, workshop engagements and appearing as an expert witness.

Rumsey enjoyed volunteer service to the Dexter Township area, serving units of government, civic organizations, natural and historical associations and regional and local lake groups, including participation in the volunteer effort that saved the Gerald R. Eddy Discovery Center in the Waterloo State Recreation Area.

Memorials may be made to the Zeta Psi Educational Foundation, 15 South Henry St., Pearl River, NY 10965.

 

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