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  Thursday, March 26, 2015
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Always Holding Court
By Kevin Devlin


     Sal Paterna receives the prestigious Amicus Curiae Award

     On May 1, on Law Day at the Norfolk Superior Court, Sal Paterna, the Dedham District Court Clerk Magistrate, received the Amicus Curiae Award for dedicated and outstanding service to the Courts of Norfolk County. This is not the only court that Sal has excelled in, for during the course of his life, he has won numerous awards playing handball and racquetball on the local courts.

     Sal, a lifelong resident on South Boston, grew up on M and East Sixth Street and then lived on K Street. Sal attended Boston Technical High School which is now the home of Boston Latin Academy. Afterwards, he graduated from UMass, Boston, receiving an undergraduate as well as a graduate degree. As a standout shortstop, Sal was the captain of his varsity Tech Tigers baseball team and then on his college team. Sal also played football for the local park league team appropriately named the Town Team. He was the team’s captain and they were the Varsity League Champs in 1958.  

     Sal began working in the court system 39 years ago. He was an assistant chief probation officer at Boston Juvenile Court for many years, and then was appointed Clerk Magistrate of Dedham District Court by Governor Dukakis in 1987. As Clerk Magistrate, Sal is quite busy overseeing the day-to-day operations of the court. He is the official keeper of court records, handles appeals, issues search and arrest warrants, and presides over small claims and probable cause hearings. 

     But, this isn’t the only court that Sal feels at home in. Sal began playing handball down at the L Street Bathhouse probably before he could tie his own sneakers. In the late sixties and early seventies, he captured the New England Three-Wall Championship six times. He won one singles and five doubles-titles. Sal is overwhelmingly proud of the fact (and rightly so) that he and his son Joey are the only father-son combination that has won a New England Handball Championship. His son Joey, who went on to become an All-American in handball at Wake Forest, won eight titles in the nineties.

     In 1981, Sal started playing racquetball. He was a quick learner, adapting his handball skills onto the racquetball court, and in 1984, won four championships at the Boston Athletic Club (BAC). He won the Men’s Class “A” singles and doubles titles, as well as the Men’s Class “A” over 40 singles and doubles championships. Sal won numerous titles in racquetball at the BAC in the eighties and nineties, and in 1993, added yet another trophy to his collection, when he won the State Senior Racquetball Championship.    

     Sal has kept himself busy throughout the years.

     Although his racquetball and handball playing days are over, he still is in court every weekday, doing his job as Clerk Magistrate.

     And, he intends to keep holding court as long as he is able to do so.

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