The Law: There Goes the Judge

From his 25th-floor office, Judge Saul A. Epton, a soft-spoken and slightly owlish man of 62, surveyed the wintry expanse of Lake Michigan and reflected on his new post in the circuit court of Cook County: "This is paradise. It's boring but it's paradise."

Why should a judge find boredom to be paradise? The answer is a sad story of hope and despair.

Son of a German immigrant, Epton put himself through law school, specialized in insurance in his private practice, and finally, in 1959, became a judge. "Just about the time I went on the bench, my wife died. I wanted...

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