Murry White was made an honorary member of the Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association Tuesday, May 22, for his longtime attendance in court in the Roanoke County and Salem courthouses.
Presiding General District judge Vincent Lilley, who spoke on White’s service, remembers when he first went to work at Roanoke County’s District Attorney’s office and began trying cases in the early 80s, he said. A couple, Murry and his wife Mildred “Susan”, were always sitting on the front row to watch the proceedings.
The Whites eventually became trusted enough to advise Lilley and other lawyers and judges on cases, Lilley said.
“People hire high-priced jury consultants all the time,” said Lilley. “If they had had the good sense to hire somebody that watches court as much as Murry and Susan did, you can bet they’d save untold thousands of dollars […] at the end, they would assess it with untold accuracy.”
White, who is 97, enjoys watching jury trials and felony cases more than other types of hearings, he said, but doesn’t get to the courthouse as much as he used to.
After more than 30 years of regularly attending public court, he considers the judges, Sheriff’s deputies, and staff at the courthouse family. When his wife Susan of 64 years passed away five years ago, the police were her pallbearers, he said.
When he was hospitalized a few months ago, “Anytime the nurses would see a uniform or a police officer, they sent them on to my room,” he said of the number of police and sheriff’s deputies that came to visit him.
And although he does occasionally watch court television, he said there’s “false information given a lot of times on television.”
“It’s better to see it here in court,” White said. “Nothing like Judge Judy happens in the regular courtroom.”