Haverhill District Court First Justice Abany to Retire This Month

Haverhill District Court First Justice Stephen S. Abany spoke during 2019's annual "Law Day" ceremony on May 8. (WHAV News file photograph.)

It’s an end of an era as Haverhill District Court First Justice Stephen S. Abany is retiring this month.

Abany, well-known to defendants, plaintiffs and jurors alike, is credited not only with presiding over the law, but over the 50-year-old court building’s recent $8 million renovation.

“He was not just a good steward of court business, but he was also a good steward of the court building. He oversaw the renovation of the building, including moving the court to two different places—Newburyport District Court and Haverhill City Hall. That’s not a small undertaking for anybody,” said Haverhill City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr.

Renovations began in 2017 when civil cases were temporarily moved to Haverhill City Hall and criminal cases to Newburyport District Court. The Haverhill courthouse reopened during the fall of 2018.

Cox adds, “Abany is noted for a very kind and generous demeanor, listening to people, being thoughtful about his decisions. At the end of the day, he followed and was guided by the law.”

District Court Chief Justice Paul C. Dawley praised Abany’s service.

“Judge Abany’s sense of fairness, unsurpassed humility and kindness toward colleagues, court staff and all members of the Haverhill District Court Community will be missed. We commend his outstanding public service as a District Court judge and wish him well in retirement.”

Abany was first appointed as a district court judge by former Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. In Haverhill, he replaced Presiding Justice Kevin M. Herlihy, who retired in 2006. Abany retires Dec. 12.

From 1979-2005, he served as an assistant clerk-magistrate for the Quincy District Court. Previously, he served as an assistant district attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. He began his legal career as a law clerk in Brockton District Court in 1978.

Abany received his undergraduate degree from Boston College in 1971 and his juris doctorate degree from the Suffolk University Law School in 1978.

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