Patrick Delahanty unveils a portrait of his late father, Thomas E. Delahanty II, on Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn where he served for more than two decades. The portrait was painted by Stephanie Berry. Christopher Williams/Sun Journal

AUBURN — When Thomas E. Delahanty II served as the chief federal prosecutor for Maine, most of his staff called him “Judge.”

It’s a moniker the Lewiston native had earned from more than two decades on the bench at Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Over that time, the honorific “Justice” had become more than Delahanty’s professional title, it had become his identity.

And so, it was fitting that on Tuesday, “his honor” was honored by a standing-room-only group of family, friends, guests and former colleagues, including judges, state and federal prosecutors, defense attorneys, court clerks and law enforcement officers, in that same courtroom that served as his second home.

The memorial service for the late judge, who died on April 12, 2021, at age 75, featured the unveiling of his portrait, which will hang in that courtroom alongside the portrait of his father, Thomas E. Delahanty.

Thomas E. Delahanty II was a sixth-generation attorney and third-generation judge, his cousin, John Clifford IV esquire, noted Tuesday.


U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee, who served as assistant U.S. attorney under Delahanty from 2010 to 2017, said she and her fellow federal prosecutors regarded the “judge” as a “kind and caring man who put his family first” and someone who “deeply cared for the mission of the department of justice.”

McElwee read some of the comments by others who worked under Delahanty, including that he was “a wonderful man and boss … a real class act” as well as “fair and thoughtful.”

Delahanty was not only highly regarded among this state’s judicial luminaries, but also nationally by his counterparts within the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. He served twice as U.S. Attorney for Maine, once under President Jimmy Carter and again under President Barack Obama.

When Delahanty died, the U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a statement that read, in part, “Tom Delahanty was a giant in the Maine legal community,” she said. “His service to Maine … spanned over 40 years.” In addition to his professional accomplishments he was also an honorable, just man and devoted husband, father and grandfather.”

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill recalled clerking for Delahanty in that same courtroom in 1985.

Although Delahanty had only been appointed to the bench two years earlier, Stanfill said he “embodied gravitas and experience to me and that never changed.”


She said he told her he might need her assistance as he presided over a notable criminal case of attempted murder by a college student whose victim was the school’s dean.

“I don’t think he ever did” need her assistance, she said, but wanted instead to give her the opportunity to watch the trial that featured a “clash of the Titans,” pitting now-Gov. Janet Mills against distinguished Lewiston attorney Jack Simmons.

Stanfill would later work as an attorney for Simmons’ law firm and appear before Delahanty many times, she said, presiding over her first jury trial charging four defendants with armed robbery.

He granted her motion for judgment of acquittal after the state rested its case.

“He told me afterward I should never to expect that to happen again,” Stanfill said to a courtroom filled with laughter.

In January 2020, Stanfill had been assigned as resident Androscoggin County Superior Court justice and came to occupy the chambers inhabited for so long by Delahanty when Stanfill had served as his law clerk. A brass plate on the tiled fireplace is inscribed with the late judge’s name, she said.


Coley Coyne, a Lewiston lawyer who served as assistant district attorney in 1975 under Delahanty, had been appointed county attorney, a part-time position.

The two became lifelong friends.

Coyne reflected Tuesday on the personal traits of the esteemed judicial figure, noting his love for Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown, celebrity cruises, Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team and, above all, his family.

Delahanty’s passion for Halloween was notable for the effort he would put not only into elaborate costuming but, with equal precision, the presentation that would often involve recruiting family members to serve as his personal theatrical troupe acting out macabre scenes such as a graveyard burial or a ghoulish wedding.

Coyne illustrated his remarks with a slideshow depicting the late judge dressed for the occasion. In one slide, he’s pictured wearing a friar’s robe.

“I think this was a testament to Tom’s great talents which were: He was always prepared, overprepared and he was always extremely organized. And, of course, that helped in his profession,” Coyne said.

Anyone who sat in a courtroom over which he presided witnessed Delahanty’s orderly court proceedings, with his signature punctuality.

Delahanty’s sibling, Kevin, said Tuesday that his big brother “made friends of people from all walks of life. His loyalty was unquestioned and his personal ethics were beyond reproach.”

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