By November of 1961, Merle had rounded out his staff of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. Noted from left to right: Merle M. McCurdy, Bernard J. Stuplinski (Merle’s Chief Assistant), Dominic J. Cimino, Burt W. Griffin, Charles M. Diamond, and Gerald J. Celebrezze.
Burt Griffin, later Judge Griffin of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, was a hold-over from the Eisenhower Administration. When hired in the late 1950’s, this son of a former Republican Judge was told of the pleasure the office had at receiving his resume, given that it was facing pressure to hire an African American attorney. The conversation left an impression on Griffin who felt the joke was on them because they just hired a “Jewish Democrat.” Griffin would later serve on the Warren Commission that investigated President Kennedy’s death.
Absent from this photograph is Merle’s former Legal Aid Chief Assistant, Gerald S. Gold. Before Merle’s appointment, the two had talked about joining a private partnership, but, even in 1960s Cleveland, Merle thought it was impossible for two attorneys of different races to start an office seeking paying clients. In addition, Merle indicated that he wanted to leave the Public Defender’s office in the good hands of his long-time friend, Gerald S. Gold.
Gold, G.S. by Dana, R. (Personal Communication, April 23, 2015).
Sheehan, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge B. et al. by Dana, R. (Personal Communication, April 2015).