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Edward Francis Hennessey Edit Profile

State supreme court justice

Edward Francis Hennessey was state supreme court justice. Bar: Massachusetts 1949. Decorated Bronze Star; recipient Distinguished Public Service award Boston University, 1975, St. Thomas More Public Service award Diocese of Worcester, 1975.


Hennessey, Edward Francis was born on April 20, 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Son of Thomas M. and Winifred C. (Tracey) Hennessey.


Bachelor of Science cum laude, Northeastern University, 1941. Doctor of Laws, Northeastern University, 1976. Bachelor of Laws cum laude, Boston University, 1949.

Doctor of Laws, Boston University, 1976. Doctor of Laws, Suffolk University, 1974. Doctor of Laws, New England School Law, 1974.


Born in South Boston, he moved with his family to Newton at age 6. Hennessey was among the appointed attorneys and he was fascinated by the work. After the war, he went to Boston University School of Law, graduating with honors in 1949.

He made his mark as a civil litigator, a trial lawyer in civil cases, many of them as a defense lawyer in personal injury cases. He also gained recognition as a law school lecturer and legal scholar, writing law review articles, editing the Massachusetts Law Quarterly and co-authoring a text on the practice of automobile law. During the 1950s and early 1960s, he practiced civil and criminal law and was an assistant Middlesex district attorney.

In 1967, Governor John A. Volpe appointed him to the state Superior Court. Four years later, Governor Francis W. Sargent elevated Hennessey to the Supreme Judicial Court, where he served as an associate justice until Governor Michael Dukakis chose him to be chief justice in 1975. A centrist Republican, he once observed, "When justice requires, I'm a liberal.

When justice requires, I'm a conservative." He retired at the mandatory age of 70. His health declined sharply during his last year and he died in a nursing home in Needham, where he had lived for many years.


  • He served in the United States Army during World War II (in the Mediterranean theater) and was a captain, receiving a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.


  • Other Work

    • Author: (with Martin) Trial Practice, 2 vols, 1954.


His first case was to defend a man charged with rape. The man was found guilty of a lesser crime.


Served to captain United States Army, 1941-1945. Fellow American Bar Association. Member Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, National Conference of Chief Justices (president 1985-1986), National Center for State Court Justices (president 1985-1986).


Married Elizabeth Ann O'Toole, October 15, 1945. 1 daughter, Beth Annual.

Thomas M. Hennessey

Winifred C. (Tracey) Hennessey

Elizabeth Ann O'Toole