The honorary plaque unveiled Wednesday calls the late Judge William Beer a “true gentlemen,” but some at the courthouse said that hardly fits a man who secretly fathered nine children with a mistress.
“He was amoral, violating every principle that robe stood for,” said former county bar association President Henry Baskin, who represented Beer’s wife in their divorce. “This is a black day in the history of the bar.”
The bronze memorial plaque is a tradition accorded all judges who serve on the Oakland County Circuit Court.
The county bar association is paying the $350 cost of the plaque, which honors Beer with these words: “A true gentleman and a distinguished jurist, he loved literature and classical music, but above all, he loved the law.”
Beer, who died last year, inspired a made-for-TV movie, “Double Standard.” He fathered six daughters and three sons with his mistress in Detroit, whom he saw on weekends, while raising three sons with his wife during the week.
Beer and Dora Beer were divorced in 1979 after nearly 50 years of marriage. Dora Beer said she didn’t learn of her former husband’s nine other children until after the divorce.
Richard Beer said his father was a devoted judge.
“He had personal problems or whatever you want to call them, but as far as the justice he pronounced, I think it was sound,” Beer said. He also said he and his stepbrothers and stepsisters are close.