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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BATTISTI, FRANK JOSEPH - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BATTISTI, FRANK JOSEPH (4 Oct. 1922-19 Oct. 1994) was a federal judge for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, who presided over the landmark Cleveland school desegregation case resulting in cross-town busing.

Born in Youngstown to Eugene and Jennie (Dalesandro) Battisti, Frank served in the Army (1943-1945) and graduated from Ohio University (B.A.,1947), and Harvard Law School (LL.B.,1950). In 1950 Battisti was admitted to the Ohio Bar and served as Ohio Assistant Attorney General.

From 1951-1952 Battisti was legal adviser to the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1952 he entered into private practice in Youngstown and taught as an instructor at the Youngstown College's law school (Youngstown State University). Battisti was Youngstown's first assistant law director, serving 1956-1959.

In 1959 Battisiti became judge of Mahoning County's Common Pleas Court. In 1961 Battisti became the youngest U.S. Federal Judge when he was appointed to the northern Ohio bench by President John F. Kennedy. He became chief judge in 1969.

On August 31, 1976 Battisti ruled in Reed vs. Rhodes, the Cleveland public school desegregation case, that the schools had practiced racial segregation. His comprehensive order contained 14 components intended to bring an equal education to all Cleveland students.

Battisti presided over other high-profile cases including the integration of public housing in Cleveland and PARMA, the acquittal of eight former Ohio National Guardsmen in the 1970 Kent State University student killings, and the deportation hearing of John Demjanjuk.

Battisti married Gloria Joy Karpinski on 10 Aug. 1963. They had no children. Battisti, a Roman Catholic, is buried in CALVARY CEMETERY.

Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 05:10:56 PM

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