Donald Marino, bar chancellor

Posted: March 06, 2014

Donald C. Marino, 74, chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1984, died Monday, March 3, of congestive heart failure at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City.

William P. Fedullo, current bar association chancellor, recalled Mr. Marino as "a very bright, kind and encouraging man - a real class act."

Mr. Marino "was generous with his time and mentored many lawyers, myself included, and encouraged them to reach their full potential," Fedullo said in a statement. "He is one of the main reasons why I first got involved with the Philadelphia Bar Association. Don will be greatly missed."

When he was about to become chancellor of the Bar Association in January 1984, an Inquirer story described Mr. Marino as "a former assistant district attorney who now handles mostly criminal and some civil cases in a solo practice."

Some of the most prominent newspaper stories about Mr. Marino were not about what he did, however, but what others wanted to do to him.

Court testimony revealed that he and two others had been targets of an attempted mob hit.

Sergio Battaglia said in a federal court trial in March 1996 that alleged mob boss John Stanfa had ordered Battaglia to kill Mr. Marino and Joseph C. Santaguida, both defense lawyers, as well as George Anastasia, then an Inquirer reporter.

Battaglia had told investigators earlier that Mr. Marino "had shown disrespect" for Stanfa in his legal dealings. Battaglia was testifying in the racketeering trial of Stanfa's former defense attorney and others.

None of the hits was carried out.

Mr. Marino's autobiographical notes hinted at what he was doing at the time.

From 1970 to 2003, he wrote, he "represented numerous individuals subpoenaed by federal grand juries seeking information in both criminal and civil investigations."

"I acted as cocounsel in a number of federal prosecutions against significant individuals accused of RICO violations," referring to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

In those decades, he wrote, "I was also special counsel to the Redevelopment Authority of the city on the Market East project and special counsel to the Philadelphia Parking Authority and employees during a grand jury investigation."

A 1956 graduate of St. Joseph's Preparatory School, Mr. Marino earned a bachelor's degree in political science at what is now St. Joseph's University and his law degree at Temple University in 1963.

In 1963 and 1964, he served in the Army as an aide to the post chaplain at Fort Dix.

He was a Philadelphia assistant district attorney from 1964 to 1970 and chief of the major trial division in 1968.

After being in solo practice from 1973 to 1982, he was associated with the Marvin Lundy law firm, managing and evaluating cases.

From 2003 to 2008, he was litigation group chair for the Philadelphia Law Department.

In 1984, the Justinian Society of Philadelphia gave him its award. St. Joseph's Prep gave him its Insignis Award in 1985. In 1999, the Bar Association and the Justinian Society gave him the Cesare Beccaria Award.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Vinnie; a son, Justin; a brother; and two grandchildren.

A visitation was set from 11 a.m. Monday, March 10, at Holy Trinity Church, Epiphany Campus, Ventnor Avenue at 29th Street, Longport, N.J., before a noon Funeral Mass there.

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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