Happy Retirement to
The Honorable Robert N. Tochka
Judge Robert N. Tochka is due to retire on February 1, 2021 as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Judge Tochka is proud to be the first Albanian-American appointed to the bench in Massachusetts, and possibly the first in the United States. His family roots on both sides are from Korce, with his father emigrating when he was just 17 years old in 1922.
Judge Tochka began his career as a prosecutor in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office located in Boston. He eventually was promoted to the Homicide Unit and then to the Chief of the Gang Unit. In 2002 he was appointed by Governor Jane Swift to the bench as an associate judge of the District Court. There he started a probation program which continues to help young, mostly gang involved, probationers find jobs and complete their schooling. He also started a trial advocacy program to train new prosecutors and defense attorneys. In addition, he started a program to help law students from diverse backgrounds obtain summer internships with judges in the Boston Municipal Court.
Perhaps one of Judge Tochka’s most significant contributions was to help found the Albanian American Lawyers Society, later to become the Albanian-American Bar Association, the first organization in the country organized to help Albanian-American law students and lawyers. He is especially proud that the organization regularly raises money to help elementary students, and children living in orphanages in Albania.
In 2014 Judge Tochka was elevated to the bench of the Suffolk Superior Court by Governor Deval Patrick. There he continued his goal of helping others by starting a program for probationers released from serving state prison sentences. The program enrolls probationers in a paid twelve-week culinary arts program that trains the probationers for jobs in the culinary arts field.
The Albanian American lawyers mentored by Judge Tochka over the ten years of the founding of the Bar Association are collecting donations to honor his commitment to service. It is fitting that the donations have been used to help others in Albania; $1300 was donated to two schools in Fier, Albania to purchase a computer, washing machine, large area rug, and music speakers. Click here to see photographs of the children and school teachers receiving these donations.
In keeping with his long-held belief that we should never forget where we came from, we will endeavor to find ways to stay connected to our Albanian roots and help to make a difference in the lives of Albanians in need.