Edmond T. Daly, 67, a judge of the D.C. Superior Court who was known for his readiness to share his wide knowledge of the criminal law with young prosecutors and defense attorneys, was found dead yesterday at his home in Sumner, Md.
The cause of death was an apparent heart attack. Judge Daly, a widower who lived alone, had diabetes. He presided in his courtroom on Thursday.
Judge Daly was appointed to the old D.C. Court of General Sessions, now Superior Court, by president John F. Kennedy in 1963. He was appointed to a second term in 1973 by president Richard M. Nixon.
From 1956 to 1963, Judge Daly was an assistant U.S. attorney. He became head of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office assigned to the Court of General Sessions and was responsible for the disposition of about 9,000 misdemeanor cases a year.
In an autobiographical sketch, he noted that most of the assistants assigned to him had no prior experience with courtroom work. An important part of his job was to train them not only in trial techniques, but in such aspects of the law as search and seizure, arrest, the admissibility of evidence and confessions, and related matters.
As a judge, he often was assigned to preside over mesdemeanor trials and he continued his practice of instructing the young lawyers who came before him. He did so with a notable firmness and even-handedness.
A typical instance occurred in a trial involving the alleged theft of three hats from a downtown store.
"Stop making statements; you're testifying . . . (just) ask him what he did," he told the prosecutor. At another point, he said to the defense attorney, "Explain hearsay to me."
At the time of his death, Judge Daly was assigned to hear traffic cases. Because of the sheer volume of work, this is one of the more taxing assignments in the court. Judge Daly brought to it the same care for the appearance as well as the reality of fairness that he showed in the more leisurely process of presiding over jury trials.
Judge Daly came to the law as the result of an accident that cost him his left leg. On Feb. 22, 1941, he and another man were flying a light plane from New York to Washington. They ran into a snowstorm and crashed in an open field. Both escaped, but the future judge's injuries were serious.
At the University of Maryland, where he graduated in 1937, Judge Daly earned nine varsity letters. At the time of the plane crash, he was a salesman. During the seven months he spent in a hospital, he decided that he would have to seek a profession and he chose the law.
He entered the law school of Catholic University on a scholarship and earned his degree in 1945. In the meantime, he worked full time as a recreation and playground director in Montgomery County.
His first job as a lawyer was working for the Air Transport Association here. In 1949, he became a partner in a building firm. From 1951 to 1956, he was in the private practice of law, specializing in criminal cases.
Over the years, Judge Daly lectured frequently at seminars for various police forces in the metropolitan area. He also lectured on criminal law at Georgetown University law school.
In 1975, his right leg was amputated because of diabetes. He walked with the use of artificial legs and crutches.
Judge Daly was born on Staten Island, N.Y., and went to school in New York and New Jersey. He came to the Washington area in 1933, to enter the University of Maryland.
His wife, Thelma, died in 1957.
Survivors include a brother, John R., and a sister, and three stepchildren, Franklin T. Wilson III of Baltimore, Lois Pancoast of Richmond, and Jane Shackford of New London, Conn.