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John Woodcock

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John Woodcock
John Woodcock.png
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Maine
Title:   Chief judge
Position:   Seat #1
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   06/16/2003-Present
Chief:   2009-Present
Preceded by:   Gene Carter
Past post:   Attorney in private practice
Past term:   1978-2003
Personal History
Born:   1950
Hometown:   Bangor, ME
Undergraduate:   Bowdoin College, 1972
Law School:   University of Maine School of Law, 1976
Grad. School:   London School of Economics, 1973

John A. Woodcock, Jr. (b. 1950) is an Article III judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maine. He joined the court in 2003 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.[1]


Born in Bangor, Maine, Woodcock received his bachelor's degree in 1972 from Bowdoin College, his master's degree from the London School of Economics in 1973, and his J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law in 1976.[1]

Professional career

From 1977 to 1978, Woodcock served as an Assistant District Attorney for the State of Maine. Woodcock then transitioned to a career as a private practice attorney, where he worked from 1978 to 2003.[1]

Judicial career

District of Maine

Woodcock was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Maine by President George W. Bush on March 27, 2003, to the seat vacated by Gene Carter. The U.S. Senate confirmed Woodcock's nomination on June 12, 2003, and Woodcock was commissioned on June 16, 2003. Since 2009, Woodcock has served as the chief judge of the court.[2]

Notable cases

Environmental cleanup case over Penobscot River mercury pollution (2014)

     United States District Court for the District of Maine (Maine People's Alliance, et al v. Holtrachem Manufacturing Company, et al)

Judge Woodcock is set to preside over a trial involving a decade-long battle over the cleanup of hazardous mercury deposits in the Penobscot River caused by the now defunct HoltraChem power plant. The company produced approximately 23,000 pounds of toxic mercury waste as a byproduct each year between 1967 and 1982. The trial is expected to last for up to three weeks.[3]

In the underlying case, after losing a lawsuit in 2002, Mallinckrodt US LLC took responsibility for the pollution caused by the plant, as well as the cleanup of a small part of the Penobscot. The Maine People’s Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council allege that since that time, Mallinckrodt has delayed the cleanup process. Since the initial ruling, the Department of Marine Resources decided to indefinitely close a seven-mile stretch of the river to lobster and crab fishermen due to elevated mercury levels found in aquatic life.[3]

In 2003, Judge Gene Carter ordered that a scientific study be conducted to determine the extent of mercury pollution present in the Penobscot. The study concluded in 2013, and its results will be used in the June 2014 trial. Mallinckrodt disagreed with the study's findings, arguing that they didn't "demonstrate[] a need for remediation." The plaintiffs, on the other hand, argued that the mercury contamination posed a danger to wildlife and human health. Judge Woodcock will issue a ruling in the summer of 2014.[3]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Gene Carter
District of Maine
Seat #1
Succeeded by:

MaineMaine Supreme Judicial CourtMaine Superior CourtMaine District CourtsMaine Family DivisionMaine Small Claims CourtMaine Business and Consumer CourtMaine Probate CourtsUnited States District Court for the District of MaineUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MaineUnited States Court of Appeals for the First CircuitMaine countiesMaine judicial newsMaine judicial electionsJudicial selection in MaineMaineTemplate.jpg