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Kurt Engelhardt

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Kurt Engelhardt
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #6
Station:   New Orleans, LA
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   12/13/2001 - Present
Preceded by:   Morey Sear
Personal History
Born:   1960
Hometown:   New Orleans, LA
Undergraduate:   Louisiana State U., B.A., 1982
Law School:   Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1985

Kurt Engelhardt is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He joined the court in 2001 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.[1]

Early life and education

A native of Louisiana, Engelhardt graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge with his bachelor's degree in 1982 and with his Juris Doctor degree from Louisiana State University's Paul M. Herbert Law Center in 1985.[1]

Professional career

Engelhardt was a law clerk for State Appeals Judge Charles Grisbaum in the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1985 to 1987 before becoming a private practice attorney licensed in the State of Louisiana from 1987 to 2001.[1]

Judicial career

Eastern District of Louisiana

Engelhardt was nominated by President George W. Bush on September 4, 2001 to a seat vacated by Morey Sear as Sear died while in Judicial service. Engelhardt was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 11, 2001 on a Senate vote and received commission on December 13, 2001.[1]

Notable cases

Danziger Bridge convictions overturned after prosecutorial misconduct uncovered (2013)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (U.S. v. Bowen, at al, 2:10-cr-00204-KDE-SS)

On September 17, 2013, Judge Engelhardt granted a motion for a new trial filed by the five former New Orleans police officers convicted in the Danziger Bridge shootings and subsequent cover-up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In the underlying case, four of the officers were accused of firing upon a group of civilians on the bridge, killing two and injuring others, while a fifth officer was accused of covering up what happened on the bridge during his investigation of the incident. The group of officers was convicted in 2011, but requested a new trial following an online commenting scandal involving the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Orleans. Three federal prosecutors were implicated, including former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sal Perricone and Jan Mann, as well as Karla Dobinski, an attorney in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. The three posted "inflammatory invectives, accusatory screeds, and vitriolic condemnations" about the defendants in the Danziger Bridge case on while legal proceedings were still ongoing, including calls for a guilty verdict. In his fiery 129-page opinion, Engelhardt overturned the police officers' convictions, citing "grotesque prosecutorial misconduct," and going on to call the prosecutors' anonymous online discourse "bizarre and appalling." Engelhardt concluded his discussion of the case by noting that "[r]e-trying this case is a very small price to pay in order to protect the validity of the verdict in this case, the institutional integrity of the Court, and the criminal justice system as a whole."[2][3][4]

BP executive's obstruction of Congress case (2013)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (United States v. David Rainey, US 12CR291)

Judge Carter presided over a case against a former BP executive charged with concealing information from Congress about the amounts of oil leaking from his company’s well into the Gulf of Mexico during the Gulf Coast Oil Spill in 2010. In May of 2013, Engelhardt dismissed the obstruction of Congress charge against Rainey, who was BP’s vice president of exploration for the Gulf at the time of the oil spill. The judge stated that he dismissed the count because the indictment failed to allege that Rainey knew about the pending congressional investigation he was charged with obstructing, and because it wasn’t clear that such a charge applies to subcommittee investigations. The U.S. Representative who led the House subcommittee’s investigation subsequently commented that the judge’s interpretation is “deeply troubling,” and urged the Justice Department to appeal.[5]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Morey Sear
Eastern District of Louisiana
Seat #6
Succeeded by: