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Michael Chagares

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Michael Chagares
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   Philadelphia, PA
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   4/20/2006-Present
Preceded by:   Michael Chertoff
Personal History
Born:   1962
Hometown:   Pittsburgh, PA
Undergraduate:   Gettysburg College, 1984
Law School:   Seton Hall Law, 1987

Michael A. Chagares is a federal judge with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. He joined the court in 2006 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.[1]


Chagares graduated from Gettysburg College with his bachelor's degree in 1984 and from Seton Hall School of Law with his Juris Doctor in 1987.[1]

Professional career

  • 2004-2006: Attorney in private practice, New Jersey
  • 1991-2006: Adjunct professor, Seton Hall School of Law
  • 1990-2004: U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey
  • 1999-2004: Chief, Civil Division
  • 1990-1999: Assistant U.S. Attorney

Judicial career

Chagares was nominated by President George W. Bush on January 25, 2006, to a seat vacated by Michael Chertoff as Chertoff was nominated by President George W. Bush as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Chagares was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 4, 2006, and received commission on April 20, 2006.[2]

Notable cases

Computer hacker's conviction and sentence vacated for lack of proper venue (2014)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (U.S. v. Auernheimer, 13-1816)

On April 11, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit, composed of Judges Chagares, Joseph Greenaway, Thomas Vanaskie, vacated a hacker's conviction and prison sentence on charges relating to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).[3]

In the underlying case, in June 2010, Andrew “weev” Auernheimer and co-conspirator Daniel Spiller discovered a security flaw on AT&T's network server that allowed them to obtain the email addresses of 114,000 iPad users. Auernheimer emailed the details of their find to several media outlets, and shared the full list of emails generated with a writer from Gawker, a news and gossip website. While Auernheimer resided in Arkansas and the servers affected were located in Texas and Georgia, he was prosecuted in New Jersey federal court, which Auernheimer argued was an improper venue under the circumstances. The District of New Jersey rationalized this course of action by saying that the email addresses of 4,500 New Jersey residents appeared on Auernheimer's list.[3]

In 2012, a jury convicted Auernheimer of identity fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization, and in March 2013, he was sentenced by Judge Susan Wigenton to forty-one months in prison. On appeal to the Third Circuit, the three-judge panel found that Auernheimer's conviction must be vacated because of improper venue. Writing for the court in a precedential decision, Judge Chagares noted that New Jersey was "not the site of either essential conduct element" of the CFAA -- Auernheimer neither accessed nor obtained the unauthorized information in the state at any time.[3] Chagares continued, writing:

[E]ven assuming that defective venue could be amenable to harmless error review, the venue error here clearly affected Auernheimer’s substantial rights. ... The venue error in this case is not harmless because there was no evidence that any of the essential conduct elements occurred in New Jersey. If Auernheimer’s jury had been properly instructed on venue, it could not have returned a guilty verdict; the verdict rendered in this trial would have been different.[3][4]

Auernheimer was released after having spent thirteen months in prison.[3]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Michael Chertoff
Third Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by:

This page is missing notable case information.