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Ricardo Urbina

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Ricardo Urbina
Ricardo M. Urbina.jpg
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Title:   Former Judge
Station:   D.C.
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   6/16/1994 - 12/31/2011
Senior:   12/31/2011 - 5/31/2012
Preceded by:   Aubrey Robinson
Succeeded by:   Rudolph Contreras
Past post:   Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Past term:   1981-1994
Personal History
Born:   1946
Hometown:   New York, NY
Undergraduate:   Georgetown, 1967
Law School:   Georgetown Law, 1970

Ricardo M. Urbina was an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He joined the court in 1994 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. He took senior status on January 31, 2011, and retired from the court on May 31, 2012.[1][2][3]

Early life and education

Born in New York, New York, Urbina graduated from Georgetown University with his bachelor's degree in 1967 and later graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with his J.D. degree in 1970.[3]


Urbina was a Staff Attorney for the Washington, D.C. Public Defender Service assisting low income clients from 1970 to 1972 before entering private practice in Washington, D.C. until 1974. Urbina taught as a Professor & Director of the Criminal Justice Program for the Howard University School of Law from 1974 to 1981 before serving as an Associate Judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 1981 to 1994.[3]

Federal judicial career

Urbina was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by President Bill Clinton on March 22, 1994, to a seat vacated by Judge Aubrey Robinson. Urbina was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 15, 1994, and received commission on June 16, 1994.[4] He assumed senior status in January 31, 2011.[5] Urbina retired from the court officially on May 31, 2012, two months after he was intending to.[6]

Notable cases

Blackwater case

On December 31, 2009, Judge Urbina tossed out the indictment of five Blackwater security guards who were involved in shootings in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007. The judge found that there was misuse of their statements by the prosecutors, which lead to the grounds to dismiss the indictments. The judge cited that the federal prosecutors mishandled the case as documented in his 90 page opinion on the case.[7]

Guantanamo interrogation case

On August 24, 2009, Judge Urbina ordered the Justice Department to hand over documents related to the interrogation of a prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay. The judge ordered Justice Department prosecutors as part of a case management plan to justify the handling of detainees at Guantanamo. This happened after Abdul Raheem Ghulam Rabbani who was held at Guantanamo claimed he was abused while imprisoned there.[8]


Judge Urbina, in a August 14, 2009 edition of Slate Magazine was criticized harshly for the handling of his ruling in 2008 that ordered 17 people detained at Guantanamo Bay released in the United States.[9]

Writers for the magazine claimed that Judge Urbina is part of a growing national trend in which federal judges are acting with unchecked power with the future of Guantanamo Bay hanging in the balance as the Supreme Court is hearing Guantanamo related cases in 2009.[9]

The judge's ruling was later reversed by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals; however, Slate Magazine feels that rulings like Judge Urbina's is moving the federal judiciary away from its constitutional duty of checks and balances.[9]

See also

External links


Washington, D.C.Washington, D.C. judicial newsJudicial selection in Washington, D.C.United States District Court for the District of ColumbiaUnited States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia CircuitDistrict of Columbia Court of AppealsSuperior Court of the District of ColumbiaDCTemplate.jpg