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Richard Berman

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Richard Berman
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Title:   Senior Judge
Station:   New York, NY
Service:
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   10/22/1998-9/11/2011
Senior:   9/11/2011-Present
Preceded by:   Kevin Duffy
Succeeded by:   Nelson S. Roman
Personal History
Born:   1943
Hometown:   New York, NY
Undergraduate:   Cornell,1964
Law School:   New York University Law, 1967
Grad. School:   Fordham University 1996

Richard M. Berman is a federal judge serving on senior status for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He joined the court in 1998 after being nominated by Bill Clinton. Berman assumed senior status on September 11, 2011. Prior to his nomination as a federal judge, Berman served as a Judge for Queens Count Family Court in New York between 1995 and 1998.[1]

Early life and education

Berman graduated from Cornell with his bachelor's degree in 1964 and later graduated from New York Law (NYU Law) with his J.D. degree in 1967. Berman also has a Master's degree in Social Work from Fordham University.[1]

Professional career

Berman began his legal career as a private practice in the State of New York from 1970 to 1974. He spent three years as Executive Assistant to New York U.S. Senator Jacob Javits (1974 to 1977), then served as Executive Director of the New York State Alliance to Save Energy (1977 to 1978). He went on to work eight years as General Counsel and Executive Vice-President for Time Warner Cable (1978 to 1986) before resuming private practice work from 1986 to 1995. Berman later became a family court judge in the New York State Family Court in Queens County, New York, serving there from 1995 to 1998.[1]

Judicial career

Southern District of New York

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Monyihan, Berman was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 21, 1998, to a seat vacated by Judge Kevin Duffy as Duffy assumed senior status. Berman was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 21, 1998, on a majority voice vote, receiving his commission to the court on October 22, 1998.[2] Berman assumed senior status on September 11, 2011.[1]

Family Court judgeship

Prior to his nomination as a federal judge, Berman served as a Judge for Queens Count Family Court in New York between 1995 and 1998.[1]

Notable cases

Alleged Al-Qaida operative case (2010-2012)

     United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. AAFIA SIDDIQUI, No. 10-3916-cr)

Judge Berman was the presiding judge in the trial of alleged Al-Qaida operative Aafia Siddiqui. Siddiqui was charged with shooting at American soldiers and FBI agents after her capture in Afghanistan.[3] The judge ruled on July 29, 2009 that Siddiqui was competent to stand trial.[3] During her trial, which began on the January 19, 2010, Siddiqui's behavior in the courtroom was an issue on multiple occasions, resulting in Siddiqui being thrown out of the courtroom.[4][5] On January 26, 2010, lawyers for Siddiqui petitioned to Judge Berman to have her barred from testifying in the trial over issues of mental defect which may prevent the outcome of the trial to end fairly. On September 23, 2010, Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison.[6] Siddiqui's case was appealed on February 10, 2012 in the Second Circuit court and the lower court's ruling was affirmed on November 5, 2012.[7]

Cameron Douglas case (2010)

     United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. CAMERON DOUGLAS, No. 11-5384-cr)

Judge Berman presided in the case of Cameron Douglas, the son of movie superstar Michael Douglas. Berman denied house arrest to the son of the movie superstar on February 24, 2010, while awaiting sentencing. Douglas pleaded guilty to charges of dealing methamphetamine and cocaine in a New York City hotel.[8] The Judge sentenced Douglas to 52 months in federal prison on April 20, 2010, including an eight month time credit for time already served in jail. Berman also scolded Michael and Kirk Douglas, father and grandfather of Cameron who pleaded to the judge for leniency, by stating, "get beyond and get over that idea...that Cameron Douglas is a victim." Douglas had family members write letters to the judge asking to put Cameron in rehab over jail. Before handing down the sentence, Judge Berman said that prison "could be the last chance to make it" as the judge mentioned that the younger Douglas has battled drug addiction since he was thirteen years old.[9] Douglas' case was appealed to the Second Circuit court and was denied on April 15, 2013.[10]

Craigslist shooting (2009)

     United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (CALVIN GIBSON v. CRAIGSLIST, 1:08-CV-7735)

Judge Berman was asked to decide a case about whether the online website Craigslist was to blame for a June 2008 shooting by Jesus Ortiz, a schizophrenic man who shot his neighbor, Calvin Gibson, a boutique owner. Gibson survived but went on to sue Craigslist for $10 million complaining that the site was "either unable or unwilling to allocate the necessary resources to monitor, police, maintain and properly supervise the goods and services" sold there, including the sale of a gun to Ortiz.[11] Berman dismissed the case, saying that Craigslist has immunity under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. §230, which says that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as a publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."[11]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Kevin Duffy
Southern District of New York
1998–2011
Succeeded by:
Nelson S. Roman


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