T.S. Ellis

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T.S. Ellis
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #2
Station:   Alexandria, VA
Appointed by:   Ronald Reagan
Active:   08/06/1987 - 03/31/2007
Senior:   04/01/2007 - Present
Preceded by:   Robert Merhige
Succeeded by:   Mark Davis
Personal History
Born:   1940
Hometown:   Bogota, Columbia
Undergraduate:   Princeton, B.S.E., 1961
Law School:   Harvard, J.D., 1969
Grad. School:   Oxford U., Diploma in Law, 1970
Military service:   U.S. Navy 1961 - 1966

Thomas Selby Ellis, III is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Ellis is serving on senior status. He joined the court in 1987 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan.

Early life and education

Born in Bogota, Columbia, Ellis graduated from Princeton University with his bachelor's degree in 1961. After graduating from Princeton, Ellis served six years in the US Navy on active duty during the Vietnam Conflict before returning back to law school in 1966 and graduating from Harvard with his juris doctor degree in 1969. Ellis also earned a Diploma of Law at Oxford University in Britain.[1]

Professional career

Ellis spent his entire pre-judicial legal career as a private practice attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also served on a part-time basis as a lecturer in law at the College of William and Mary from 1981 to 1983.[1]

Judicial career

Eastern District of Virginia

On the recommendation of Virginia U.S. Senator John Warner, Ellis was nominated by Ronald Reagan on July 1, 1987 to a seat vacated by Robert Merhige. Ellis was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 5, 1987 on a Senate vote and received commission on August 6, 1987. Ellis assumed senior status on April 1, 2007.[1]

Notable cases

Case v. Blackwater security contractors (2010)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (In Re: XE Services Alien Tort Litigation, 1:09-cv-00615-TSE-IDD)

Judge Ellis threw out a lawsuit against former security contractor Blackwater on October 21, 2009. The judge threw out the lawsuit filed by 60 victims against the security contractor over charges of lawlessness including indiscriminate beatings and killings. Despite the dismissal, the 60 people who filed suit are entitled to re-file their claims only if they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that employees of Blackwater engaged in lawless conduct.[2] On January 6, 2010, the case was dismissed with prejudice after Blackwater settled with the plaintiffs.[3]

Former LA Congressman guilty of corruption (2009)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Unites States, v. William J. Jefferson, 1:07-cr-00209-001)

Judge Ellis presided in the trial of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson. Jefferson was found guilty of extorting $100,000 and leaving it in a freezer. On September 21, 2009, Ellis dismissed a motion for a new trial on grounds that an FBI agent committed gross misconduct during the investigation.[4] On November 18, 2009, Judge Ellis ruled that the former Congressman could remain free while his appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was pending. As part of the conditions of the appeal bond, Jefferson had an electronic monitoring bracelet on him and was required seek permission to travel outside of the Eastern District of Louisiana.[5] Judge Ellis sentenced Jefferson to 60 months in prison. Jefferson appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States where his case was denied.[6]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Robert Merhige
Eastern District of Virginia
Seat #2
Succeeded by:
Mark Davis

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