Born in Brooklyn, New York, Block received an A.B. from Indiana University in 1956 and an LL.B. from Cornell Law School in 1959. He was a clerk to the New York Supreme Court, appellate division, from 1959 to 1961. He was in private practice of law in Patchogue from 1961 to 1962, then in Port Jefferson, Centereach, and Smithtown, moving back and forth between these locations from 1962 to 1994. During this time, he became an adjunct professor at Touro Law School, beginning in 1992.
On July 22, 1994, Block was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York vacated by Eugene H. Nickerson. Block was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 28, 1994, and received his commission the next day. He assumed senior status on September 1, 2005.
On April 15, 2004, Judge Block sentenced Gambino crime family boss Peter Gotti to 9 years and 4 months in prison for money laundering and racketeering charges. Gotti had a subsequent conviction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for plotting to murder informant and former Gambino underboss Sammy Gravano.
On July 17, 2012, Judge Block released his first book named Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge. The book was written for a behind the bench look at some of the most controversial cases in the past 20 years. The book covers Judge Block's approach to sentencing such as the death penalty, racketeering, gun laws, drug laws, discrimination laws, race riots, terrorism, and foreign affairs.
- U.S. Public Records Index, Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- "Block, Frederic". Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- Newman, Andy (April 16, 2004). "Gambino Crime Boss or Not, Peter Gotti Gets 9-Year Term". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "Mafia boss Peter Gotti sentenced to 25 years". Mail & Guardian. Agence France-Presse. July 28, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- Pierson, Brendan (July 26, 2012). "'Disrobed' offers look at life on the bench". Daily Report Online.
- Block, Frederic (July 12, 2012). "When Every Day Is Judgment Day". Bloomberg.
- Tallmer, Jerry (July 19, 2012). "Judge’s book gives an insider’s view of life on the bench". The Villager.
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