Gregg Costa

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Gregg Costa
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Incumbent
Assumed office
June 2, 2014
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Fortunato Benavides
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
In office
April 26, 2012 – June 2, 2014
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by John Rainey
Succeeded by Vacant
Personal details
Born 1972 (age 41–42)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Alma mater Dartmouth College
University of Texas, Austin

Gregg Jeffrey Costa (born 1972) is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and former United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Early life and education[edit]

Costa was born in Baltimore but grew up in Richardson, TX where he attended Richardson High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1994 from Dartmouth College. While at Dartmouth, Costa interned for the Democratic National Committee.[1]

Costa then taught elementary school in Sunflower, Mississippi as part of the Teach for America program from 1994 until 1996. He then earned a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1999.[2]

From 1999 until 2000, Costa served as a law clerk to Judge A. Raymond Randolph on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He then served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court from 2001 until 2002.[2]

Professional career[edit]

From 2002 until 2005, Costa worked as an associate at the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Houston.[2]

From 2005-2012, Costa served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Texas.[2]

Allen Stanford prosecution[edit]

Likely Costa's highest-profile prosecution in his six years as a federal prosecutor has been the case against alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, who was indicted in 2009.

In January 2011, Stanford's legal team requested a delay of the start of his scheduled January 24, 2011 trial, noting that they had only taken over his defense in October 2010. Costa told the judge presiding over the trial that while he did not object to some delay in the trial, "the requested continuance of two years is excessive."[3]

In February 2011, Stanford sued Costa and his fellow prosecutor Paul Pelletier, along with several employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, complaining of "abusive law enforcement" and seeking $7.2 billion in damages.[4] In March 2011, Stanford's attorneys argued that the defendant's right to a speedy trial had been violated. Costa, however, told the Associated Press that delays largely were the result of Stanford's own requests for continuances.[5]

In March 2012, Stanford was found guilty on 13 of 14 counts including fraud, obstructing investigators and conspiracy to commit money laundering.[6]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Service on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas[edit]

In July 2011, Texas's two Republican senators, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, sent a letter to President Barack Obama,[7] recommending that he nominate Costa to the vacant seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas that had been created when Judge John David Rainey took senior status in June 2010. The seat would be based in the Galveston Division.[7][8] The anticipated nomination earned bipartisan support, as Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who serves as the spokesman for Texas Democrats on federal judicial matters, urged the president to nominate Costa as well.[7]

On September 8, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Costa to the seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.[2] He received a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 2, 2011, and his nomination was reported to the floor on December 1, 2011.

Costa's nomination was approved by the U.S. Senate on April 26, 2012, by a 97-2 vote and he received his commission the same day.[9]

Service on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit[edit]

On December 19, 2013 President Barack Obama nominated Judge Costa to a vacant seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit due to Fortunato Benavides assuming senior status.[10]

He received a hearing before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on February 25, 2014.[11] On March 27, 2014, Costa's nomination was reported out of committee by voice vote.[12] On May 13, 2014, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture on Costa's nomination. On Thursday May 15, 2014 the Senate voted 58-36 on the motion to invoke cloture.[13] On Tuesday, May 20, 2014 the Senate voted 97-0 for final confirmation and elevation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.[14] He was commissioned as a judge for the Fifth Circuit on June 2, 2014.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brennan, Lisa (February 22, 2012). "Houston Prosecutor Gregg Costa Has Kept Stanford Case on Track". Main Justice. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (September 8, 2011). "President Obama Nominates Gregg Jeffrey Costa to Serve on the US District Court". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Prosecutors agree to postpone Allen Stanford trial". Financial Post. Bloomberg News. January 4, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Allen Stanford, Indicted Financier, Sues Authorities". The New York Times. Bloomberg News. February 17, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford seeks release awaiting trial". The Times-Picayune. Associated Press. March 2, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Stanford Guilty in Ponzi Scheme". The Wall Street Journal. March 6, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Martin, Gary (July 19, 2011). "Obama urged to fill two federal bench vacancies in Texas". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (September 8, 2011). "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Biographical Directory of Federal Judges". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the United States Courts of Appeals". The White House. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Nominations". United States Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Executive Business Meeting". United States Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 156. United States Senate. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 158. United States Senate. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
John Rainey
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
2012–2014
Vacant
Preceded by
Fortunato Benavides
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
2014–present
Incumbent