Loretta A. Preska

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Loretta A. Preska
Preska.jpg
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Incumbent
Assumed office
2009
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Incumbent
Assumed office
August 12, 1992
Nominated by George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Robert Joseph Ward
Personal details
Born (1949-01-07) January 7, 1949 (age 65)
Albany, New York
Spouse(s) Thomas J. Kavaler
Alma mater
Occupation Attorney

Loretta A. Preska (born January 7, 1949) is Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and a former nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Background[edit]

Judge Preska attended The College of Saint Rose (B.A. 1970), Fordham University School of Law (J.D. 1973),[1] and New York University School of Law (LL.M. 1978).

Preska was an attorney in private practice in New York City from 1973 until 1992, initially with Cahill Gordon & Reindel and then with Hertzog, Calamari & Gleason (now Winston & Strawn).

Judge Preska was nominated by President George H. W. Bush on March 31, 1992, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Robert Joseph Ward. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 11, 1992, and received her commission on August 12.

Consideration for higher courts[edit]

In 2007, it was reported that Judge Preska was on President Bush's short list of potential Supreme Court nominees.[2]

On September 9, 2008, Judge Preska was nominated by President George W. Bush to be a United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.[3] Since Preska was nominated after July 1, 2008, the unofficial start date of the Thurmond Rule during a presidential election year, no hearings were scheduled on her nomination, and the nomination was returned to Bush at the end of his term.

Notable cases[edit]

  • Somali pirate Abduwali Muse - arraigned before Judge Preska in 2009,[6] who later in 2011 sentenced him to 33 years in prison.[7]
  • Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani - On June 9, 2009, Judge Preska heard the plea of the first detainee brought from Guantanamo Bay Military Prison to stand trial in a U.S. civilian court.[8] According to the New York Times report of the case the military had charged that from 2001 until 2004 he worked as a document forger for Al Qaeda, preparing passports, travel and identification documents for operatives to use in carrying out terrorist acts. Other military charges that had been made in the Guantanamo detainee case were that he received weapons and explosives training at Osama's training camp in Afghanistan in late 1998 and years later worked as a bodyguard and cook for Osama bin Laden.[9] President Barack Obama ordered the civilian trial as part of his election promise to close the prison known for torture and indefinite detention. The case was moved to Federal court after the military charges were dropped. Standing in the New York City courtroom of Judge Loretta Preska he pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy charges. His trial and sentencing were conducted by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the same court; he was convicted of one count of conspiracy in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in East Africa and acquitted of the other 284 counts, and sentenced to life in prison.
  • Susan Lindauer - The first non-Muslim to be charged and held under the Patriot Act, Ms. Lindauer was accused of spying for Iraqis. She wrote of the ordeal in her book Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.[10] According to the New York Times report of September 16, 2008, Ms. Lindauer was released after Judge Preska ruled her mentally unfit to stand trial, saying that she was “highly intelligent” and “generally capable of functioning at a high level in many ways,” but was also suffering from a mental disease or defect. As a result, the judge said, Ms. Lindauer was “unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her defense.” [11]
  • Hector Xavier Monsegur - March 9, 2012 Judge Preska presided over the case of the hactivist who participated in activities with some members of the online group Anonymous. It was made public on March 9 that Monsegur, known online as Sabu, was cooperating with the FBI in exchange for dismissal of other charges against him, including attempted drug-dealing for five pounds of marijuana and illegal gun possession, receiving stolen property, hacking an online casino and $15,000 of fraudulent credit card charges, according to a plea deal, reported by Bloomberg News. The agreement, which was made public, stated that Federal charges against the 28 year old would be dropped. According to FBI documents his role as Sabu was key to charging hactivist Jeremy Hammond.[12][13]
  • Jeremy Hammond - the activist accused of gaining unauthorized access to Stratfor's computer systems, was denied bail by Preska; who warned that he could face life imprisonment.[14][15] Hammond unsuccessfully sought to have Preska recuse herself, claiming information about her husband was released in the leak and that her husband works with Stratfor clients.[16] However, her husband stated the only information released was his publicly available work e-mail address.[17]

Personal[edit]

Preska is married to Thomas J. Kavaler, with whom she attended law school. Kavaler was the editor in chief of the Fordham Law Review, and is currently a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]