Michael Adrian Ponsor (born 1946 in Chicago) is a senior judge on the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He serves in the court's western region, in the city of Springfield.
Ponsor graduated from Harvard College in 1969, and received a Rhodes Scholarship, studying at Pembroke College, Oxford, from which he obtained an M.A. in 1971. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1975.
He was appointed to the position in 1994 by then-President Bill Clinton. He assumed senior status on August 15, 2011.
Ponsor's debut novel, The Hanging Judge, was released in December 2013 by Open Road Integrated Media. Based on his own experience presiding over a 2000 Massachusetts capital case, the first in the state in more than fifty years, this legal thriller offers an unprecedented inside view of a federal death penalty trial.
Judge Ponsor was named as the 2015 recipient of the Golden Pen Award from the Legal Writing Institute.
The Hanging Judge
Plot: When a drive-by shooting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a hockey mom volunteering at an inner-city clinic, the police arrest a rival gang member. With no death penalty in Massachusetts, the US attorney shifts the double homicide out of state jurisdiction into federal court so he can seek a death sentence.
The Honorable David S. Norcross, a federal judge with only two years on the bench, now presides over the first death penalty case in the state in decades. He must referee the clash of an ambitious female prosecutor and a brilliant veteran defense attorney in a high-stress environment of community outrage, media pressure, vengeful gang members, and a romantic entanglement that threatens to capsize his trial—not to mention the most dangerous force of all: the unexpected.
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