Beryl A. Howell
This article needs to be updated.October 2019)(
Beryl A. Howell
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia|
|Assumed office |
March 16, 2016
|Preceded by||Richard W. Roberts|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia|
|Assumed office |
December 27, 2010
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||Paul L. Friedman|
Beryl Alaine Howell
December 3, 1956
Fort Benning, Georgia
|Education||Bryn Mawr College (B.A.)|
Columbia Law School (J.D.)
Beryl Alaine Howell (born December 3, 1956) is the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She is the federal judge supervising the grand jury for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
Early life and education
Howell is the daughter of an Army officer. She attended public school in six states and Germany before graduating from Bryn Mawr College with her Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors in Philosophy in 1978 and from Columbia University School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1983.
Clerking and private practice
Following law school graduation, Howell clerked for Judge Dickinson Richards Debevoise in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey from 1983 to 1984. From 1985 to 1987, she was in private practice as an associate at the New York City law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel.
From 1987 to 1993, Howell was an Assistant United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, where she became Deputy Chief of the Narcotics Section. From 1993 to 2003, Howell served on the staff of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary as a senior advisor to chairman Patrick Leahy, including as the committee's general counsel starting in 1997.
While working for Senator Leahy, Howell helped craft the E-FOIA amendments, which expanded electronic access to government records. She also helped Sen. Leahy fend off proposals to impose new limits on the FOIA. In 2001, she was honored by the Coalition to Support and Expand the Freedom of Information Act, and in 2004, her FOIA work was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Howell was involved in crafting numerous pieces of legislation for the investigation and prosecution of computer crime and copyright infringement, including the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), the No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999.
Federal judicial service
She was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 14, 2010, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2010. She received her judicial commission on December 27, 2010. She became Chief Judge on March 17, 2016. A 2015 analysis by Ravel Law found Howell to be the second most-cited district court judge appointed in the past five years.
In 2011, Harold Hodge Jr. stood outside the U.S. Supreme Court wearing a sign that protested the American government's treatment of black and Hispanic people. He did so in violation of a 1949 federal law that makes such protests a crime. Hodge sued the Marshal of the United States Supreme Court and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia under the First Amendment. In a June 2013 decision, Howell struck down the law as violating the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. The judge wrote, "The absolute prohibition on expressive activity in the statute is unreasonable, substantially overbroad and irreconcilable with the First Amendment." The defendants appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which reversed Howell's decision and reinstated the law as it applies to the Supreme Court Plaza and steps. Hodge v. Talkin, 799 F. 3d 1145 (2015).
In 2018, Howell became the supervising judge for the grand jury working for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. On October 25, 2019, she ruled in favor of the House Judiciary Committee, which had sought grand jury materials from the Mueller investigation, finding their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump to be a judicial proceeding. Justice Department attorneys had previously asserted that congressional investigators had "not yet exhausted [their] available discovery tools,” arguments Howell said "smack of farce," as the administration had openly stated it would stonewall the investigation.
From 2004 to 2009, Howell was executive vice president, executive managing director, and general counsel at Stroz Friedberg, a global digital risk management and investigations firm. Howell's work at Stroz Friedberg included lobbying on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, and, briefly, Universal Music Group.
- Beryl Howell, "Lawyers on the Hook: Counsel’s Professional Responsibility to Provide Quality Assurance in Electronic Discovery", 2 J. Sec. L. Reg. & Compl. 216 (June 2009).
- Beryl Howell, "Real World Problems of Virtual Crime, in Cybercrime: Digital Cops in a Networked Environment" (Jack M. Balkin et al., New York University Press 2007).
- Beryl Howell & Dana J. Lesemann, "FISA’s Fruits in Criminal Cases: An Opportunity for Improved Accountability", 12 UCLA J. Intl. L. & For. Affairs 145 (Spring 2007).
- Beryl A. Howell & Richard J. Wolf, "Rough Waters Ahead for E-discovery and the New Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," ACC Docket (January/February 2007).
- Beryl Howell, "What You Need to Know About Digital Forensics," 28 Pa. Law. 32 (2006).
- Beryl Howell, "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: Has the Solution Become the Problem?", in Protecting What Matters: Technology, Security, and Liberty Since 9/11 (Clayton Northouse, Brookings Institution Press 2006).
- Beryl Howell, "Perspectives on the USA PATRIOT Act" (Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, January 2005).
- Beryl Howell, "Seven Weeks: The Making of the USA Patriot Act", 72 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1145 (2004).
- Beryl Howell & Eric Friedberg, 21st Century Forensics: Searching for the "Smoking Gun" in Computer Hard Drives," 37 Prosecutor 18 (2003).
- Neuborne, Burt. "Trump may fire Mueller, but he can't fire Mueller's grand jury". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Hsu, Spencer (September 26, 2016). "This judge just released 200 secret government surveillance requests". Washington Post.
- Office of the Press Secretary (July 14, 2010). "President Obama Names Five to United States District Court". The White House. whitehouse.gov. Archived from the original on July 16, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
- "Howell, Beryl Alaine – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- Anderson, Nate (Mar 28, 2011). "RIAA lobbyist becomes federal judge, rules on file-sharing cases". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "Practicing at the Intersection of Law, Policy and Technology". Science and Technology newsletter. Bryn Mawr College. October 2003. Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Nomination Of Beryl Howell To Be A United States District Court Judge For The District Of Columbia". July 28, 2010. Archived from the original on December 16, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "Stroz Friedberg LLC – Professionals – Howell, Beryl A." Stroz Friedberg, LLC. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
- "Beryl Howell". Center for Democracy and Technology. Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- Howell, Beryl. "Perspectives on the USA PATRIOT Act" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "Staff". Center for Democracy and Technology. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "Commission Members" (PDF). Center for Strategic and International Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- Kassam, Kerry (April 23, 2015). "Judging The Judges: Who Are the Most-Cited New Jurists On The Federal Bench?". Above the Law.
- "Supreme Court Issues New Rule Barring Protests on Plaza". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
- "Protester challenges Supreme Court speech-free zone". Watchdog.org. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
- Savage, Charlie; Cochrane, Emily (October 25, 2019). "Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory" – via NYTimes.com.
- "Federal Judge Calls Trump Admin's Legal Arguments a 'Farce' in Order Filled with Jabs at DOJ Attorneys". lawandcrime.com.
- "Revolving Door: Beryl A Howell Employment Summary – OpenSecrets". www.opensecrets.org.
- U.S. Copyright Surveillance Machine About To Be Switched On, Promises of Transparency Already Broken, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 15 Nov 2012.
- RIAA lobbying data (public record) as published by OpenSecrets.org for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
- Stroz Frieberg lobbying data (public record) as published by OpenSecrets.org for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
- Stroz Frieberg lobbying data (public record) as published by OpenSecrets.org for 2005
- "The Honorable Beryl Howell : Adjunct Professor of Law". Faculty. American University Washington College of Law. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- Beryl A. Howell at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Beryl A. Howell at Ballotpedia
Paul L. Friedman
| Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Richard W. Roberts
| Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia|