Cormac J. Carney

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Cormac Joseph Carney
Cormac J. Carney District Judge.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Assumed office
April 9, 2003
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Carlos R. Moreno
Judge of the Superior Court of Orange County
In office
Appointed by Gray Davis
Personal details
Born Cormac Joseph Carney[1]
(1959-05-06) May 6, 1959 (age 59)[2]
Detroit, Michigan
Education University of California, Los Angeles (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Football career
Career information
Position(s) Wide receiver
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg)
College UCLA
High school Long Beach (CA) St. Anthony
Career history
As player
1984 Memphis Showboats (USFL)
Career stats
Receptions 37
Receiving yards 701
Receiving TDs 2
Kick return yards 74

Cormac Joseph Carney (born May 6, 1959) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Early life and education[edit]

Carney was born in Detroit, Michigan to Irish immigrant parents, both of whom were medical doctors.[3][4] His father is one of County Mayo's greatest ever Gaelic Football players, Pádraig Carney, famously known as 'The Flying Doctor', and the winner of 2 All Ireland Football Championships with Mayo, in 1950 and 1951. Dr.Carney emigrated to the United States in order to further his medical career. Cormac was raised in Long Beach California, where he attended St. Anthony High School.[3] Carney received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1983 and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. He attended the U.S. Air Force Academy for one year before transferring to UCLA.[4]

Football career[edit]

Carney was a wide receiver on the UCLA Bruins football team. During his three years with the Bruins, he was the team leader in receiving each year and had a 3.51 grade point average in psychology.

For his outstanding performances on the football field, he was named to the GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America football team and to the All-Pacific-10 Conference teams in 1981 and 1982. He was the Bruins' all-time leading receiver with over 100 receptions for nearly 2,000 yards when UCLA was 26-7-2. The Bruins were rated as high as #5 in the national polls. Carney's highlight at UCLA was when the team beat Michigan in the 1983 Rose Bowl.

He played for the USFL team Memphis Showboats in the 1984 season. Carney made 37 receptions for 701 yards and 2 touchdowns.[2]

In 2005, Carney was inducted into the College Sports Information Director's of America Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

Legal and judicial career[edit]

Carney was in private practice for two firms in Los Angeles for 15 years. From 2001 to 2003, he was a judge on the California Superior Court in Orange County, appointed to the post by then Governor Gray Davis.

On January 7, 2003, Carney was nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California vacated by Carlos R. Moreno. Carney was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 7, 2003, and received his commission on April 9, 2003. At the district court, Carney has handled complex civil and criminal matters, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, securities, business finance, civil rights, drug conspiracies and white collar crime.

On July 16, 2014, Carney declared the California death penalty to be unconstitutional, saying it is so arbitrary and plagued with delays that it violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In his 29-page order he vacated the death sentence of Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in 1995 for rape and murder. The order was appealed by then California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a decision that she made despite the fact she was not required to pursue the matter any further as Attorney General.[5] The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on August 31, 2015, and in a unanimous decision overturned the decision on November 12, 2015.<Los Angeles Times, 11/13/15).

Judge Carney was involved in a 2012 decision to dismiss the bulk of the claims in Fazaga v. FBI.[6]


He and wife MaryBeth have three children, Thomas, John, and Claire.[7]


  1. ^ "Presidential Nomination: Cormac Joseph Carney". US National Archives. 
  2. ^ a b "Cormac Carney". Just Sports Stats. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Zimmerman, Martin (December 16, 2009). "Judge in Broadcom case retains his elusive streak". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Abdollahi, Panteha (June 2010). "Judicial Profile: Hon. Cormac J. Carney, U.S. District Judge, Central District of California". The Federal Lawyer. Federal Bar Association. pp. 48–50. Archived from the original on October 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Why does Kamala Harris defend the death penalty?". 
  6. ^ "Response to domestic surveillance suit ruling". 14 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Cormac Carney To Be Inducted into CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame". June 24, 2005. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Carlos R. Moreno
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California