Gershwin A. Drain

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Gershwin Allen Drain
Judge Gershwin A. Drain.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Assumed office
August 8, 2012
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Bernard A. Friedman
Personal details
Born Gershwin Allen Drain
1949 (age 67–68)
Detroit, Michigan
Education Western Michigan University B.S.
University of Michigan Law School J.D.
University of Nevada-Reno M.J.S.

Gershwin Allen Drain (born 1949) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Drain received his Bachelor of Science in 1970 from Western Michigan University, where he played running back for the Western Michigan Broncos. He received his Juris Doctor in 1972 from the University of Michigan Law School, and his Master of Judicial Studies degree from the University of Nevada-Reno.

Drain served as a law clerk for the Third Circuit Court of Michigan (1972–73), and as counsel for the Detroit Department of Transportation from 1973 to 1974. He then served as an attorney in the Federal Defender Office for the Eastern District of Michigan for the next 12 years, representing defendants charged with criminal felonies in federal court and trying approximately 144 cases.

He served as a state judge from 1986 to 2012. On August 2, 2012, after he was nominated by President Obama, the United States Senate voted to confirm Drain as a federal district court judge.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Detroit, Gershwin A. Drain attended Detroit St. Gregory High School, a Catholic high school, where he was president of his senior class.[1][2] He received his Bachelor of Science in 1970 from Western Michigan University, which he attended on a football scholarship and for which he played football as a running back for the Western Michigan Broncos from 1968–69.[2][3][4][5] He received his Juris Doctor in 1972 from the University of Michigan Law School.[3] In 1991, he received a Masters of Judicial Studies degree from the University of Nevada-Reno.[3][6]

Early career[edit]

Drain served as a law clerk for the Third Circuit Court of Michigan from 1972 to 1973.[3] He worked as counsel for the Detroit Department of Transportation from 1973 to 1974.[3] He then worked as an attorney in the Federal Defender Office for the Eastern District of Michigan from 1974 to 1986. He represented defendants charged with criminal felonies in federal court, and tried approximately 144 cases.[3][7][6]

State Judge[edit]

Drain served as a judge of the 36th District Court for Detroit from 1986 to 1987.[3] He served as a judge on the Recorder's Court for Detroit, a state criminal court, exclusively handling felony prosecution criminal cases from 1987 to 1997,[3][7] at which time said court was merged with the Third Circuit Court. He served as a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Michigan from 1997 to 2012, working in both the civil and criminal divisions of the court.[3][8] By 2011, he had presided over approximately 600 cases that had gone to verdict or judgment. Of those, approximately 55 per cent were jury trials, and 70 per cent were criminal proceedings.[7][6]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On November 17, 2011, President Obama nominated Drain for District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.[3][8] Obama remarked: "Judge Gershwin A. Drain will bring an unwavering commitment to fairness and judicial integrity to the federal bench. His impressive legal career is a testament to the kind of thoughtful and diligent judge he will be on the U.S. District Court."[8] He was rated Unanimously Qualified by the American Bar Association.[9][6]

Regarding his views on the death penalty and gun control, Drain said:

The Republicans called me ‘controversial’ because of an anti-death penalty article I had written. I told them that I have to follow the law and apply it. I also wrote an article called ‘I Have a Dream of Non-violence’ in which I said critical things about the NRA. That became an issue, too. Those who hadn’t said or written anything tended to go through smoothly.[2]

On August 2, 2012, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Drain in a 55–41 (largely party-line) vote.[10][11] He received his commission on August 8, 2012.[6] He replaced Judge Bernard A. Friedman, who took senior status in 2009.[12]

Notable cases[edit]

In November 2014 he presided over the immigration fraud trial of Rasmea Odeh, and told the jury that he thought its guilty verdict was "a fair and reasonable one based on the evidence that came in."[13] On February 13, 2015, he denied Odeh's appeal, ruling that her argument lacked legal merit.[14][15] The judge held that evidence showed that Odeh illegally obtained U.S. citizenship by failing to disclose her conviction for fatal terrorist bombings, that the jurors "clearly did not believe [her] explanation", and that "the evidence was more than sufficient to support the jury’s verdict."[14][15] Judge Drain sentenced Odeh to 18 months in federal prison on March 12, 2015, stripping her of her citizenship of the United States, and ordering her deportation at the end of her sentence.[16]

On February 25, 2016, Odeh won her appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.[17] Circuit Judge John M. Rogers, joined partially by Judge Karen Nelson Moore, vacated and remanded, while Judge Alice M. Batchelder partially dissented, wanting to vacate while ordering a new trial.[18] On December 6, 2016, Judge Drain denied prosecutors’ request to reinstate Odeh’s conviction, instead granting Odeh a new trial, scheduled to begin January 10, 2017.[19]

Awards and associations[edit]

Drain is a member of the Michigan Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, a Prison Ministry for the Mound Correctional Facility, and is a lifetime member of the NAACP since 1989.[7] He was named "Michiganian of the Year" by the Detroit News in 1997.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Drain and his wife, Meredith, have two daughters, both of whom are lawyers.[2][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Judge Gershwin Drain on his Catholic Education – The Detroit Catholic School Heritage Project". October 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Steve Thorpe (September 5, 2012). "Drain ready to assume new role on U.S. District Court; Judge is assembling a staff and adjusting to the federal system". Detroit Legal News. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Judge Gershwin A. Drain". United States District Court – Eastern Michigan District. 
  4. ^ "2012 WMU Football Record Book", WMUBroncos.com
  5. ^ "Football History: All-Time Jersey Roster: #33". WMUBroncos.com. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Drain, Gershwin Allen - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov. 
  7. ^ a b c d "United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees; Public", November 10, 2011
  8. ^ a b c "President Obama Nominates Judge Gershwin A. Drain to Serve on the US District Court". The White House. November 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Judicial Nominations". judiciary.senate.gov. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress – 2nd Session". US Senate. August 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Senate Confirms Wayne County Judge For US Court". CBS. August 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ David Jesse (September 29, 2012). "'Dream come true' for new U.S. judge". Detroit Free Press. 
  13. ^ Jeff Karoub (November 10, 2014). "Arab activist’s bond revoked for immigration conviction". The Detroit News. 
  14. ^ a b "No New Trial for Arab Activist for Lying About Killing Role". New York Times. Associated Press. February 16, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "Judge Slams Rasmieh Odeh's Request for New Trial". Algemeiner. February 16, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Suburban Palestinian immigrant sentenced to 18 months in prison in terror-related case". Chicago Sun Times. March 12, 2015. 
  17. ^ Wisniewski, Mary (25 February 2016). "Palestinian activist's U.S. immigration fraud conviction vacated". Reuters. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  18. ^ United States v. Odeh, 815 F.3d 968 (6th Cir. 2016).
  19. ^ Whitcomb, Dan (6 December 2016). "U.S. judge grants new immigration fraud trial for Palestinian activist". Reuters. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  20. ^ Judge Drain bio, Detroit Metro Bar Association
  21. ^ Kelly Rimmer (Winter 2013) "Judge Gershwin A. Drain Investiture Ceremony", FBA Newsletter

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Bernard A. Friedman
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
2012–present
Incumbent