Lloyd Francis MacMahon

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Lloyd F. MacMahon
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
September 10, 1959 – May 31, 1982
Nominated by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Lawrence Walsh
Succeeded by John F. Keenan
Personal details
Born (1912-08-12)August 12, 1912
Elmira, New York
Died April 8, 1989(1989-04-08) (aged 76)
Alma mater Cornell University (B.A., LL.B.)

Lloyd Francis MacMahon (August 12, 1912 – April 8, 1989) was a United States federal judge.

Education and early career[edit]

Born in Elmira, New York, MacMahon received an A.B. from Cornell University in 1936 and an LL.B. from Cornell Law School in 1938. He was a U.S. Naval Reserve Lieutenant during World War II, from 1944 to 1945. He was in private practice in New York City from 1942 to 1953. He was a Chief assistant U.S. attorney of Southern District of New York from 1953 to 1955. He was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1955. He was in private practice in New York City from 1955 to 1959. Judge MacMahon served as a chief assistant United States attorney in Manhattan from 1953 to 1957. In 1955 he successfully prosecuted the Mafia boss Frank Costello for income-tax evasion.

Judicial career[edit]

MacMahon was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on March 10, 1959, to a seat vacated by Lawrence E. Walsh. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 9, 1959, and received his commission on September 10, 1959. He served as chief judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1980-1982. He assumed senior status on May 31, 1982. MacMahon served in that capacity until his death.

Judge MacMahon presided over some of the most famous trials of organized-crime figures, during which he gained a reputation as a fair, diligent judge and as a teacher and role model for his law clerks, who included the former United States Attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and David Denton, chief of the criminal division in the United States Attorney's office in Manhattan.

In 1961 Judge MacMahon presided over the conviction of the Bonanno crime family boss Carmine Galante and many other defendants in a drug-trafficking case. During the trial, the defendants displayed outrageous behavior, throwing objects, shouting obscenities – and eventually, prompting Judge MacMahon to have them handcuffed, shackled and gagged so that the trial could proceed. Many judges still view his action as a precedent that has enabled them to establish control in unruly courtrooms.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani refers to Judge MacMahon as his mentor. In Giuliani's book "Leadership" he sites how on September 11 he found himself asking how Judge MacMahon would handle the crisis. When former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died, Giuliani said that Steinbrenner reminded him of Judge MacMahon, a natural leader and a good man.

Personal life[edit]

Judge MacMahon married his high school sweetheart, with whom he had 4 children and 12 grandchildren.

Judge MacMahon died in 1989 in White Plains, New York from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Sources[edit]


Legal offices
Preceded by
Lawrence Walsh
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
1959–1982
Succeeded by
John F. Keenan
Preceded by
David Norton Edelstein
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
1980–1982
Succeeded by
Constance Baker Motley