Mark L. Wolf

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Mark Lawrence Wolf
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Assumed office
January 1, 2013
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
In office
2006–2012
Preceded byWilliam G. Young
Succeeded byPatti B. Saris
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
In office
April 4, 1985 – January 1, 2013
Appointed byRonald Reagan
Preceded bySeat established by 98 Stat. 333
Succeeded byIndira Talwani
Personal details
Born
Mark Lawrence Wolf

(1946-11-23) November 23, 1946 (age 72)
Boston, Massachusetts
EducationYale University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)

Mark Lawrence Wolf (born November 23, 1946) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Wolf was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on March 8, 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 3, 1985, and received his commission on the following day. In 2006, Wolf was appointed Chief Judge, and he served in this position for six years, until 2012.[1]

On January 1, 2013, he took senior status. His departure from full-time status created an open seat for the district. Wolf had been vocal about getting newer, younger judges to represent the court. Wolf wrote in his letter to the president. “While I look forward to continuing to render substantial service as a Senior Judge, I am confident that my court and my community will be enriched by also having the undoubtedly younger additional judge who will be appointed to fill the vacancy created as a result of my becoming a Senior Judge."[2] As a Senior Judge, Wolf has continued to preside in a wide range of criminal and civil cases.

In 2016, Judge Wolf, Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa and colleagues formed Integrity Initiatives International (III), a Boston-based NGO and international anti-corruption advocacy group[3]. III aims to combat grand corruption by strengthening the enforcement of criminal laws against kleptocrats. One part of III’s mission is to catalyze a campaign for the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC)—a concept which Wolf originated in 2014 articles for the Brookings Institution, published in The Washington Post.[4]

In July 2018, Daedalus published Judge Wolf article, “The World Needs an International Anti-Corruption Court.”[5] He has also frequently spoken on the role of the judge in a democracy, human rights issues, and combatting corruption in various countries around the world: Russia, China, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Egypt, Cyprus, and Panama.[6]

Early life and early career[edit]

Wolf was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1968 and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1971.

Prior to his appointment as a Judge, he served in the Department of Justice as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General of the United States (1974) and the Attorney General of the United States (1975-1977), and as Deputy United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and Chief of the Public Corruption unit in that office (1981-1985).[7] 

In 1981, Wolf became Deputy United States Attorney and Chief of the Public Corruption Unit. In three years, the unit achieved more than 40 consecutive convictions, many of officials close to Boston Mayor Kevin White.[8]   Wolf was the lead prosecutor in a case which resulted in the conviction of White's chief fundraiser on a money laundering charge but was subsequently overturned on appeal.

Judicial Career and Noteworthy Rulings[9][edit]

1995: Wolf ruled that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council could exclude gays from the South Boston St.Patrick’s Day Parade under the First Amendment.[10] The ruling overturned the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s 1994 ruling that gay and lesbian groups must be included in the parade. The Supreme Court subsequently agreed and unanimously reversed the state court decisions. Gay and lesbian groups today are denied participation in the St.Patrick’s Day Parade and instead march in their own parade, held one hour after the main parade[11]. South Boston Allied War Veterans Council v. Boston, 875 F. Supp. 891 (D. Mass. 1995).

1990s:  Wolf required the FBI to divulge that defendants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “the Rifleman” Flemmi were Top Echelon FBI informants. Following 9-months of hearings, Wolf issued a 661-page decision finding that to protect Bulger and Flemmi, the FBI had: not investigated them for serious crimes including murder; told Bulger and Flemmi when other agencies were investigating them; told Bulger and Flemmi about people informing on them so they could be killed; and told Bulger when to flee. The finding that the FBI was complicit in murders was vehemently condemned by the prosecutors and FBI.[12][13] 

Although Flemmi had not been granted immunity from prosecution by the FBI, Wolf decided that the information he had provided the FBI could not be used against him. This ruling was reversed by the Court of Appeals, but the defendants all eventually pled guilty.

Several years later, a colleague of Bulger's who was charged with killing five people led investigators to a grave in Boston with the bodies of three of Bulger's victims. Bulger was finally apprehended in 2011.  In an editorial, the New York Times then wrote that: "Judges are supposed to dispense justice but rarely root out crimes.  As a result of Judge Wolf's courage and persistence" there were "high profile hearings in Congress on the F.B.I.'s Use of Murderers as Informants," an F.B.I. agent was sentenced to initially 10 and later 40 more years in prison, and "the government paid more than $100 million in claims to families of people murdered by informants shielded by the F.B.I." Bulger is now serving a life sentence for murdering many people, including Halloran.[14] New York Times, September 16, 1999; United States v. Salemme, 91 F. Supp. 2d 141 (D. Mass. 1999), as corrected, Dec. 23, 1999.

2003: Wolf became the first judge in more than 50 years to sentence a defendant to death in Massachusetts, in the trial of serial killer Gary Lee Sampson.[15] Sampson was convicted of killing 69-year old Philip McCloskey of Taunton and 19-year old Jonathan Rizzo of Kingston after they picked him up hitchhiking. Wolf found that there is increasing evidence that innocent people are being sentenced to death and executed, but that there is not now a proper basis for a court to declare the death penalty unconstitutional.  Quoting the poet W.H. Auden, he told Sampson, “You personify the wisdom of the poets’ insight that ‘Evil is unspectacular and always human … And shares our bed and eats at our own table. He also stated that “we live in a nation of decent people who have had as their ideal a reverence for life,’’ Wolf told Sampson, adding, “By committing horrific crimes that virtually compelled decent people in this community to condemn you to die, you have diminished, if not degraded, us all.’’[16] United States v. Gary Lee Sampson, 275 F. Supp. 2d 49 (D. Mass. 2003). This case was vacated in 2011.

2007: Wolf held that even if religiously motivated, parents do not have a constitutional right to have elementary school students exempted from teaching concerning homosexuality and same-sex marriage.[17] He held that there was no claim of direct coercion or extreme indoctrination that might constitute a form of coercion. In his opinion he asserted that “public schools are entitled to teach anything that… helps students become engaged in democracy… reduce[s] future discrimination… teach[es] young children to understand and respect… make[s] homosexual students feel more comfortable.”[18] Parker v. Hurley, 474 F. Supp.2d 261 (D. Mass. 2007); Boston Globe (February 2, 2007, March 4, 2007).

2011: After a seven-week trial, Wolf sentenced Salvatore Di Masi, the former speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, to eight years in prison for extortion and honest services fraud.[19] Wolf said at the time that he hoped that DiMasi’s sentence would put a stop to Beacon Hill’s “culture of arrogance.” (Boston Globe, Sept. 10, 2011).

2012: Wolf ordered that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections must provide Michelle Kosilek (a pre-operative transsexual who is imprisoned for the murder of Kosilek's wife) with sex reassignment surgery, which the DOC's medical personnel have determined is medically necessary, as a treatment for Kosilek's gender dysphoria.[20][21] In his ruling, Wolf wrote, "[The] fact that sex reassignment surgery is for some people medically necessary has recently become more widely recognized." This case was reversed.

2018: Five undocumented immigrants and their spouses filed a lawsuit against the US government alleging that they were unlawfully arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).[22] They were detained during their marriage interview, an interview held by ICE in order to verify that their marriages to US citizens were legitimate.

Wolf rejected the government’s argument that the case should be dismissed because the federal district court has no jurisdiction.[23] Wolf held that the federal court had the authority to consider the claims by the immigrants. He also held that ICE failed to follow proper procedures to provide the undocumented immigrants with due process: ICE did not give the undocumented immigrant written notice approximately 30 days in advance of a custody review by ICE and also did not review this custody within 90 days of his or her detention.

Outside Activities[edit]

Teaching

Judge Wolf is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights (2018).  He has been an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a seminar on Combatting Corruption Internationally. He was also a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School (2014).  Judge Wolf has taught courses on the role of the judge in American democracy at the Harvard Law School (1989-1990), Boston College Law School (1992), New England Law School (2011), and University of California-Irvine Law Schools. Judge Mark Wolf is also a Non-Resident Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Community Service

Wolf is the co-founder and Chairman of the John William Ward Public Service Fellowship since 1986. In recognition of his service to the Ward Fellowship, he was awarded an honorary degree from the Boston Latin School in 1990. He administered the Ward Fellowship for more than 30 years, having awarded over 400 Boston Latin School with fellowships.[24]

He also served as a founder and past Chairman of the Judge David S. Nelson Fellowship, named in honor of a late judge, which introduces inner-city high school students to the law and the courts. It is a program that allows students from the Boston Public Schools the opportunity to work with district judges during a summer in the Federal Courthouse.

Additionally, Wolf is Chairman Emeritus and active board member of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, which allows students from health professional and law schools to engage in community service projects in health centers and community agencies in cities across the United States, and in the hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon which Dr. Schweitzer established in 1913.

Since 2014, Judge Wolf has led poetry sessions at the Trotter Innovation Public School with Harvard College students and alumni, teaching poetry to 4th grader students. Every year, the students are invited on a field trip to the courthouse, where they engage in further poetry writing but also learn about the American legal system.

At the unveiling of his portrait in 2010, many of the judge’s colleagues who spoke publicly – one of them was the famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma – noted Judge Wolf’s affinity for poetry. Indeed, the judge has said before in interviews that, in making critical decisions that affect people’s lives, he often finds comfort in poetry. “I think that poetry, to a certain extent, redresses the damage done in that process. It has a certain healing quality for me,’’ Wolf said.[25]

Integrity Initiatives International

In 2016, United States District Judge Mark L. Wolf, Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, and colleagues formed Integrity Initiatives International ("III", pron. “Triple I”) to combat grand corruption, which is also known as "kleptocracy" -- the abuse of public office for private gain by a nation's leaders.[26] The mission of III is to strengthen the enforcement of criminal laws in order to punish and deter leaders who are corrupt and also regularly violate human rights, and to create opportunities for the democratic process to replace them with leaders dedicated to serving their citizens rather than enriching themselves.

Among other things, III is: advocating the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court ("IACC"); advocating for other means to strengthen the enforcement of criminal laws against kleptocrats; promoting understanding of the close connection between grand corruption and violations of human rights; and forging a network of young people dedicated to combatting corruption in their own countries and around the world.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "US District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf steps aside; will assume senior judge status". Boston.com. 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  2. ^ "US District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf steps aside; will assume senior judge status". Boston.com. 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  3. ^ "About". Integrity Initiatives International. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  4. ^ Vaïsse, Justin. "L'énigme Bush". Brookings. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  5. ^ Wolf, Mark L. (July 2018). "The World Needs an International Anti-Corruption Court". Daedalus. 147 (3): 144–156. doi:10.1162/daed_a_00507. ISSN 0011-5266.
  6. ^ "Events". Integrity Initiatives International. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  7. ^ "Mark L Wolf - Policy Forum". Policy Forum. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  8. ^ "Weld's obsession: Getting Kevin White - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  9. ^ "Notable cases in the career of US District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  10. ^ Press, The Associated. "Judge Rules Against Gay Groups in Boston Parade". Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  11. ^ "Gay Veterans Group To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  12. ^ "Opinion | The Judge Who Cracked the Bulger Case". Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  13. ^ "News – New England Law | Boston". faculty.nesl.edu. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  14. ^ "Opinion | The Judge Who Cracked the Bulger Case". Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  15. ^ "PDF: Judge Wolf's order on Gary Lee Sampson". Boston.com. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  16. ^ "US District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf steps aside; will assume senior judge status". Boston.com. 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  17. ^ "A call for separation of school and state - The Boston Globe". archive.boston.com. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  18. ^ "Judge Wolf on the Role of the Judge in a Democracy". Harvard Law School I American Constitution Society. 2014-04-18. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  19. ^ "DiMasi loses battle to overturn his conviction". Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  20. ^ "Kevin G. White Sentenced to over Eight Years in Federal Prison for $7.4 Million Commodity Pool Investment Scam | U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION". www.cftc.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-13.[verification needed]
  21. ^ Wolf, Mark. "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. FRANCIS P. SALEMME, et al".[verification needed]
  22. ^ "Calderon v. Nielsen". ACLU Massachusetts. 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  23. ^ CNN, Sonia Moghe,. "Judge: ICE shouldn't 'remove' people applying for green cards just because they have deportation orders". CNN. Retrieved 2018-11-13.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  24. ^ "About the Chairman". The John William Ward Public Service Fellowship. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  25. ^ "Budding poets hold court - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  26. ^ "About". Integrity Initiatives International. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  27. ^ "About". Integrity Initiatives International. Retrieved 2018-11-13.

Sources[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 98 Stat. 333
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
1985–2013
Succeeded by
Indira Talwani
Preceded by
William G. Young
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
2006–2012
Succeeded by
Patti B. Saris