Nancy Edmunds

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Nancy Edmunds
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Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #6
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   2/10/1992 - 8/1/2012
Senior:   8/1/2012 - Present
Preceded by:   Richard Suhrheinrich
Succeeded by:   Judith Ellen Levy
Personal History
Born:   1947
Hometown:   Detroit, MI
Undergraduate:   Cornell U., B.A., 1969
Law School:   Wayne State U. Law School, J.D., 1976
Grad. School:   U. of Chicago, M.A.T., 1971

Nancy Garlock Edmunds is an federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She joined the court in 1992 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. On August 1, 2012, Judge Nancy Edmunds assumed senior status after serving on the bench for twenty years.

Early life and education

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Edmunds graduated cum laude with her bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1969. In 1971, Edmunds earned her Master of Arts in Education from the University of Chicago before earning her Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School in 1976.[1][2]

Professional career

Edmunds served as a law clerk for former Judge Ralph Freeman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan from 1976 to 1978. She then worked as a private practice attorney in Detroit, Michigan, from 1978 to 1991.[1]

Judicial career

Eastern District of Michigan

Edmunds was nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by President George H.W. Bush on September 11, 1991, to a seat vacated by Richard Suhrheinrich as Suhrheinrich was appointed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Edmunds was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 6, 1992, on a Senate vote and received commission on February 10, 1992.[3] On August 1, 2012, Edmunds assumed senior status after serving on the bench for twenty years.[4] Edmunds was succeeded in this position by Judith Ellen Levy.

Notable cases

Elderly drug mule sentenced to prison term on his 90th birthday (2014)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (U.S. v. Sharp, 2:11-cr-20699-NGE-RSW)

On May 7, 2014, Senior Judge Edmunds sentenced Leo Sharp, a 90-year-old convicted drug courier, to three years in prison after he tried to bring almost 250 pounds of cocaine into Detroit, Michigan, for a Mexican drug ring. Sentenced on his birthday, Sharp threatened to commit suicide if he was sent to prison, calling it a "death sentence."[5]

In the underlying case, Sharp was charged along with eighteen other individuals involved in a drug ring that was taken down by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In October 2013, Sharp reached a plea deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to one drug conspiracy charge. He originally faced almost eighteen years in prison, but prosecutors trimmed that number to five years in prison, with a $500,000 fine. Due to Sharp's age and military record (he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in World War II), Judge Edmunds lessened the sentence further still, sentencing him to three years in prison.[5]

Before delivering her sentence, Judge Edmunds said, "To ignore the extent of his involvement is to say to every drug organization that if you want to inoculate your organization from punishment, get an elderly person to do deliveries for you. It’s most unfortunate Mr. Sharp became involved in this." A relative volunteered to care for Sharp until it was time for him to report for his sentence.[5]

Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial (2012-2013)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
In 2012 and 2013, Judge Edmunds presided over the corruption trial of former Kwame Kilpatrick, the Mayor of Detroit, who was eventually convicted of twenty-four criminal counts. Among those to which Kilpatrick was found guilty were racketeering, extortion, and bribery.[6]

Following his conviction, attorneys for Kilpatrick requested that bond be granted so he could visit his family before heading to federal prison. In return, Kilpatrick's mother offered her house as collateral to the government. The request for bond was denied by Judge Edmunds, since precedent dictated that he could not be trusted. She said, "Despite (Kilpatrick's) repeated argument that he has fully complied with the bond conditions set by this court … the evidence is to the contrary."[7][8]

In October 2013, Kilpatrick received a twenty-eight-year prison sentence, or twenty-three years with good behavior. During the sentencing, Judge Edmunds admonished the former mayor, listing his wrongdoing and discussing the effect his behavior had on the City of Detroit.[9] Edmunds also said:

We're demanding transparency and accountability in our government. If there has been corruption in the past, there will be corruption no more.[10][11]

Underwear bomber case (2010)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (U.S. v. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab)

Judge Edmunds presided in the case of underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was eventually given four life sentences for his attempt to bring a bomb onto a plane headed for Detroit.

On January 19, 2010, Judge Edmunds ordered that attorneys for both sides in the case could not disclose pre-trial evidence to the public. Also, the Eastern District of Michigan U.S. Attorney's Office was ordered not to disclose witness statements in full except the names of the witnesses. Abdulmutallab was arrested for his role in the attempted hijacking plot of an international flight that made its descent towards Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport on December 25, 2009.[12][13]

On October 12, 2011, the second day of Abdulmutallab's trial, the defense changed its plea just as the first witness was about to be called. After being sworn in by Judge Edmunds, Abdulmutallab waived his right to remain silent and admitted being guilty of all eight of the felony charges brought against him.[14]

On February 16, 2012, Judge Edmunds sentenced Abdulmutallab to four life sentences. During the sentencing, she said, "I believe the defendant poses a significant ongoing threat to the safety of American citizens everywhere."[15]

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Federal Judicial Center, "Biography of Nancy Garlock Edmunds"
  2. Eastern District of Michigan, "Judge Nancy G. Edmunds Biography," accessed May 14, 2014
  3. THOMAS, "Presidential Nominations 102nd: Nancy G. Edmunds (USDC, EDMI)," accessed May 14, 2014
  4. Eastern District of Michigan, "2012 Annual Report on the State of the Court," September 14, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Detroit News, "90-year-old drug courier sentenced to three years calls it 'death sentence'," May 7, 2014 (dead link)
  6. NBC News, "Ex-Detroit mayor Kilpatrick convicted of range of corruption charges," March 11, 2013
  7. USA Today, "Federal judge denies ex-Detroit mayor Kilpatrick bond," March 27, 2013
  8., "Judge denies Kwame Kilpatrick bond motion that cited knee injury, offered mother's house," March 27, 2013
  9. New York Times, "Kwame M. Kilpatrick, Former Detroit Mayor, Sentenced to 28 Years in Corruption Case," October 10, 2013
  10. Detroit Free Press, "'Corruption no more': Judge sends message with 28-year sentence for Kilpatrick," October 10, 2013
  11. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  12. Detroit Free Press, "Judge slams door on evidence leaks in bomb case," January 20, 2010
  13. Detroit Free Press, "Statewide news: Court date set for bombing plot suspect," April 14, 2010
  14. Bloomberg Businessweek, "Underwear Bomber Abdulmutallab Pleads Guilty, Ending Trial," October 12, 2011
  15. USA Today, "Detroit underwear bomber gets life sentence," February 17, 2012
Political offices
Preceded by:
Richard Suhrheinrich
Eastern District of Michigan
Seat #6
Succeeded by:
Judith Ellen Levy