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Victoria Roberts

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Victoria Roberts
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Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #14
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   6/29/1998 - Present
Preceded by:   George LaPlata
Personal History
Born:   1951
Hometown:   Detroit, MI
Undergraduate:   University of Michigan, B.A., 1973
Law School:   Northeastern U. School of Law, J.D., 1977

Victoria A. Roberts is an Article III Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She joined the court in 1998 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.


Roberts received her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1973 and her J.D. degree in 1977 from Northeastern University School of Law.[1]

Professional career

  • 1988-1998: Private practice, Detroit, MI
  • 1993-1994: General counsel, Mayor-Elect Dennis Archer Transition Team
  • 1985-1988: Assistant U.S. District Attorney, Eastern District of Michigan
  • 1977-1985: Private practice, Michigan
  • 1977-1978: Legal research & writing teaching fellow, Detroit College of Law, Michigan State
  • 1976-1977: Research clerk, Michigan Court of Appeals[1]

Judicial career

Eastern District of Michigan

Roberts was nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by President Bill Clinton on July 31, 1997, to a seat vacated by George LaPlata. Roberts was confirmed by the Senate on June 26, 1998, and received commission on June 29, 1998.[1]

Awards and associations

  • Roberts P. Hudson Award, The Wolverine Bar Association
  • Former member, Board of Directors, Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Former chair, Board of Directors of the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit
  • 1996-1997: President, Bar of Michigan
  • Former mediator, Wayne County Circuit Court
  • Former member, Attorney Discipline Board's Wayne County Hearing Panel
  • Faculty member, Institute for Continuing Legal Education and Trial Advocacy Workshop[2][3]

Notable cases

Detroit councilwoman gets nonprofit employee fired (2011)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Theodis Collins, v. Mariners Inn, City of Detroit, et al., 09-12897)

Judge Roberts was the presiding judge in a civil lawsuit against former Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers. Conyers, wife of U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, was sued by Theodis Collins for wrongful termination. Collins alleged that his free-speech rights were violated and that Conyers abused her power by persuading Mariner's Inn, a Detroit nonprofit that receives grants from the city, to fire him after he filed a petition to recall her from the Detroit City Council.[4]

In November of 2011, the judge ruled that Conyers must leave prison, where she was serving a three-year sentence for corruption, to attend the trial in Detroit.[5]

Conyers claimed immunity due to her official role, but Judge Roberts rejected that argument and refused to dismiss the case, finding that getting someone fired was outside the scope of her official authority. The City of Detroit eventually agreed to settle the lawsuit against Conyers for an undisclosed amount. Some reports stated that Collins would receive around $75,000.[6][7]

Michigan militia charged with seditious conspiracy (2010)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (United States, v. David Brian Stone, et al., 2:10-cr-20123-VAR-PJK)

Judge Roberts was the presiding judge in a case against nine individuals, members of the self-styled Hutaree militia, who were charged with seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to kill law enforcement officers, and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.[8]

The group had been infiltrated by the FBI, which planted an informant and agent in the militia group in 2008. Audio and video collected by the FBI became the basis for the charges.[9]

On April 27, 2010, the judge allowed attorneys representing the nine suspects to bring FBI agents involved in the case to testify in court despite the prosecutor's wishes. The agents were to testify as to whether any of the defendants should or should not have been granted bond.[10]

During the hearing Judge Roberts scolded agents, especially one who did not have her notes with her when she was asked to present her case. The judge commented, "I share the frustration of the defense...with all of the responses that are coming from this witness that she doesn't know anything." Roberts also scolded prosecutors for not having their witnesses ready to testify during the hearing.[10]

On May 3, 2010, Judge Roberts ordered the release of the nine suspects on bond. As part of their bail conditions, the nine were put in home detention and required to wear electronic tracking devices at all times. In her ruling, Roberts commented, "the United States is correct that it need not wait until people are killed before it arrests conspirators...but, the Defendants are also correct: their right to engage in hate-filled, venomous speech, is a right that deserves First Amendment protection." Judge Roberts said that federal prosecutors did not persuade her the defendants must be jailed until trial, and ordered them released on bond.[11]

In that same month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, and decided the nine suspects should be put back in jail without bail pending further review of an appeal by prosecutors.[12]

On March 26, 2012, Judge Roberts granted acquittal on all charges against five of the Hutaree militia group, as well as the most serious charges against the remaining two. David and Joshua Stone were prosecuted on gun charges. In her decision, Roberts said that, "the evidence [was] not sufficient … to find that defendants came to a concrete agreement to forcibly oppose the authority of the government of the United States as charged in the indictment."[9]

  • CLICK HERE for a copy of Judge Robert's 36 page ruling ordering the release of the nine Hutaree suspects on May 3, 2010.
  • CLICK HERE for a copy of the Sixth Circuit's ruling to grant release to the nine suspects on May 10, 2010.

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
George LaPlata
Eastern District of Michigan
Seat #14
Succeeded by: