Denny Chin (陳卓光; born 1954) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York City. He was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before joining the federal appeals bench. President Clinton nominated Chin to the district court on March 24, 1994, and Chin was confirmed August 9 of that same year. On October 6, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Chin to the Second Circuit. He was confirmed on April 22, 2010 by the United States Senate, filling the vacancy created by Judge Robert D. Sack who assumed senior status.[1][2][3] Chin was the first Asian American appointed as a United States District Judge outside of the Ninth Circuit.

Denny Chin
Denny Chin.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Assumed office
April 23, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byRobert D. Sack
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
August 10, 1994 – April 26, 2010
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded bySeat established by 104 Stat. 5089
Succeeded byJ. Paul Oetken
Personal details
Check Kong Chin

1954 (age 65–66)
Kowloon, British Hong Kong
Spouse(s)Kathy Hirata Chin
EducationPrinceton University (B.A.)
Fordham University School of Law (J.D.)

Early life, education, and careerEdit

Chin was born in 1954 in Kowloon, Hong Kong and came to the U.S. in 1956. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1971.[4] He received his Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude, from Princeton University in 1975. In 1978, Chin graduated from Fordham University School of Law with a Juris Doctor, where he was the Managing Editor of the Fordham Law Review. Chin currently teaches first year Legal Writing at Fordham as an adjunct professor.[5][6]

Following a 1978 to 1980 clerkship with Judge Henry Werker in the Southern District, Chin worked for the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell from 1980 to 1982.[5] He was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District from 1982 to 1986.[6] In 1986, Chin left the U.S. Attorney's Office and started a law firm, Campbell, Patrick & Chin, with two colleagues from the U.S. Attorney's Office. In 1990, he joined the law firm Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where he specialized in labor and employment law and represented employees and unions.[5][6]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

District court serviceEdit

President Bill Clinton nominated Chin to the Southern District bench on March 24, 1994, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089. The United States Senate confirmed Chin on August 9, 1994, and Chin received his commission the next day.[6]

Notable casesEdit

In 2001, Chin rejected a motion by the Parents Television Council (PTC) to dismiss a lawsuit that the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) filed against it.[7] At the time, the PTC had been campaigning for advertisers to withdraw sponsorship of WWE's flagship program SmackDown because it believed that the program caused the violent deaths of four children. Chin's ruling came on the grounds that WWF had a sound basis in suing the PTC over defamation, interference with business, and copyright infringement.[8] PTC and WWE settled out of court and, as part of the settlement agreement, the PTC paid WWF $3.5 million USD and PTC president Bozell issued a public apology.[9]

In Fox v. Franken, Chin denied Fox News Channel (who alleged a trademark violation) an injunction against Al Franken's Book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.[10]

Chin also presided over the criminal prosecution of Larry Stewart, the handwriting expert who was accused of committing perjury during the trial of Martha Stewart (no relation).[11] Larry Stewart was acquitted by a jury.[12]

Chin presided over the criminal trial of Pak Dong-seon in connection with Pak's alleged involvement in the scandal surrounding the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. Pak was convicted by a jury and sentenced by Chin to 5 years in prison.[13]

Chin dismissed the suit Sam Sloan vs. Paul Truong and Susan Polgar in which Sloan accused Susan Polgar and Paul Truong of posting thousands of obscene "Fake Sam Sloan" remarks in his name over a two-year period in an effort to win election to the board of the United States Chess Federation (Polgar and Truong were elected to the board and Sloan was defeated).

Most recently, Chin presided over the criminal trial of Oscar Wyatt, the Texas oil executive accused of making kick-backs to the Saddam Hussein regime during the UN Oil-For-Food Program. In the middle of his trial, Wyatt changed his plea to guilty as part of a plea bargain with the government.[14]

He was assigned the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement case on January 8, 2009, after the death of the previous supervising judge. On March 23, 2011, Chin rejected Google's plan to digitize every book published, saying the plan violated copyright laws. In November 2013, Chin dismissed Authors Guild et al. v. Google.[15] On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal.[16]

In 2012, Chin presided over the criminal sentencing of Anil Kumar, a senior executive of McKinsey and Company in the Galleon Group insider trading investigation. Chin sentenced Kumar to 2 years of probation.[17]

U.S. v. MadoffEdit

In 2009 Chin presided over U.S. v. Madoff. Madoff admitted to committing securities fraud via a Ponzi scheme starting in the early 1980s, which involved potentially as much as $65 billion. On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges relating to the scheme. Following his pleading, Chin revoked Madoff's $10 million bail and ordered him to report immediately to jail at the request of the federal prosecutors, citing that Madoff had both the resources and the incentive to flee before his formal sentencing.[18] On June 29, 2009, Chin accepted the prosecutor's recommendation to sentence Madoff to a prison term of 150 years, thus effectively handing down a life sentence.[19] Chin explained that imposing the maximum sentence on Madoff was appropriate because he had concluded that Madoff's crimes were "extraordinary evil" and wanted the sentence to have a stronger deterrent effect.[20]

Court of Appeals serviceEdit

On October 6, 2009, President Obama nominated Chin to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary reported Chin's nomination to the full Senate on December 10, 2009[21] and he was confirmed by a 98–0 vote on April 22, 2010.[22] He received his judicial commission on April 23, 2010.[6] He was sworn in as a Circuit Judge on April 26, 2010.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "President Obama Nominates Judge Denny Chin for United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson for United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit". October 6, 2009. Archived from the original on October 9, 2009.
  2. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (2009-09-09). "Judge Who Sentenced Madoff to Be Nominated to Higher Court". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
  3. ^ O'Brien, Michael (6 October 2009). "Obama names Madoff case judge to fill Sotomayor spot".
  4. ^ "U.S. District Judge Denny Chin to Address Spring 2009 Law Graduates" (Press release). University of Miami. May 21, 2009. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "Adjunct Faculty — Profiles: Denny Chin".
  6. ^ a b c d e "Chin, Denny - Federal Judicial Center".
  7. ^ Dempsey, John (2001-05-28). "WWF wins round 1 against parents org". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  8. ^ "Judge rejects Parents Television Council motion to Dismiss Lawsuit" (Press release). World Wrestling Entertainment. 2001-05-24. Archived from the original on 2009-06-09.
  9. ^ "World Wrestling Entertainment Settles Lawsuit With Parents Television Council; Founder Brent Bozell Issues Apology" (Press release). World Wrestling Entertainment. 2002-07-08. Archived from the original on 2009-06-09.
  10. ^ Fox News Drops Franken Lawsuit, CBS News, Aug. 25, 2003
  11. ^ Judge Denies Application Involving Martha Stewart Trial Ink Expert, Westport Now, Aug. 11, 2004
  12. ^ Government Witness in Martha Stewart Trial Not Guilty of Lying, Westport Now, Oct. 5, 2004
  13. ^ Korean businessman guilty in oil-for-food case, Associated Press, Jul. 13, 2006; 5-year sentence in oil-for-food scheme Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine, Associated Press, Feb. 13, 2007
  14. ^ Texas oilman Wyatt sentenced to year in prison, The Washington Post, Nov. 27, 2007
  15. ^ Google Wins: Court Issues a Ringing Endorsement of Google Books, Publishers Weekly, 14 November 2013
  16. ^ Challenge to Google Books Is Declined by Supreme Court New York Times. 19 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Anil Kumar gets 2 years' probation in Galleon case - The Boston Globe".
  18. ^ Madoff Goes to Jail After Guilty Pleas to All Charges, The New York Times, Mar. 12, 2009
  19. ^ Madoff Is Sentenced to 150 Years for Ponzi Scheme, The New York Times, June 29, 2009
  20. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (June 28, 2011). "Judge Recounts His Thoughts in Madoff Sentencing". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2010-04-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 2nd Session".
  23. ^ "Hon. Denny Chin".

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 104 Stat. 5089
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
J. Paul Oetken
Preceded by
Robert D. Sack
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit