Kimba Wood

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Kimba Wood
Chief Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
August 1, 2006 – June 1, 2009
Preceded by Michael Mukasey
Succeeded by Loretta Preska
Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
April 20, 1988 – June 1, 2009
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Constance Motley
Succeeded by Vincent Briccetti
Personal details
Born (1944-01-21) January 21, 1944 (age 74)
Port Townsend, Washington, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Connecticut College
London School of Economics
Harvard University

Kimba Maureen Wood (born January 21, 1944)[1][2] is a federal judge on senior status for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Early life and education

Kimba Wood was born in Port Townsend, Washington, and was named for the small town of Kimba, South Australia, which her mother saw in an atlas.[3] Her father was a career officer and speechwriter in the United States Army.[3] Wood frequently lived in Europe during her youth, where her father was stationed in several places, and she received early education at the Sorbonne.[3]

Wood received a B.A. from Connecticut College in 1965.[3] She received a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics in 1966. While in London, she spent five days training as a Playboy bunny.[3]

She then earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1969, where there were fewer than twenty women in her class.[3]

Private practice

Wood was in private practice in Washington, D.C. from 1969 to 1970, and was then an attorney with the Office of Economic Opportunity from 1970 to 1971.

She relocated to New York City and returned to private practice from 1971 to 1988, working as an anti-trust law expert at the firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae.[3] She became one of the first women to break into the male world of anti trust law.[1]

Judicial career

On December 18, 1987, based upon a recommendation from Senator Al D'Amato,[3] Wood was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Constance Baker Motley. Wood was confirmed by a unanimous US Senate on April 19, 1988, and she received her commission on April 20, 1988. She entered on duty on July 28, 1988.[4] She served as chief judge from 2006 to 2009 and assumed senior status on June 1, 2009.

One of Wood's most famous decisions was sentencing Michael Milken, known as "The Junk Bond King", in 1990 to ten years in prison; the sentence was reduced to two years' imprisonment and three years' probation in 1991.[5]

In the Nannygate matter of 1993, Wood was Bill Clinton's second unsuccessful choice for United States Attorney General.[6] Like Clinton's previous nominee, Zoë Baird, Wood had hired an undocumented immigrant as a nanny, but unlike Baird, she had paid the required taxes on the employee. Wood employed the undocumented immigrant at a time when it was legal to do so, before the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 made the hiring of undocumented foreign workers unlawful.[7] The threat of a repetition of the same controversy nevertheless led to the hasty withdrawal of Wood from consideration.[8][9] Janet Reno was later nominated and confirmed for the post.[8] White House officials said they were angry at Judge Wood because she had not told Clinton and other officials about the nanny, even when she had been directly asked. In her statement, however, Judge Wood said she had not misled the White House.[9]

In 1998, Wood presided over the case of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem v. Christie's, Inc., in which the ownership of the Archimedes Palimpsest was disputed. Wood also later presided over Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc., 88 F. Supp 2d 116 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), more widely known as the Pepsi Points Case.

Wood has also served on the Amherst College Board of Trustees, ending her term in 2001.[10]

On July 8, 2010, Wood was the presiding judge over the US case against ten alleged Russian 'illegals' involved in the Illegals program.[11] She accepted the defendants' guilty pleas and sentenced all ten to time served. The ten were then deported and exchanged for four prisoners previously held in Russia.[11][12]

On October 26 of the same year, Wood issued an injunction in Arista Records LLC v. Lime Group LLC, forcing LimeWire to disable "the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality" of its software.[13] A trial investigating the damages necessary to compensate the affected record labels was scheduled to begin in January 2011.[14] [needs update]

On November 19, 2010, Judge Wood received attention in connection with a letter to the court from Bennet M. Epstein, an attorney, who asked for time off from a trial to attend his then-unborn grandson's bris, if the baby proved to be a boy. In response, Judge Wood wrote that Epstein would be permitted to attend the bris, but that "if a daughter is born, there will be a public celebration in court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women."[15]

Personal life and marriages

Her first marriage was to Robert Lovejoy, a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell. She used the name Kimba Wood Lovejoy from 1970 to 1982,[3] and then the couple divorced.

Wood married Time magazine political columnist Michael Kramer in 1982.[3] She retained her own name from that point forward. They had a son, Ben, in 1986,[3] and were divorced some time later.

Wood is currently married to Wall Street financier and former Harvard Law School classmate Frank E. Richardson III, whom she wed in 1999.[16][17] She had earlier been named as the "other woman" in a divorce battle in 1995 between Richardson and his socialite wife Nancy.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "A Judge of Character" Connecticut College Magazine May/June 1994
  2. Kimba Maureen. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved Aug. 28, 2013.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Saltonstall, David (August 6, 1995). "Quite An 'Other Woman': Brilliant Judge'll Survive Steamy Divorce Scandal". New York Daily News. Retrieved Aug 28, 2013. 
  4. Federal Bar Council Second Circuit Redbook, 2003-2004, Vincent C. Allexander and Anne D. Alexander (eds.).
  5. Milken's Sentence Reduced by Judge; 7 Months Are Left New York Times; August 06, 1992
  6. "Kimba Wood Emerges as No. 1 Attorney General Candidate" Los Angeles Times.
  7. Pear, Robert (February 6, 1993). "Judge's Hiring of Illegal Alien in 80's Did Not Violate Immigration Law". The New York Times. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Morrow, Lance. "In Boston, the Consistency of Little Minds". 'Time magazine. July 19, 2000.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Berke, Richard L., "Judge Withdraws From Clinton List for Justice Post" The New York Times February 6, 1993.
  10. College row: Alumna joins trustees. (Winter 2001).Amherst Magazine (Amherst College). Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Markon, Jerry; Pincus, Walter; and Branigin, William."10 Russian spy suspects plead guilty at N.Y. hearing",The Washington Post, July 8, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  12. Weiser, Benjamin (16 July 2010). "Spy Swap Forced Prosecutors Into Balancing Act". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  13. Halliday, Josh (October 27, 2010). "LimeWire shut down by federal court". The Guardian. London.  See injunction order,
  14. Sour ruling for LimeWire as court says to turn off P2P functionality
  15. Goldberg, Jeffrey (November 19, 2010). "Judge Kimba Wood, Standing Up for Women" (online article). The Atlantic. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  16. Too Sexy For Their Robes: The Nominees for Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary! (July 07, 2004). Underneath Their Robes - News, gossip, and colorful commentary about the federal judiciary.
  17. Superhotties Fallout: UTR Corrections and Clarifications (July 07, 2004). Underneath Their Robes - News, gossip, and colorful commentary about the federal judiciary.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Constance Motley
Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
Vincent Briccetti
Preceded by
Michael Mukasey
Chief Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
Loretta Preska