James R. Spencer
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James R. Spencer
James Randolph Spencer
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

March 25, 2014 - June 2, 2017
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Claude M. Hilton
Rebecca Beach Smith
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

October 14, 1986 - March 25, 2014
Ronald Reagan
John Ashton MacKenzie
M. Hannah Lauck
Personal details
James Randolph Spencer

1949 (age 68–69)
Florence, South Carolina
EducationClark College (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Howard University (M.Div.)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1975-1978
UnitJAG Corps

James Randolph Spencer (born 1949) is a former federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Early life and education

He was born in Florence, South Carolina in 1949 and attended Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1971. He earned Juris Doctor in 1974 at Harvard Law School.[1] After Harvard, he was commissioned as a captain in the United States Army JAG Corps. He served in that capacity from 1975 until 1978. After being honorably discharged from the active duty, he took a job as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, serving there from 1978 until 1983. He also was recommissioned in the United States Army Reserves, serving as a Military Judge from 1981 until 1986. From 1983 until 1986, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. In 1985, Spencer earned a Master of Divinity degree from Howard University.

Federal judicial service

James R. Spencer was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on September 9, 1986, to the a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 8, 1986, and received his commission on October 14, 1986. He was the first African American to be nominated to this position in this district.[] From 2004 to 2011, Judge Spencer was Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Virginia. He was succeeded as Chief Judge by Rebecca Beach Smith. He assumed senior status on March 25, 2014. He retired from active service on June 2, 2017.

Notable case

He presided over the highly visible trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell who were convicted of federal corruption charges.[2][3]

Personal life

His wife, Margaret Spencer is a Judge on the Richmond, Virginia Circuit Court.[4]

External links

Federal Judicial Center Biography


  1. ^ "Spencer, James Randolph". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ Helderman, Rosalind (January 21, 2014). "Former Va. Gov. McDonnell and wife charged in gifts case". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Zapotsky, Matt (5 September 2014). "Robert McDonnell Guilty of 11 Corruption Counts". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ HOLMBERG: Historic trial of former Governor McDonnell will have historic judge (CBS6 WTVR.com)
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Ashton MacKenzie

Succeeded by
M. Hannah Lauck
Preceded by
Claude M. Hilton

Succeeded by
Rebecca Beach Smith

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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