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James Bredar


James Bredar is chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, appointed to the court by President Barack Obama.

Raised in Colorado, the Omaha, Nebraska, native served as a national park ranger before graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1982 and be-coming a lawyer. On Dec. 17, 2010, he was commissioned as a U.S. district judge by Obama and became chief judge on Oct. 6, 2017, succeeding J. Frederick Motz.

In 2017, Bredar approved the consent decree the city of Baltimore reached with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding mandated reforms for the city’s police department. The agreement was reached amid cases of police brutality and evidence planting that culminated in the custody-related death of Freddie Gray and the conviction of officers from the disgraced and since-disbanded Gun Trace Task Force.

What are your hopes for the state or your community this year?

I hope that Maryland’s state and federal courts are able to resume normal operations after being badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that de-clining virus metrics and/or the vaccination initiative will enable us to resume in-person proceedings, including jury trials, thereby eliminating our substantial back-logs. Scores of federal detainees have been waiting for jury trial dates for over a year. Civil litigants, too, have been deprived of prompt trial dates.

What do you do to unplug in your free time?

Sailing and cycling on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

This profile is part of The Daily Record's Power 100 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. See the full list at or in our digital edition.