Herbert Jay Stern

Title: District Court
Appointed by: Richard M. Nixon
Judicial Tenure: 1973 - 1987

Born: 1936
Birth Place: New York, NY

Born in New York City, Stern attended Hobart College and then the University of Chicago Law School, from which he graduated in 1961. After serving for one year in the United States Army Reserve, Stern served from 1962 to 1965 as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, during which he participated in the investigation of the death of Malcolm X. He then took a position as a trial attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the United States Department of Justice. In 1969, Stern became Chief Assistant United States Attorney for New Jersey. From 1971 to 1973, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

In December 1973, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Stern to a District Judgeship in New Jersey. Stern succeeded Judge Leonard Garth, who had been elevated to an appellate position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. During a 13-year tenure on the bench, Stern presided over a variety of civil and criminal cases. However, his judicial service is best remembered for the unique case of United States v. Tiede, an aircraft hijacking prosecution that was the sole case ever tried in the United States Court for Berlin, over which he was specially designated to preside by selection of the U.S. Department of State. In a published opinion in the case issued in 1978, Stern held that even though the case involved prosecution of German citizens in an unusual forum outside the United States, the defendants were still parties to an American criminal proceeding and entitled to the United States Constitution's guarantee of trial by jury. Stern later authored Judgment in Berlin, a book about his experiences in the Tiede case which was made into a film.

In 1987 Stern resigned from the federal bench and entered private practice as an attorney. He is currently a member of his own law firm located in Roseland, New Jersey. In addition to Judgment in Berlin, Stern is the author of several books for lawyers on the subject of trial advocacy.

In 2006, Stern was appointed by Chris Christie, who was then serving as the United States Attorney for New Jersey, to the post of federal monitor, following Christie's approval of a deferred prosecution agreement with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, which had admitted committing Medicare fraud.

Other Federal Judicial Service

  • U.S. Court for Berlin, 1979

Professional Career

  • U.S. Army Reserve private, 1961-1962
  • Assistant district attorney, New York County, New York, 1962-1965
  • Trial attorney, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, U.S. Department of Justice, 1965-1969
  • Chief assistant U.S. attorney, District of New Jersey, 1969-1971
  • U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, 1971-1974
  • Private practice, Roseland, New Jersey, 1987-


  • Hobart College, B.A., 1958
  • University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1961

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