Mitchell Harry Cohen

Mitchell Harry Cohen

Title: District Court
Appointed by: John F. Kennedy
Judicial Tenure: 1962 - 1991
Served as Chief Judge: 1973-1974
Born: September 11, 1904
Birth Place: Philadelphia, PA
Died: January 7, 1991
Place of Death: Philadelphia, PA

Judge Cohen was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of a harness maker. He received an LL.B. from Dickinson School of Law in 1928. He was in private practice in Camden, New Jersey from 1930 to 1958 and active in republican politics. He was an Annual solicitor, Camden City Welfare Board, Camden, New Jersey in 1936. He was a City prosecutor in Camden from 1936 to 1942. In this role, Cohen gained notoriety for handling the case of Howard Unruh, who shot 13 people to death in East Camden in 1949, and was Judged insane. Unruh was committed to a mental institution in Trenton where he died in 2009.

Judge Cohen next served as a judge on the Camden County Court, New Jersey from 1958 to 1961. He was a judge on the New Jersey Superior Court from 1961 to 1962.

Cohen was nominated to the federal bench by President John F. Kennedy on July 6, 1962, to a seat vacated by Richard Hartshorne. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 1, 1962, and received his commission on August 2, 1962. He served as chief judge from 1973-1974. He assumed senior status on September 11, 1974, and served in that capacity, until his death, in Philadelphia, in 1991. The Courthouse in Camden is named in his Honor.

Professional Career

  • Private practice, Camden, New Jersey, 1930-1958
  • Annual solicitor, Camden City [New Jersey] Welfare Board, 1936
  • City prosecutor, Camden, New Jersey, 1936-1942
  • Member, Camden County [New Jersey] Board of Chosen Freeholders, 1940
  • Judge, Camden City [New Jersey] Municipal Court, 1942-1947
  • U.S. Army, World War II
  • Prosecutor, Camden County, New Jersey, 1948-1958
  • Judge, Camden County [New Jersey] Court, 1958-1961
  • Judge, Superior Court of New Jersey, 1961-1962


  • Dickinson School of Law (now Penn State Dickinson Law), LL.B., 1928

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