Honorable Kenneth M. Karas
United States District Judge, Southern District of New York
Ken Karas was appointed United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on June 30, 2004, and entered duty on September 7, 2004. He graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a B.A. degree in 1986, and received a J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1991, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Tony Patiño Fellow.
Upon graduating from law school, Judge Karas served as a law clerk to the Hon. Reena Raggi, then United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Thereafter, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1992 until 2001, and Chief of the Organized Crime and Terrorism Unit from 2001 until his departure from the office in June 2004.
While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Judge Karas worked on numerous terrorism investigations into associates of several terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and the IRA. He was part of the team of prosecutors who in 2001 convicted four of Usama Bin Laden’s followers for their role in the August 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. He also participated in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui who pled guilty to being part of several conspiracies that involved the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Judge Karas has been the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award and the John Marshall Award from the Justice Department, and the Agency Seal Medallion from the Central Intelligence Agency. And in 2001, he was named the Federal Law Enforcement Association’s Prosecutor of the Year.
Judge Karas is a member of the Federal Bar Council and the Board of Directors for the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues.
Judge Karas on the Tony Patiño Fellowship:
“I remember the day I was selected to be a Tony Patiño Fellow-Elect as a first-year law student. Along with the exhilaration of being accepted into a family-like network came the sense of responsibility of living up to the ideals of the Fellowship: to be a leader and contributor to the community.
This responsibility was not a burden, but an inspiration to become the kind of lawyer who could help others. Francesca’s warmth and genuine interest in each Fellow and Fellow-Elect added motivation and confidence, and permanently instilled in each of us the belief that no matter what professional path we chose, we should and would always find ways to improve our community. For all of this, I am eternally grateful to the Tony Patiño Fellowship.”