William Matthew Byrne, Jr.

Judge, Deceased Person

1930 – 2006

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Who was William Matthew Byrne, Jr.?

Matthew Byrne was a federal judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He was best known for presiding over the trial of Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Byrne received a B.S. from University of Southern California in 1953 and an LL.B. from University of Southern California Law School in 1956. He clerked for Judge Peirson Hall of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, and enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1956 where he spent two years in the JAG Corps. He then went to work as an assistant U.S. attorney for the central district from 1958 to 1960, and was in private practice in Los Angeles for the next seven years. President Lyndon B. Johnson named him United States Attorney for the Central District of California in 1967, and in 1970, was chosen by Richard Nixon as executive director of the President's Commission on Campus Unrest. He was also an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School.

On April 21, 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Byrne to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California created by statute. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 20, and received his commission the same day. Later, Byrne served as Chief Judge of the district from 1994 to 1998. He assumed senior status on February 28, 1998, and died in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California in 2006.

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Sep 3, 1930
Los Angeles
Also known as
  • Judge William Byrne
  • United States of America
  • University of Southern California
Jan 12, 2006
Los Feliz

on July 23, 2013


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