Judge Bios

Goodbread, Ronald A.

Appointed: March 22, 1995

Ronald A. Goodbread was sworn in on March 22, 1995, as a D.C. Superior Court Hearing Commissioner. After reappointment to his second term in 1999, he became one of the Superior Court’s first Magistrate Judges on January 8, 2002, with the enactment of the D.C. Family Court Act of that year.

Ronald A. Goodbread was sworn in on March 22, 1995, as a D.C. Superior Court Hearing Commissioner. After reappointment to his second term in 1999, he became one of the Superior Court’s first Magistrate Judges on January 8, 2002, with the enactment of the D.C. Family Court Act of that year.

Magistrate Judge Goodbread received his B.A. degree from Millsaps College, his M.A. degree from the University of North Carolina, and did his Ph.D. work in history at the University of Georgia. After a decade of teaching at the college level, he went to law school and earned his J.D. from Samford University, where he was a member of the school’s law journal on trial advocacy. He is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, all by
examination. While practicing law, he also taught courses in civil procedure, criminal law and procedure, evidence, and constitutional law, both in law school and for a nationally-based bar review course. As an active trial lawyer, he also served as an Alternate Hearing Examiner for the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility from 1986-91.

A sole practitioner, Judge Goodbread was a civil and criminal litigator at both the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts, appearing in 14 different jurisdictions in the course of his trial career before assuming the bench. His early legal experience involved complex federal trials, including federal question, diversity jurisdiction, and voting rights issues and civil trials in all three local contiguous jurisdictions. He also had extensive appellate experience in the D.C. Court of Appeals, state appellate courts, various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and briefs before the United
States Supreme Court.

In the field of criminal law, his major area of expertise was in “Felony I” cases, including over 100 jury trials on charges of arson, rape, and first degree murder, in which he also handled all the appeals. This experience culminated in his becoming a nationally-renowned authority in the area of Forensic DNA Litigation. He was the defense counsel in the first forensic DNA cases in both the D.C. Superior Court and the U.S. District Court here. During the first half of the 1990’s, he participated, either as trial counsel or consultant, in over 50 criminal DNA cases throughout the United States. He also served on the DNA Task Force of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and made numerous radio and television appearances as a commentator in the field. Judge Goodbread has also given numerous programs, not only on DNA litigation but also on trial tactics, evidentiary issues, moot court programs, and child support jurisdictional topics, among others, to various groups, bar associations, inns of court, and professional organizations throughout the country. He is a member of national honorary societies for scholarship, law, forensics, history, and social sciences.

As a Hearing Commissioner and Magistrate Judge, he has presided in every assignment covered by the jurisdictional statutes for Superior Court judiciary at this level. Judge Goodbread has authored scores of memorandum opinions in those areas of the law, publishing 23 opinions in the Daily Washington Reporter since he has been on the bench, in addition to authoring or co-authoring four benchbooks. He is also Editor of ‚ÄúCompendium of Published Memorandum Opinions of the D.C. Superior Court, 1971-2004 (D.W.L.R. 2003), among other published contributions on the Court’s workings. Magistrate Judge Goodbread currently serves on five of the Superior Court’s most active committees, including the Judicial Education Committee, and in 2000, Chief Judge Eugene N. Hamilton awarded him the Superior Court Medal of Excellence for his work on the Court’s Criminal Justice Act Implementation Committee.

Judge Goodbread lives in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of the District and spends most of his “spare” time with his three grandchildren, Sam, Mollie, and Matthew.