Andrea Harnett was installed as a Magistrate Judge of the Superior Court of the District
of Columbia in January 1985 by the Honorable H. Carl Moultrie I.
Judge Harnett graduated from Northwestern University and from Columbia Law School,
after being named a Harlan Fiske Scholar. As a very active law student, she participated in the
Greenhaven Prison Legal Assistance Project, held a New York City Court clerkship with the
Honorable Mary Johnson Lowe, and served as a student intern in the Official Corruption Unit of
the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Following law school, Judge Harnett began work as an Assistant United States Attorney,
serving in this capacity until her appointment to the Superior Court. She rose to positions of
increasing responsibility, including rotations through Superior Court Misdemeanor Trials,
Grand Jury, Felony Trials, and Career Criminal Units, as well as the Appellate Division, and
the United State District Court Criminal Trials and Special Proceedings Units, and finally as the
first Chief of the Victim/Witness Assistance Unit. As the Chief of this unit, she had the unique
opportunity of acting as a liaison between community groups and the prosecutor’s office.
As the representative of the United States Attorney, Judge Harnett also served on many
Superior Court committees, including the Mental Health Rules committee, the Ugast Committee
on Forensics Procedures, the Prisoner Movement Committee, the Victims of Violent Crime
Compensation Act of 1981 Committee, and the Emergency Interpreter Program Committee.
While serving as a Magistrate Judge, Judge Harnett has worked in the Criminal, Family,
and Civil Divisions, and the Domestic Violence Unit, of the Superior Court. She was one of the
founders of the unique and innovative Domestic Violence Unit and developed an expertise in the
civil and criminal responses to domestic violence. In 2004, she helped to organize the court’s
Domestic Violence Arraignment Court. She has spoken to many groups and attended many
conferences in this field, as a student and as a faculty member.
As a Magistrate Judge, she participates in many court committees, including the Criminal
Rules Committee, the Security Committee, and the city-wide Criminal Justice Coordinating
Council Pre-Trial Systems Subcommittee. For years she was an active member of the Domestic
Violence Implementation Committee.
Judge Harnett has participated in programs at the Gallaudet College Criminal Justice
Clinic, American University College of Law, and the Georgetown University Street Law Project.
She has spoken at local schools and at community meetings about crime, domestic violence and
the court system.
Judge Harnett is married to Benjamin Fisherow, an attorney and manager at the U.S.
Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section. They have two sons – Simon, a law
student, and Michael, a geographer.