Judge Bios

Johnson, J. Ramsey

Judge John Ramsey Johnson was appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 2000 by President William Jefferson Clinton.

Judge Johnson was born in Ohio but has lived in Washington, D.C. since he was a very young child. He attended Georgetown Preparatory School and Georgetown University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Classical) degree. Upon graduation, Judge Johnson, having joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force and rose to the rank of Captain. After an honorable discharge, Judge Johnson returned to Washington, D.C. to pursue a law degree at the Antioch School of Law, receiving his law degree in 1976.

In 1976, Judge Johnson began a long tenure with the United States Attorney’s Office, serving as an Assistant United States Attorney in most sections of the Office. In 1981, Judge Johnson was appointed Deputy Chief of the Misdemeanor Trial Section by then United States Attorney Charles F.C. Ruff. Judge Johnson later served as Deputy Chief of the Office’s Superior Court Division and as Special Counsel to then United States Attorney Joseph E. diGenova. In 1987, Judge Johnson joined the Special Prosecutions Section as a line prosecutor where he was responsible for a wide variety of complex federal investigations and prosecutions, including the first prosecution in the United States of an overseas aircraft hijacking in which American citizens were held hostage.

During 1989, Judge Johnson served as Chief of the Transnational and Major Crimes Section, overseeing federal prosecutions involving espionage, export violations, and domestic and international terrorism, before returning to the Superior Court Division when he was appointed Chief by then United States Attorney Jay B. Stephens. In addition to his duties as Chief, Judge Johnson assisted in the creation of the Superior Court Drug Court and the United States Attorney’s Office Community Prosecution Program.

In 1993, Judge Johnson was appointed by then Attorney General Janet Reno, and later by judges of the U.S. District Court, to serve as United States Attorney until Eric H. Holder, Jr. was sworn in as United States Attorney. In 1995, Judge Johnson was promoted to Principal Assistant United States Attorney under then United States Attorney Holder, where he served for three years. In 1998, he became Special Counsel to United States Attorney Wilma A. Lewis, and later served briefly as her Principal Assistant until his appointment to the Superior Court bench.

In 1990, Judge Johnson was the recipient of the Harold J. Sullivan Award presented annually by the Assistant United States Attorney’s Association to the “Assistant U.S. Attorney who best exemplifies the selfless devotion, personal courage, professional fairness and trial excellence of the late Harold J. Sullivan.” Additionally, from 1982 until 1983, Judge Johnson co-chaired the Criminal Practice Institute, and from 1981 until 1988, he served as an adjunct faculty member in trial advocacy at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Judge Johnson currently serves on the District of Columbia Sentencing Commission, as well as a number of Court committees.

Judge Johnson is married to Monica M. McGowan. They have two children.