Judge Bios

Long, Cheryl

Judge-Designate Long was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania and has lived in the District of Columbia since early childhood. She grew up in the Michigan Park section of Northeast Washington, and attended Bunker Hill Elementary School and Taft and Backus Junior High Schools. She graduated from Calvin Coolidge High School in 1967. Ms. Long received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University and was the first black woman to graduate from the prestigious Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown.

Upon her graduation from law school in 1974, Ms. Long was a clerk for the Honorable Spottswood W. Robinson, III on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She was hired in 1975 as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, serving as a prosecutor in the federal and local courts until late 1979. From that time until August, 1982, she was an attorney in the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office, handling defensive litigation on behalf of many federal agencies. Her civil trial experience included cases involving torts, contracts, injunctive relief, and administrative law.

Mr. Long gained further experience in more complex litigation while employed from 1982 to 1985 as a staff attorney in the Division of Land and Natural Resources at the Department of Justice. Her responsibilities there included the prosecution of white collar criminal cases based upon violations of various environmental statutes. She also handled civil cases on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, enforcing the Superfund Act, the Clean Water Act, and related statutes. In the spring of 1985, the Board of Trustees of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia appointed Cheryl Long to be the agency’s new Director. This agency was established by Congress in 1970 to provide legal representation to indigent persons charged with offenses in the courts of the District of Columbia. It is widely recognized as the finest public defender office in the United States. Upon her appointment, Ms. Long became the first black woman to head a public defender office in any major American City.

As the Director, Ms. Long supervised the equivalent of a law firm of 61 attorneys and 62 support staff, serving thousands of clients each year. Her tenure as Public Defender has provided Ms. Long with opportunities to observe issues that affect the entire court system. For example, she has served as a member of Superior Court Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

Throughout her career, Ms. Long has been active in many bar associations, such as the Washington Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association and others. She has also served as a member of the Committee on Grievances of the United States District Court.

Over the years, Ms. Long has been honored for her accomplishments by other citizens in the District of Columbia. For example, the Georgetown University Alumni Club of Metropolitan Washington presented her with an award in 1986 as its outstanding graduate for that year.

On a more personal note, Ms. Long is the oldest daughter of the late Dr. Clarence M. Long, Jr., who was for many yeas the pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in the District of Columbia. Dr. Long was a noted preacher and a community leader who was widely respected throughout the District of Columbia. Ms. Long herself continues to be active in her church congregation.