Denny Chin (Chinese: 陳卓光) is a judge on the United States district court for the Southern District of New York. Chin was nominated by President Clinton on March 24, 1994, and confirmed August 9 of that same year. On October 6, 2009, Chin was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, if confirmed by the US Senate, he would fill the vacancy created by Judge Robert D. Sack who assumed senior status.. Chin is the first Asian American appointed as a U.S. District Judge outside of the Ninth Circuit.
Chin was born in 1954 in Kowloon, Hong Kong and came to the U.S. in 1956. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1971. He received his Bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Princeton University in 1975. In 1978, Chin graduated from Fordham University School of Law, where he was the Managing Editor of the Fordham Law Review. Chin currently teaches first year Legal Writing at Fordham. Following a 1978-1980 clerkship with the Hon. Henry Werker in the Southern District, Chin worked for the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell from 1980 to 1982. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District from 1982 to 1986. In 1986, Chin left the U.S. Attorney's Office and started a law firm, Campbell, Patrick & Chin, with two colleagues from the U.S. Attorney's Office. In 1990, he joined the law firm Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where he specialized in labor and employment law and represented employees and unions. President Bill Clinton nominated Chin to the bench on March 24, 1994, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089. The United States Senate confirmed Chin on August 9, 1994, and Chin received his commission the next day.
In 2001, Chin rejected a motion by the Parents Television Council (PTC) to dismiss a lawsuit that the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) filed against it. At the time, the PTC had been campaigning for advertisers to withdraw sponsorship of WWE's flagship program SmackDown because it believed that the program caused the violent deaths of four children. Chin's ruling came on the grounds that WWF had a sound basis in suing the PTC over defamation, interference with business, and copyright infringement. PTC and WWE settled out of court and, as part of the settlement agreement, the PTC paid WWF $3.5 million USD and PTC president Bozell issued a public apology.
In Fox v. Franken Chin denied Fox News Channel (who alleged a trademark violation) an injunction against Al Franken's Book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
Chin also presided over the criminal prosecution of Larry Stewart, the handwriting expert who was accused of committing perjury during the trial of Martha Stewart (no relation). Larry Stewart was acquitted by a jury.
Chin presided over the criminal trial of Pak Dong-seon in connection with Pak's alleged involvement in the scandal surrounding the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. Pak was convicted by a jury and sentenced by Judge Chin to 5 years in prison.
Most recently, Chin presided over the criminal trial of Oscar Wyatt, the Texas oil executive accused of making kick-backs to the Saddam Hussein regime during the UN Oil-For-Food Program. In the middle of his trial, Wyatt changed his plea to guilty as part of a plea bargain with the government.
He was assigned the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement case on January 8, 2009, after the death of the previous supervising judge.
In 2009 Judge Chin presided over U.S. v. Madoff. Madoff admitted to committing securities fraud via a Ponzi scheme starting in the early 1980s, which involved potentially as much as $65 billion. On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges relating to the scheme. Following his pleading, Chin revoked Madoff's $10 million dollar bail and ordered him to report immediately to jail at the request of the federal prosecutors, citing that Madoff had both the resources and the incentive to flee before his formal sentencing. On June 29, 2009, Judge Chin accepted the prosecutor's recommendation to sentence Madoff to a prison term of 150 years, thus effectively handing down a life sentence.