Marcia G. Cooke is a native of Detroit, Michigan. Judge Cooke is an experienced trial attorney and lawyer and has held a variety of positions in the public sector. Prior to being appointed to the Federal Bench, she was an Assistant Miami-Dade County Attorney. She represented Miami-Dade County in a variety of matters including litigation on behalf of the Housing Agency and defensive tort litigation. Judge Cooke has also served as the Chief Inspector General for the State of Florida. Governor Jeb Bush appointed Judge Cooke in 1999. The Chief Inspector General is responsible for promoting accountability, integrity, efficiency and ethical behavior in the agencies under the jurisdiction of the Executive Office of the Governor.
Prior to serving as Chief Inspector General, Judge Cooke served as an Executive Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, for seven years. Her responsibilities included training and professional development for a staff composed of 200 lawyers and over 200 support personnel, as well as immigration issues and other special projects.
In 1984, she was selected as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. Responsible for the full range of judicial activities, Judge Cooke was the youngest federal judicial officer at the time of her appointment.
She has also served as a legal services attorney and a public defender, providing representation for the indigent, and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan. As a prosecutor in Michigan and Southern Florida, she successfully prosecuted over thirty criminal jury trials. Judge Cooke was also in private practice with the law firm of Miro, Miro and Weiner.
In addition to her other responsibilities, Judge Cooke is an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law where she teaches litigation skills and criminal law. She also served as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School. She is also a longtime faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) and has taught at trial practice and litigation programs throughout the country. Judge Cooke also lectures on issues related to trial practice and litigation. Having presided over the case ofUnited States of America v. Jose Padilla, she is often called upon to participate in symposiums related to terrorism.
A graduate of the Georgetown University Edmund G. Walsh School of Foreign Service, she remains active in university activities. She is a member of the Board of Governors and served as the national President of the Georgetown University Alumni Association. She was elected to the University's Board of Directors in 1998. She received her law degree from the Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan.
Judge Cooke has presided over many interesting cases, among them criminal cases involving the Israeli mafia moving company scams, and various drug offense cases. One of the more memorable multi-defendant drug cases involved the kidnapping and attempted murder of a rival drug trafficker (who happened to have his 3 year old godchild with him). Testimony in the case revealed drug traffickers pawning off Mercedes Benz automobiles in order to acquire cash to complete drug deals; torture of rivals using a household steam iron; boyfriends hiding in closets; and even a love affair between a trafficker and police officer! Another memorable case Judge Cooke presided over was the terrorism trial of United States of America v. Jose Padilla, et al. One of the defendants in the trial, Jose Padilla, is the only American citizen detained in a military brig as an enemy combatant. Mr. Padilla, at the behest of his co-defendant, served as a Mujadeen in Afghanistan.