Judge Moxila Upadhyaya, who was born in Gujarat, grew up in Missouri.
The arraignment of former President Donald J. Trump was presided over by Indian American Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya, who was born in Gujarat and grew up in suburbanÂ Kansas City, Missouri.
A journalist by training â€” she holds a Bachelor of Journalism, magna cum laude, from the Missouri School of Journalism â€” Upadhyaya was appointed United States Magistrate Judge on September 7, 2022.
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A magistrate judge, appointed by active district judges of the court, serves an eight-year term and holds the authority to conduct preliminary proceedings in criminal cases, including arraignments, among other essential duties.
Upadhyaya also received a BA with honors in Latin from the University of Missouri. Later, she obtained a J.D., cum laude, from the American Universityâ€™s Washington College of Law, where she earned distinctions for her trial work in the Criminal Justice Clinic and served as a member of the Administrative Law Review.
After law school, Upadhyaya served as a law clerk to the Honorable Eric T. Washington, former Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals, for a two-year term. Subsequently, she joined Venable LLP’s Washington, D.C. office, where she specialized in complex commercial and administrative litigation.
Upadhyaya also has devoted herself to pro bono work, representing indigent clients in post-conviction proceedings, according to her official biography. Notably, she received the Defender of Innocence Award from the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project in 2009 and was named Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year by Venable in 2006.
Upadhyaya has served on various committees and boards, including the D.C. Bar Litigation Section Steering Committee, the D.C. Access to Justice Foundation, and the Council for Court Excellence. Additionally, she served on this Court’s Committee on Grievances from 2021 to 2022 and is recognized as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Upadhyaya is not the only Indian American judge handling January 6 Capitol Hill riots-related cases. US District Judge Amit Mehta has presided over several cases, including the criminal prosecution of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes. Additionally, Mehta is overseeing three civil lawsuits against Trump and several of his associates.