Law: THE HON. MICHAEL F. URBANSKI
CHIEF JUDGE, U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ROANOKE
Born in Italy when his father was stationed there with the U.S. Army, Urbanski went to high school in Newport News and was previously a principal at the Woods Rogers law firm in Roanoke. In 2004, he was appointed to be a U.S. magistrate judge and was appointed to the Western District court’s bench in 2011, replacing Judge Norman K. Moon, who took senior status. In 2017, Urbanski became chief judge.
Before taking the bench, Urbanski graduated from William & Mary and the University of Virginia School of Law, clerking for Judge James Clinton Turk of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
On occasion, he serves on a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and in May, he was the lone dissenter in a decision that ruled against immigrants detained without right to counsel while pursuing asylum, overturning a lower court’s verdict. Urbanski said that there’s a difference between these minor arrests and felony convictions that require deportment.