Obituary: Julian Abele Cook Jr.


Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr., who served on the federal court bench in Detroit for 36 years, died May 16 in Silver Spring, Md. He was 86.

Cook was appointed U.S. District judge for the Eastern District of Michigan by President Jimmy Carter on Sept. 23, 1978.

He served as chief judge of the court from 1990 through 1996 and was a senior judge until leaving the bench in September 2014.

One of his last high-profile cases was the federal government’s oversight of the Detroit police department due to excessive force, illegal arrests and other problems.

In 1986, Cook presided over a criminal trial involving auto executive John DeLorean. He was acquitted.

Cook was in private practice prior to his appointment to the bench and also was an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit School of Law from 1971 to 1978.

Additionally, he was special assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan from 1968 to 1978.

Cook received his B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and his law degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps as 1st lieutenant from 1952 to 1954.

Over the span of his professional career, Cook was the recipient of many civic honors and awards. Some of these include the Champion of Justice Award from the State Bar of Michigan, Brotherhood Award from the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Renowned Jurist Award from Friends of the African Art, Presidential Award from the North Oakland County Chapter of NAACP, and Humanitarian Award from Pontiac City Wide Choir Union.

He was twice voted one of the “most  respected judges in Michigan” by subscribers of Michigan Lawyers Weekly, and “Boss of the Year” by the Oakland County Legal Secretaries Association.

Cook was a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Association of Black Judges of Michigan, American Law Institute, Mediation Tribunal Association, Judicial Conference of the United States and the United States Sentencing Commission.

Federal Judge Victoria Roberts said Cook repeatedly encouraged her to apply to become a judge. She says she was inspired by Cook’s “patience, kindness and demeanor on the bench.”
Additional details provided by The Associated Press.