Nicholas Byrne is the Chief Judge at the US District Court of the Southern District of New York.


Moving to New YorkEdit

He took a Greyhound bus from Gadsden, Alabama to New York in 1965.[1]

Pentagon PapersEdit

In 1971, when he was a first-year AUSA in the Southern District, the New York Times began posting a series on the Pentagon Papers. They believed publishing the papers jeopardized national security. They asked a judge for an injunction. Two weeks later, the Supreme Court sided with the Times.[2]

Swearing-in CeremonyEdit

When the new AUSAs and FPDs arrived to be sworn in, Tina Krissman introduced herself and had the two sides sit on opposite sides, knowing they wouldn't want to sit together. She then explained to them what would be happening and introduced Nicholas Byrne, who gave a speech about their work and swore them all in.[3]

Madeline LocarnoEdit

Nicholas presided over the case of Madeline Locarno, who was accused of passing on sensitive information to her ex-husband which he then used to make a little over $9000 in the stock market based on a merger between two companies. He was surprised that Roger Gunn was focusing on a case for such a small amount of money. The case ended when Allison revealed that Seth padded the charges to pressure Madeline and Allison into a deal. Nicholas dismissed this case when Seth wouldn't drop the charges and reported Seth's actions, which resulted in his probation.[4]

Opioid CrisisEdit

When Roger assigned Kate and Seth with finding a way to charge one of the doctors their office has investigated with opioid overprescribing, they went to Byrne in the middle of the night to get a warrant to search their houses. He declined, saying it was a lazy strategy. Later, after one of the doctors was arrested after they found out he was keeping a woman as essentially a slave and laundering money for a drug cartel, they went to Byrne to ask for his support to have some of the money seized from the doctor be allocated to go to the woman he'd imprisoned, Margo Elata.[5]

Dani RiosEdit

When Kate and Sandra brought the case of Dani Rios into his courtroom, he learned that Sandra wanted the government to reveal classified documents as part of discovery. He agreed that it was relevant to the case, but thought the government wouldn't want to release the documents. He was surprised to hear Kate saying they'd release them but only after they'd been reviewed and redacted, which she believed would take 18 months, during which they'd recommend that Dani remain in prison. He called both lawyers back to his chambers, where he left them to work out a deal.[6]


Nicolas presided over the case against Kappler-Hays CEO Jack Lewis.[7]

Rodrigo PuenteEdit

He oversaw the case against Rodrigo Puente, who was arrested with 57 grams of meth in his backpack, which he was couriering with no knowledge of its contents. He told counsel that he didn't like the case and wouldn't sentence Rodrigo to the ten-year minimum and sent Seth back to look at the case again. When Seth came back with the same circumstance, he met with Roger, who stood firm, and then with Jill, who said Rodrigo had no one to give up to the police. Desperate, he decided to advise the jury of the mandatory minimum sentence, but was prevented from doing so by a writ. After he was found guilty, Nicholas reluctantly sentenced Rodrigo to the mandatory minimum of ten years.[8]

Arturo MarquezEdit

Nicholas heard the case of Arturo Marquez, who was arrested and charged with piracy for boarding a relief ship and taking the supplies. Allison tried to get the case dismissed on jurisdictional issue, but Nicholas refused. The case continued and at trial, a grocer testified that Arturo had sold things to him at a 150% markup. Allison then put Arturo on the stand to explain that he had done things he never thought he would, because it's what needed to be done to end the suffering around him. Despite him admitting to having used a gun to take supplies from the ship, the jury found him not guilty.[9]

Jared NashEdit

Nicholas presided over the case of The United States v Jared Nash. Jared was ultimately found guilty of misprision of a felony, an antiquated charge.[10]

Kirk KeeenerEdit

Nicholas presided over the case of Kirk Keener, a DEA agent who was charged with deprivation of rights under color of law after leaving Brian Torres alone in a holding cell for four days. He delighted in the role reversal of Roger prosecuting Kirk while Jill defended him. The jury returned a not guilty verdict.[11]

Bill ShalesEdit

When the AUSAs came to Byrne asking for an injunction to stop an article from coming out, he refused, saying they hadn't met the burden required.[12]

Alice HuangEdit

He presided over the case against Alice Huang, accused of espionage for the Chinese government. Alice was ultimately found not guilty. After hearing Sandra argue Alice's defense, he told her that she was worthy of being a lawyer in the Mother Court.[13]








Nicholas is the Chief Judge at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Notes and TriviaEdit

  • He gets up for work at 6:15 AM.[14]
  • He keeps a bottle of hot sauce in his desk.[15]
  • The character was named William Byrne in the early phases of development.


A more complete gallery with pictures of Nicholas Byrne can be found here.

Notable EpisodesEdit

These episodes are Nicholas-centric or are otherwise very informative about his life:

Memorable QuotesEdit