U.S. Senior District Judge Edward F. Harrington, 80, a Portsmouth resident, is stepping down as of Dec. 31.
Judge Harrington served as a U.S. district judge for more than 25 years.
He also served as an attorney for the United States Department of Justice in Washington, DC, and in Boston in various positions for more than 15 years. Those positions include U.S. attorney and chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force.
He was a member of a select group of attorneys sent by the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy to Mississippi during the “long hot summer of 1964" to protect the rights of college students, who were conducting schools in voter registration there.
He is one of only seven individuals who have served as both U.S. district judge and U.S. attorney for district of Massachusetts since it was established in 1789.
Judge Harrington was appointed as U.S. district judge for the district of Massachusetts by President Ronald Reagan on Feb. 22, 1988 and assumed senior district judge status on March 1, 2001.
“During his quarter century of judicial service, Judge Harrington skillfully addressed a broad range of demanding and novel issues, including the ‘fraud on the market’ doctrine in securities fraud cases, the use of ‘repressed memory’ in sexual abuse cases, the scholastic standards required of learning-disabled students in private schools, the diligence required of federal regulators in the fishing industry, contentious confrontations at abortion clinics, the constitutionality of the cell tower legislation, and discovery rules for electronic documents," said Chief Judge Patti Saris.
"In addition, he participated in many major patent cases involving significant inventions in the medical, electronic and communication fields. With versatility, energy and common sense, Judge Harrington provided a model for the independent generalist judiciary established by our founders through the Constitution.”