William M. Hoeveler

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Person.png William M. Hoeveler  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
William Marcellin Hoeveler.jpg
BornAugust 23, 1922
DiedNovember 18, 2017 (Age 95)
Alma materBucknell University, Harvard Law School
Judge in Manuel Noriega trial

William Marcellin Hoeveler (August 23, 1922 – November 18, 2017) was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He presided over the politically sensitive trial of deposed Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega and hearings in the affair of Elián González.[1]

Education and career

Hoeveler was born in 1922 in Paris, France. He was a standout athlete in football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and track while attending Haverford High School in Havertown, Pennsylvania from which he graduated in 1941. He then attended Temple University but left college to enlist in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, where he served a tour of duty in the Pacific as a lieutenant from 1942 to 1946. Hoeveler graduated from Bucknell University, where he was a member of Sigma Chi, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1947. [2]

He graduated from Harvard Law School with a Bachelor of Laws in 1950. Hoeveler was elected co-president of the class of 1950, which included a future U.S. attorney general, Richard G. Kleindienst, two U.S. senators, John Chafee of Rhode Island and Ted Stevens of Alaska, and the chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, Samuel Dash.

Hoeveler conducted private practice in Miami, Florida from 1951 to 1977.[3]

Federal judicial service

President Jimmy Carter nominated Hoeveler to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 5, 1977, to the seat vacated by Judge Peter T. Fay. Confirmed by the Senate on April 25, 1977, he received commission on April 26, 1977. He assumed senior status on January 31, 1991.[3] Hoeveler gained a reputation as a champion of the Everglades and an opponent of Florida's sugar industry ("Big Sugar") during his time on the bench.

He also presided over the politically sensitive trial of Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega, which was captured in the 1990 invasion. After sentencing him to 40 years — punishment that would later be reduced to 30 years — Hoeveler declared Noriega a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions who should be accorded special privileges.[2]

He also presided over hearings in the Elián González affair.[1] He died on November 18, 2017, at his home in Coral Gables, aged 95.[2]