Hon. Mark W. Bennett See Rating Details
District Judge See Comments
N.D.Iowa  
Average Rating:8.2 - 43 rating(s)
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Ratings

*Temperament:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Scholarship:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Industriousness:   (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
*Ability to Handle Complex Litigation:    (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Punctuality:    (1=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Trial:    (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Sentencing:    (1=Most Lenient,10=Most Harsh)
Typical Discount Off Guidelines for Cooperators:    (1=10%,10=100%)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating
Comments



What others have said about Hon. Mark W. Bennett


Comments


Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 18481
Rating:1.0
Comments:
This guy is an egotistical clown. He purports to lecture others on the right way to perform the judicial function when all he is really about is self-aggrandizement. Lucky, I suppose, he is relegated to a nondescript geographical location where he can't do more harm.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 13772
Rating:5.6
Comments:
Judge Bennett is an extremely smart man. He is definitely pro defense and anti government. As a defense attorney it is a pleasure trying a case in front of him because if I forget to ask a question to a witness, then he will. I find I have to be prepared when I try a case in front of him, however it is clear to a jury that he is pro defense which hinders my ability to defend my client. I really wish he would do what judges are supposed to do-be fair and impartial-his treatment of cops and govt witnesses is shameful. It steers a jury against my client every time. It seems Midwest jury's trust the govt.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 12768
Rating:10.0
Comments:
I am writing this before I get a decision on a pending motion so I know I am not swayed by however it is decided, but from argument alone, I wish all judges were like this. Prepared. Funny. Smart. Human. Wow.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 11818
Rating:9.8
Comments:
Hardworking and an amazingly quick study on complex issues. Expects lawyers to be prepared.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 11454
Rating:9.3
Comments:
The whole point here is that no one posts on this website because he is a fair judge. Anyone feeling that they did not get a fair hearing would post rants on this cite. You do not see that here. You may not always agree on result, but he is a bright, industrious judge who is capable of analyzing precedent and does not show a bias towards either side. That is what judging is all about. The 7904 post simply reflects frustration that Judge Bennett does not act as if he is working for their office unlike some other unnamed judge...

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 8016
Rating:9.7
Comments:
My colleague in the last post obviously has a axe to grind. Last time I checked there could be a huge difference in section (d) versus section (D) of a state law. As for giving this judge low marks for competence, scholarship, and punctuality - that is nonsense. Anybody who practices in federal court knows that both district court judges (Reade & Bennett) rate very high in these factors. You can disagree all you want with their rulings but to give low scores on these criteria gives you zero credibility. It never dawned on me that proving a statutory crime was a technicality. As for sentencing in general, this judge has always successfully predicted the Supreme Court's rulings in Booker, Rita, Kimbrough, Gall and Spears, while the U.S. Attorney's Office has been dead wrong in all of these and in every case applying their principles. Doesn't the fact that the U.S. Attorney's Office routinely ignores the Supreme Court law make them the true activists requiring a very conservative Supreme Court - the most conservative in modern history - to reign their lawlessness in?

Prosecutor

Comment #: 7904
Rating:3.7
Comments:
Another case of this judge being an activist and using a technicality to thwart the government at sentencing. The 8th Circuit had to remand U.S. vs Michael Ingram No. 08-2563 because the judge in his infinite wisdom refused to enhance to a sentence of 20 years minimum, because the government failed to show a prior Illinois state conviction - that was based on the government presenting a certified court conviction of 720-570/401(D) -- a felony. But the statute is (d). Yes, this judge refused to give the mandatory minimum based on a (D) versus a (d).

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 7843
Rating:9.8
Comments:
This judge does the right thing by tempering justice with mercy. No surprise he was the district court judge the Circuit reversed twice on his 100-1 crack/powder ratio varaince down to 20-1 that the Supreme Court just did with their smackdown of the Circuit in US v. Spears. The Court gave the 8th Circuit a judicial spanking and totally vindicated Judge Bennett's longstanding but often reversed sentencing positions. This is a judge with the courage and conviction to consistently do the right thing in the face of long odds.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 7544
Rating:9.8
Comments:
I am an out-of-state lawyer from the 7th Circuit. Appearing befre this judge for a sentencing reflected everything a federal court should be. This judge is razor sharp. He was very, very well prepared and peppered both sides with thoughtful and probing questions. He gave this case his full and undivided attention and crafted a fair sentence tempered by mercy for a very deserving client.

Court Staff

Comment #: 6944
Rating:7.2
Comments:
To anyone familiar with Judge Bennett, the one person responsible for authoring the majority of these posts is clear.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 6753
Rating:9.6
Comments:
I appeared recently before Judge Bennett in a contested sentencing hearing. He had reviewed every facet of the case and was well prepared on all of the issues and he expected the attorneys to be equally prepared. I consider him one of the best judges I have ever appeared before. He is very engaging and challenging so... Scouts' Motto: Be Prepared.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 6235
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Simply the finest, most diligent, hardworking, smartest and fairest judge anywhere. If most lawyers appearing before him worked half as hard as he does and were one half as well-prepared justice would be even better served. I think many attorneys get lazy before him becaise they know he is so incredibly well-prepared and does their work for them by carefully analyzing the 3553(a) factors even if the lawyers have been too lazy to file a basic brief.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 5936
Rating:9.8
Comments:
The last comment by an AUSA just goes to show that in the Northern District of Iowa the prosecutors are not honest. Judge Bennett in that sentencing at the end asked the Circuit to assign it to another judge if they didn't like what he did because he wasn't going to give a higher sentence. What about all the defendants who are serving longer sentences than authorized by the Supreme Court in the Gall decision? Why aren't the AUSAs concerned about all those folks that get a raw deal due to the government's misapplication of the 3553(e) factors and the Circuit's totally erroneous interpretation? I say Judge Bennett has for years been saying what the Supreme Court said in Gall. At least the AUSAs should get their basic facts right and stop lying about what happened in Pepper - even the Circuit says in Pepper that Bennett asked to be taken off the case. Saying the Circuit "demanded" it is as dishonest as can be. By the way, giving Bennett low marks for scholarship is a joke...ever read a brief filed by the AUSAs?

Prosecutor

Comment #: 5886
Rating:4.2
Comments:
8th Circuit had to demand the reassignment case of US vs Pepper (06-2453). Long battle with 8th Circuit on appropriate sentencing. Judge Bennett's downward departure has not been justified time after time.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 5822
Rating:9.8
Comments:
Exceptionally fair.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5763
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Simply the very best.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 5713
Rating:9.9
Comments:
A very smart and hardworking judge. His long-time sentencing views, after years of struggles with the 8th Circuit have now been clearly vindicated by the United States Supreme Court. I have great admiration for his compelling sense of justice and unfailing compassion and for his continued fortitude in giving defendants fair sentences. He does not cave in to pressure from the Justice Department.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5490
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Unsurpassed fairness, fairness,and more fairness. Terrific intellect - not only a student of the law but seems to love the law. Exceptionally hard working. Can decipher an extremely complicated case faster than most of us can open our briefcases. Never bends to the sheer weight of the case law. Will go the direction that he believes arrives at the fairest and most just result even if all non-binding reported cases go the other way. Unbelievably dedicated to the craft of judging.You must be very, very well prepared but he appears to love to spar with well prepared lawyers and often is playing the devil's advocate.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 5446
Rating:9.8
Comments:
Is always willing to seriously look at departures and variances. Ruled for the defense on a Kimbrough analysis sua sponte 2 years before the U.S. Supreme Court adopted the analysis. Takes sentencings extremely seriously and treats defendants with great respect and understanding. I have seen their allocation often influence the sentencing and this judge is frequently willing to vary from the recommendation given him by Probation. He may appear to sum as hard-nosed but is exceptionally compassionate and fair.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5318
Rating:9.8
Comments:
Very hard working. Extremely bright. Exceptionally fair. Incredibly inquisitive. Very fast on rulings that are unusally thorough and thoughtful. Very, very flexible in scheduling and very, very accomodating - understands the demands placed on busy trial lawyers. Has very high expectations for himself and others that sometimes lead to frustration. Keen sense of fairness and justice. Very independently minded. Always looking for ways to improve the civil justice system and the experience of jurors in his court. Very innovative. No one finer at jury trial management. Very patient with young and inexperienced lawyers but can be impatient with more experienced lawyers that are not well prepared.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5184
Rating:9.5
Comments:
Incredibly hardworking and very bright. Super fast on rulings that are well-researched and exceptionally thorough. Runs a great jury trial and simply adores the juries and the trial process. Jurors leave with renewed faith in the civil justice system. Never puts any pressure on the lawyers or litigants to settle. Always has the jury instructions done and to the parties at least a week before trial. No other judge I know or have heard of does this. Doesn't suffer fools gladly, but is also very understanding of the demands and rigors of trial. Simply superb.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5114
Rating:9.5
Comments:
Exceptionally hard working, bright, and fair. Very creative and into technology.

Prosecutor

Comment #: 4781
Rating:4.5
Comments:
His reputation is that he can be abusive to lawyers at times.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3973
Rating:9.8
Comments:
My first summary judgment argument in from of him was an incredible expereince. He was so incredibly well prepared, asked both sides great questions. He has a great sense of humor, treated both sides extremely well and got out the most amazing opinion in less than a week. What more could you ask for...well I guess it would have been better if I won the S.J. motion. However, in reading his opinion I am convinced he got it right and he throughly considered all our arguments. He is one heck of a judge.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3742
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
needs to show everyone how smart he is.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3595
Rating:8.3
Comments:
A very bright and hardworking judge who sometimes overwrites decisions and prizes productivity over fairness. He loves attention but deserves it, and he does an excellent job in civil cases. He sometimes has temperament problems in criminal cases.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 2803
Rating:9.5
Comments:
This judge rocks. Extremely bright, opinions are awesomely through and cranked out quickly. Is obviously exceptionally well prepared at motion hearings.Has high expectations but still remembers what it was like to be a lawyer. In a case I was in the other lawyer was trying to get a continuance but offered several obviously baloney excuses. The judge rejected them all and then asked if the real reason wasn't that he was totally unprepared....the lawyer stammered and then said yes. Bennett asked why didn't he say that in the first place and instantly and graciously granted the continuance so the client wouldn't be prejudiced.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 2668
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
As a senior intellectual property litigator at a major national law firm we litigate IP cases in federal court all over the country. Appearing before J. Bennett was an extraordinary experience for our entire litigation team. He is a brilliant jurist who is as well versed in the intricate nuances of patent law as any federal judge in the nation. He and Mag. Zoss have adopted cutting edge pretrial procedures that expedite patent litigation and save clients hundreds of thousands in fees. He is exceptionally hard working and his patent opinions are held in extraordinarily high regard by the patent bar. J. Bennett and his staff are fabulous to deal with, he is exceptionally and unfailingly courteous to the lawyers and personally concerned about scheduling matters for our convenience. He asks tough, thoughtful, and deeply probing questions and mastered the technology intricacies of the patent at issue like no other federal judge we have appeared before. If there is a better federal district court judge in the country we have not found him/her.

Other

Comment #: 2475
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
The ratings on Judge Bennett are all over the board. I find it hard to believe that Criminal Defense Lawyers are rating this federal judge tens across the board. I wish some additional contributors would post definitive comments regarding Judge Bennett. Until then, I'll continue to watch the dueling ratings.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 2222
Rating:9.8
Comments:
Terrific jurist. Extraordinarily hardworking and fair.Exceptionally dedicated.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 2184
Rating:3.9
Comments:
Opinions are too long. Gets reversed all the time by the Eighth Circuit on sentencing but doesn't seem to care. Very nice personally.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 1787
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Very fair and honest Judge. Probably the smartest Judge I have ever practiced before. Has a reputation for temperment problems but my personal opinion is that it comes from frustration at ususally being that much smarter than the litigating attorneys.