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Denise J. Casper

3/20/2013, 10:04 a.m.

Denise J. Casper

US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper was selected last week to preside over the case of James “Whitey” Bulger, replacing a judge who was ordered to step aside by a federal appeals court.

Appointed to the bench in December 2010 by President Obama, Casper, 45, is the second black woman to become a federal judge in Massachusetts. The first occurred in 1979 when Joyce London Alexander became a US magistrate judge.

The US Court of Appeals for the First District removed Judge Richard G. Stearns from the case. Stearns was a prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office in the 1980s when Bulger claims that another prosecutor promised him immunity for his alleged crimes, including murder.

Casper also served in the US Attorney’s Office, but well after Bulger’s claims allegedly took place. Casper worked there from 1999 to 2005.

Born in East Patchogue, N.Y., in 1968, Casper graduated from Wesleyan University in 1990 before attending Harvard Law School, where she received her law degree in 1994.

“Knowing Judge Denise Casper as a former colleague, the public should be particularly confident that this case remains in very able hands,’’ Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said in a statement.