John "Maximum John" “Maximum John” Sirica (John Sirica)

John “Maximum John” Sirica

Jurist. He is best remembered as the judge who presided over the Watergate trial that occurred in the 1970s, in which he ordered President Richard Nixon to turn over his recordings of White House conversations pertaining to the case, that ultimately led to his resignation from office on August 9, 1974. He was born John Joseph Sirica in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Italian immigrant parents. In 1918 he moved to Washington DC where he attended the Emerson and Columbia Preparatory Schools. In 1921 he enrolled in George Washington University Law School in Washington DC at the age of 17 but soon dropped out. He turned his attention to the sport of boxing at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and worked as a physical education and boxing instructor for the Knights of Columbus and occasionally participated in boxing matches. He returned to law school and after doing undergraduate work at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, he graduated from Georgetown University Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 1926 and was admitted to the District of Columbia bar. In 1927 he started his own private law practice in Washington DC until 1930, when he became Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia until 1934, when he returned to his private practice and remained there until 1957. He also served as general counsel to the House Select Committee to Investigate the Federal Communications Commission in 1944. In 1957 he was appointed to the US District Court for the District of Columbia by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and served as the chief judge from April 2, 1971 to March 18, 1974. During this time he earned the nickname “Maximum John” for issuing defendants the maximum sentence that guidelines allowed. In 1974 he stepped down as chief judge of the court on his 70th birthday (as mandated by federal law) but remained as a full-time member of the bench, becoming senior judge on October 31, 1977 until October 1 1986, when he fully retired. For his role in the Watergate scandal, he was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1973. In 1979 he published his account of the Watergate affair called “To Set the Record Straight.” He died of cardiac arrest in Washington DC at the age of 88. (bio by: William Bjornstad)  Family links:  Spouse:  Lucile Camalier Sirica (1923 – 1998)Cause of death: cardiac arrest


  • March, 19, 1904
  • USA


  • August, 08, 1992
  • USA

Cause of Death

  • cardiac arrest


  • Gate of Heaven Cemetery
  • Maryland
  • USA

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