AP Style Judge

Is Judge Capitalized in a Sentence?

AP Style holds that you should capitalize “judge” before a name when it is the formal title for an individual who presides in a court of law. Do not continue to use the title in second reference.

Do not use “court” as part of the title unless confusion would result without it. For example,

  • No “court” in the title: U.S. District Judge John Smith, District Judge John Smith, federal Judge John Smith, Judge John Smith, U.S. Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen, appellate Judge Priscilla Owen.
  • “Court” needed in the title: Juvenile Court Judge John Jones, Criminal Court Judge John Jones, Superior Court Judge Robert Harrison, state Supreme Court Judge William Cushing.

When the formal title “chief judge” is relevant, put the court name after the judge’s name. For example,

  • Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.
  • Chief Judge Karen J. Williams of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Do not pile up long court names before the name of a judge. For example,

  • Correct: Judge John Smith of Allegheny County Common Pleas Court


  • Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge John Smith

Lowercase “judge” as an occupational designation in phrases such as “contest judge Randy Jackson.”

See also AP Style Administrative Law Judge, AP Style Court Names, AP Style Judicial Branch, AP Style Justice, and AP Style Magistrate.

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