David J. Novak, ’86, named Federal Magistrate Judge
Villanova Law alumnus David J. Novak, ’86, a veteran prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office, has been appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. The judges of the U.S. District Court named Judge Novak to the position, effective February 1, to succeed Judge Dennis Dohnal, who retired from the bench.
Judge Novak began his career as a prosecutor just out of law school, when he became an Assistant District Attorney at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in 1986. In 1991, he moved to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of Texas. He has been an Assistant U. S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia since 1994. He was chief of the Criminal Division before his appointment.
During his tenure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Judge Novak tried many high profile cases, including the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted to date for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. For his work on the Moussaoui prosecution, Judge Novak received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of United States National Security and the CIA Seal Medallion for contributions to the war on terrorism — two of the highest awards given by those agencies.
Judge Novak has received many other awards, including the Director’s Award from the Department of Justice (received on two separate occasions), the DEA Administrator’s Award (that agency’s highest award), the Appellate Advocacy Award from the Association of Government Attorneys involved in Capital Litigation, and the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association Special Award of Honor. In 2010, Judge Novak was inducted into the Virginia Law Foundation as a Fellow.
Judge Novak is a native of Pennsylvania. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Vincent College in 1983. He is a member of both the Pennsylvania and Virginia State Bar Association.