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Chief Judge Clarence Goodman is famous as the longest reigning Chief Judge of Mega-City One (managing 43 years in the seat) and the one who overthrew President "Bad Bob" Booth. His time as Judge goes right back to the founding of the system.


Goodman and small children

Goodman with small children

Goodman was the most amiable and friendly of the Chief Judges (until Dan Francisco), and was popular enough in his time that small children would crowd him for his autograph - part of this was a deliberate effect to keep people on side.[1] At the end of his reign, the citizens were happier and safer than they had been in previous times and ever would be again.

In his younger years he was able to put politics above judicial and ethical standards, pressuring Fargo to ignore his own failings for the good of the system, and after the Atomic Wars he would show steel by installing the judicial dictatorship and starting Mega-City One's rise to empire. By the 2090s he had relaxed and stood for his beliefs, and was willing to overrule Dredd. Despite their agreements, he deeply respected and cared for Dredd and and even resigned when he was forced to send the Judge to Titan.


Goodman was joint Deputy Chief Judge at the end of Chief Judge Eustace Fargo's term in office, alongside Judge Solomon. When Fargo had an affair (breaking his own code) and tried to resign, the two of them pressured Fargo to remain in office - only to find he'd tried to kill himself. Goodman helped Solomon to fake a "heroic death" for Fargo so it couldn't be used against the nascent Judge system. (This would cause problems when Fargo began to recover) Solomon became Chief Judge, with Goodman remaining Deputy. [2]

At some point in the 2050s, Goodman tapped into Control's communications network so he could always listen in on the Judges - a suggestion by Fargo, to "never reveal your whole hand".[3]

Origins Goodman's declaration

Goodman in 2070, declaring the reign of the Judges

In 2057 Goodman became Chief Judge of Mega-City One and immediately created the Council of Five to assist him. Under advice from Solomon, he began to arm up the Judges to the extent that they could challenge the military if it ever came to that. He attempted to convince President Bad Bob Booth not to initiate a world war, but to no avail, and gathered his peers in the other Mega-Cities to discuss what to do about the situation. Unfortunately that meeting was on the same day in 2070 that the Atomic Wars started.

Under guidance from a recovered Fargo, Goodman used the Declaration of Independence as legal precedent to depose Booth. [4]

After the coup, Goodman became head of state and established the Justice Department as a stable new government. He was well liked by his people[5] as he deliberately cultivated an image as a 'kindly uncle' figure in public. [6]

Standards had slipped among the post-war Judges, with the corrupt Rico Dredd able to buy his own apartment and flaunt his black market proceeds. Goodman would tighten these back up in the 2080s.[7]

Thanks, your honour

Under his leadership, Mega-City One dramatically increased its outer-space colonial presence from 2095 onwards: the resources on other worlds were necessary for humanity's survival, though he privately doubted whether Earth deserved to spread out into space.[8]

There were three major crises during Goodman's time in power. The first of these was the outbreak of civil war between Mega-City One and Texas City, when Texas declared full independence.[9] With the Cursed Earth a near impenetrable barrier between the cities, Goodman eventually conceded that the civil war was futile and - in a move not entirely popular with all of his colleagues - he recognised Texas City's independence.

The Grand Judge

Goodman at the start of the Robot Wars.

The second crisis occurred at the start of 2099 when Goodman was possessed by a malevolent psychic mutant known as the Monkey, who forced him to lead the city into anarchy before Dredd killed it. Before he was saved, some Judges were convincing SJS head Judge Cal to stage a coup. (Ironically, the Monkey forced Goodman to allow Cursed Earth mutants into the city to bring it down and Dredd ensured they were kicked out again - many years later, Dredd would himself force Chief Judge Barbara Hershey to let mutants in.) [10]

The third crisis came when the robots of Mega-City One rebelled against their masters and the Robot War claimed thousands of lives. The Chief Judge had previously clashed with Judge Dredd on the issue of banning highly intelligent robots and when he refused to do this, believing the citizenry would revolt at having to work, Dredd actually resigned. The advent of the robots' rebellion saw Goodman change his mind extremely fast and Judge Dredd took up his badge once more to put down the revolt.[11]

Elder Goodman

Goodman in his last days

By this point in time, Goodman was known for his quasi-liberal good nature (this allowed the Monkey to fake that Goodman was simply becoming too naive) and also for his age. He was undergoing monthly rejuvenation sessions in his last years. When Judge Plaski came forward about a brief sexual liaison, Goodman felt he only needed a reprimand.[12] This good nature was only relative, however, as he was still willing to order harsh, violent action, as shown when he considered an airstrike in retaliation for Whitey's Judge murders.[13]

He witnesses the end of Rico Dredd.[14]

The Chief Judge knew just how much the city owed Dredd and how much it depended on him, so when he was forced to convict Judge Dredd of murder after he was framed by Deputy Chief Judge Cal, Goodman found it very hard to come to terms with his decision. Even after Judge Dredd had demonstrated his innocence, the Chief Judge was a broken man and Cal was free to plot his demise.[15]

Goodman assassinated

Goodman cut down

His reign finally came to an end when he was murdered on the orders of his own deputy in 2100 or 2101. While signing autographs after his monthly rejuve treatment, SJS Judges disguised as random criminals attacked and stabbed him to death - Goodman's last acts being to shelter the children and order the killers to back down, and to grab an SJS badge on his way down. He then clung to life despite his horrific wounds in order to give evidence of the plot to Dredd. [16] Cal succeeded him.

Continuity issues[]

There used to be some controversy among fans as to whether Goodman succeeded Fargo directly, or whether Solomon served in between. This was eventually settled by the story "Origins" in 2006. However, his stated term of office contradicts two earlier mentions:

  • In Oz (progs 545–570), when Judge Silver remembers the coup by Morton Judd in 2070, Fargo is explicitly called the Chief Judge. Origins retconned this, having Fargo as an advisor to Chief Judge Goodman.
  • Blood Cadets (progs 1186–88) had a corrupt Rico owning a luxury apartment in 2079, and Dredd said such things later ceased "under Goodman." Origins stated that Goodman was already chief judge well before then.


  • Goodman appeared as the "Grand Judge" in prog 2, the very first of Dredd's supporting cast. He wasn't named until prog 86, instead called Grand Judge or Chief Judge.

All three stories were written by John Wagner.



  1. Goodman is shown as beloved by children before he's stabbed to death; Year One - Cold Light of Day retcons that he was media savvy and partly playing a part
  2. "Origins," 2000 AD #1505-1519 and 1529-1535
  3. Year Three: Fallen Angel
  4. "Origins," 2000 AD #1505-1519 and 1529-1535
  5. 2000 AD #89
  6. Dredd Year One: The Cold Light of Day by Michael Carroll
  7. Blood Cadets
  8. "Maelstrom", Megazine 2.73-2.80
  9. Old annuals and finally brought into narrative in Dread Dominion by Stephen Marley
  10. "Monkey On My Back," Judge Dredd Megazine #204-206
  11. "Robot Wars," 2000 AD #10-17
  12. "The Candidates" Part 1
  13. Prog 2
  14. Return of Rico
  15. 2000 AD #86-88
  16. "The Day the Law Died!" episode 1, 2000 AD #89