Nuremberg Judges’ Trial


  1. Participating in a common plan or conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity;

  2. War crimes through the abuse of the judicial and penal process, resulting in mass murder, torture, plunder of private property.

  3. Crimes against humanity on the same grounds, including slave labor charges.

  4. Membership in a criminal organization, the NSDAP or SS leadership corps.

Count 4 applied only to Altstötter, Cuhorst, Engert, Joel (with respect to the SS) and to Cuhorst, Oeschy, Nebelung, and Rothaug concerning the NSDAP leadership. Both organizations had been found criminal previously by the IMT.

Count 1 was dropped: the court declared the charge to be outside its jurisdiction. Judge Blair filed a dissenting opinion that stated that the court should have made a statement that the Military Tribunals of the NMT in fact did have jurisdiction over charges of “conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity”.All defendants pleaded “not guilty”.


  • Karl Engert

  • Oswald Rothaug

  • Paul Barnickel

  • Rudolf Oeschey

  • Wilhelm von Ammon

  • Wolfgang Mettgenberg

A witness testifies in the Judges’ Trial

Coordinates: 49°27.2603′N 11°02.9103′E

The Judges’ Trial (or the Justice Trial, or, officially, The United States of America vs. Josef Altstötter, et al.) was the third of the 12 trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the “Subsequent Nuremberg Trials” or, more formally, as the “Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals” (NMT).

The defendants in this case were 16 German jurists and lawyers. Nine had been officials of the Reich Ministry of Justice, the others were prosecutors and judges of the Special Courts and People’s Courts of Nazi Germany. They were—amongst other charges—held responsible for implementing and furthering the Nazi “racial purity” program through the eugenic and racial laws.

The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal III, were Carrington T. Marshall (presiding judge), former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio; James T. Brand, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon; Mallory B. Blair, formerly judge of the Third Court of Appeals of Texas; and Justin Woodward Harding of the Bar of the State of Ohio as an alternate judge. Marshall had to retire due to illness on June 19, 1947, at which point Brand became president and Harding a full member of the tribunal. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor; his deputy was Charles M. LaFollette. The indictment was presented on January 4, 1947; the trial lasted from March 5 to December 4, 1947. Ten of the defendants were found guilty; four received sentences for lifetime imprisonment, the rest received prison sentences of varying lengths. Four persons were acquitted of all charges.

Name Sentence
Josef Altstötter 5 years, incl. time already served; released 1950; died 1979 in Nuremberg
Wilhelm von Ammon(de) 10 years, incl. time already served; released January 31 1951 by John J. McCloy; died 1992
Paul Barnickel(de) acquitted; died 1966 in Munich
Hermann Cuhorst(de) acquitted; died 1991 in Kressbronn am Bodensee
Karl Engert(de) mistrial declared due to illness; died 8 September 1951
Günther Joël(de) 10 years, incl. time already served, released January 31, 1951; died May 12, 1978
Herbert Klemm(de) lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 20 years released 1956. time of death unknown
Ernst Lautz(de) 10 years, incl. time already served-released January 1951; died 1979 in Lübeck
Wolfgang Mettgenberg(de) 10 years, incl. time already served; died 1950 in Landsberg Prison
Günther Nebelung(de) acquitted; died 1970 in Seesen
Rudolf Oeschey(de) lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 20 years released 1956; died September 12, 1980 in Neuss
Hans Petersen(de) acquitted; died in 1963
Oswald Rothaug lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 20 years and released 22 December 1956; died 1967 in Cologne
Curt Rothenberger 7 years, incl. time already served; released 1950. died 1959 in Hamburg
Franz Schlegelberger lifetime imprisonment; released 1950 for “Health reasons”; died 1970 in Flensburg
Carl We

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committed suicide 1946 after the indictment, but before the beginning of the trial. 



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