Chief Judge of Mega-City One is the title of several supporting characters in the Judge Dredd comic strip published in 2000 AD. The chief judge is dictator and head of state of Mega-City One, a fictional future city of around 400 million people in 22nd-century America. The present chief judge (as of December 2012) is Barbara Hershey.
Chief Judge is the highest rank in the Mega-City One Justice Department. The founder of the Judge System, Chief Judge Fargo, originally conceived this office as no more than the head of an elite police force whose members had powers to summarily convict and sentence criminals in 21st-century America, but following a coup d'état in 2070 the US Justice Department took control of the United States and formed a new government under the autocratic rule of the chief judge. Since then the chief judges have wielded immense power, although after the coup the USA split into three independent city-states, including Mega-City One (although the three cities had already enjoyed considerable autonomy since 2052).
Other mega-cities around the world adopted similar systems of government, usually with the same "Chief Judge" title or with a similar variation (Supreme Judge in the Soviet cities and Ciudad Barranquilla). The remainder of this article is concerned solely with Judge Dredd's city.
The concept first turned up in the very first Judge Dredd story, where the office was called the Grand Judge. The office was first called "Chief Judge" in 2000 AD prog 34.
Other articles related to "judge, chief, chief judge":
... (Jürgen Prochnow) appeared in the 1995 film Judge Dredd, with the title Chief Justice ... called McGruder and Silver appeared in the film, although they were not chief justices ... Another chief judge, unnamed, appears in the 2012 film Dredd, played by Rakie Ayola ...