Chief Judge Hilda Margaret McGruder was the first female Chief Judge of Mega-City One and the first Judge of Mega-City One to become Chief Judge twice (in 2104–2108 and 2112–2116). Before she took control, she'd been a member of the Special Judicial Squad: the Judge's feared internal affairs branch.
Judge McGruder worked her way up to running the SJS after Cal's defeat. She served on Griffin's Council of Five representing her Division and in 2103, she was one of the voices against Dredd's decision to abandon the Judge Child. She even went as far as to say Dredd's very judgment was in question.
In the first hours of the Apocalypse War, McGruder was missing and presumed dead. She later resurfaced to fight the East Meg One forces, despite a bad head wound. As the only surviving Council member, she replaced the deceased Griffin as Chief Judge.
The first two years of the McGruder Justice Department was spent trying to restore the wrecked city: her first order was compulsory work assignments to all surviving citizens. Her mind changed about Dredd and she kept him as a close adviser.
McGruder resigned after four years in office following the Seven Samurai, blaming herself for a massacre she thought she could have prevented - her final act was to dismiss the three Council members who disagreed with her decision, saying this proved they were incapable of proper judgement! She took the Long Walk into the Cursed Earth, leaving the replacement Council of Five to decide on the new Chief Judge.
Four years in the Cursed Earth had had a damaging effect on her mental health, leaving her with a volatile temper, cruder mannerisms and (it was implied) a degree of multiple personality syndrome as she began referring to herself as "we". She also looked visibly older and her facial hair began to grow unchecked. (A Senior Judge raised the issue of the beard early into her reign - she said she'd "take it under consideration", then kept it until deciding to shave on New Year's Eve, 2114).
In 2112 she ran into Dredd during the Necropolis crisis (ambushing his transport on assumption it contained criminals) and returned with him to fight the Dark Judges. With Chief Judge Thomas Silver missing and presumed dead, she subsequently returned to the office of chief judge.
Her first task was to once more get the city and Judge force back on their feet, as well as to deal with all the dead. She decided not to appoint a new Council of Five, but instead take advice from any and all Senior Judges when the time came; in an early such discussion, on Dredd's advice, she agreed to a public referendum over whether the Judges should continue to rule the city. The circumstances of her return to office caused a constitutional crisis in the following year, when an undead Silver returned to reclaim the office which he asserted was rightfully his. The dispute was settled by Dredd himself, who ruled in Silver's favour, before executing Silver's zombie for gross dereliction of duty during the Necropolis incident.
She would go on to lead Mega-City One during the Judgement Day crisis, personally fighting the zombie hordes on two occasion. In foreign policy, she carried on a period of glasnost with the Sov Block until the assassination of Supreme Judge Traktorfactori; having Dredd cut off the sugar supply from the Pan-Andes Conurb (and commit regime change); and brought Murphyville into the Judicial Charter.
However, following Judgement Day her second term became increasingly beset with doubts about the quality of her leadership and her sanity. (Med-Judges were aware by 2116 that she had severe lesions on her brain but kept it quiet due to her rank.) To cover up the losses of Judges from the recent crises, she began a programme of robot Judges which went disastrously wrong. However, she kept trying to revive the Mechanismo project despite clear evidence it was unworkable, and without a formal body like the Council of Five there was no way to oppose her if she would not listen to advice. In 2116 a deputation of senior judges - including Dredd - attempted to persuade her to reform the Council (with a view to then removing her from office), but they were unsuccessful, partly as she realised they'd try to do away with her. She also oversaw an attempt to remotely control the alien dune sharks in the Cursed Earth, though even the scientists working on this had no idea why she wanted it done.
Her final attempt to revive Mechanismo caused the robots themselves to try and assassinate her. By this point, Dredd was under arrest for his unlawful attempts to stop the project and McGruder's growing madness had embarrassed her on a tour of the colony world Hestia. When the assassination attempt was uncovered, and when Dredd was the sole reason she (and others) survived it, she pardoned him, scrapped the project, and agreed to stand down from office. She was succeeded by Hadrian Volt.
Declining to take the Long Walk again, she became a civilian and decided to write her memoirs. She embarked on a lecture tour but this took a toll on her health, and in late 2117 she was rushed to hospital and found to have severe Alzheimer's. When Dredd visited her in hospital, she could not remember why he was in the room from minute to minute and was unclear she'd retired.
Her mental health rapidly deteriorated even further. When Judge Dredd heard that she had been scheduled for compulsory euthanasia he abducted her and led her to a more honourable death fighting criminals in the Cursed Earth. The facts of her death were covered up.
A Mega-City One battleship and a street were named after her in her honour. In 2128, the city's new K3000 Superheavy-Class Tac-Wagon was nicknamed the McGruder (as it 'took no stomm').
- ↑ Killing Time