Federal Courts District Update – July 2023

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For more federal courts content, please see the Quarterly Federal Courts Committee Newsletter. This quarter’s newsletter includes an interview with Judge Schopler, one of two recently appointed District Judges in Southern District of California and a memoriam for Judge Lew of the Central District by his former law clerks.

If you are interested in applying to join the Federal Courts Committee, please apply at

Southern District Of California

Penalties for misdemeanor and petty offenses: The Court updated its policy regarding penalties for misdemeanor and petty offenses and forfeiture of collateral. (GO 203-P.)

Judicial Appointments: On June 20, 2023, the Southern District appointed the Honrable Steve B. Chu as the newest U.S. Magistrate Judge. He will be based in San Diego. (GO 751.)

Local Rules: On March 16 and May 10, 2023, amendments to Civil Local Rules 16.1(Pretrial and Setting for Trial) and 40.1(Assignment of Civil Cases) and Criminal Local Rules 16.1a (Meet and Confer Requirement) and 57.2.1 (Related Cases) took effect. (GO 748 and 749.)

Central District of California

Judicial Appointments: On June 13, 2023, the Senate confirmed Superior Court Judge Hernán D. Vera’s appointment to serve as District Judge for Central District. Judge Vera served as a Superior Court Judge since 2020. Before that, he had a career that included work at Bird Marella P.C., Public Counsel, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF). Judge Vera will preside in Los Angeles in the Court’s Western Division. (Press Release.)

Civics Contest Winners:
The District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the Central District hosted a civics contest for students in grades nine through twelve, in conjunction the Ninth Circuit’s civics contest. This year’s Contest invited students to propose new Constitutional amendments.

The following students won the district’s top prizes for essay submissions:

  • David Estrada of Windward School (First place);
  • Jason Sioeng of Arcadia High School (Second place); and
  • Courtney Tetteh-Martey of Sage Hill School (Third place).

The following students won the district’s top prizes for video submissions:

  • Diego Garcia and Alexander Carney of Orange County School of the Arts (First place) and
  • Devin Huynh of Dr. Richard A. Vladovic Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy (Second place).

These students’ essays and videos were automatically entered into the Ninth Circuit Civics Contest to compete with winners from all other districts in the Ninth Circuit. (Press Release.)

Eastern District of California

Judicial Appointments: The Eastern District of California District Court reappointed United States Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean for another full term, effective October 12, 2023.

Northern District of California

Judicial Appointments: On June 14, 2023, P. Casey Pitts was confirmed by the Senate to serve as District Judge for the Northern District of California. Judge Pitts will sit in the San Jose Division, taking the judgeship vacated when Judge Lucy Koh was elevated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Pitts was most recently a partner at Altshuler Berzon LLP where he worked since 2009.

Local Rules: The judges of the Northern District of California have approved proposed substantive revisions to a number of Civil Local Rules and a Criminal Local Rule. The proposed revisions can be found here. Public comments may be submitted until July 10, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. PDT via email to

Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives: The Northern District of California is currently accepting applications to serve as a Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative. Applications are due on August 10, 2023, and information regarding applying can be found here.

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