Federal Courts Update

For more federal courts  content, please see the Quarterly Federal Courts Committee Newsletter here. This quarter’s newsletter includes an interview with the Hon. Michael R. Wilner, a Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of California and an interview with Mack Jenkins, Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

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

Proposed Changes to Federal Rules

On June 7, 2022, the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure approved publication of proposed amendments to the following Federal Rules:

  • Civil Rule 12 (time to serve a responsive pleading)
  • Evidence Rules 611 (illustrative aids), 613 (impeachment by prior inconsistent statement), 801 (hearsay exception for statement of a party opponent), 804 (hearsay exception for declarations against interest), and 1006 (summaries)
  • Appellate Rules 32 (form of papers), 35 (en-banc determination), 40 (petition for panel rehearing), and Appendix on Length Limits
  • Bankruptcy Rules 1007 (Lists, Schedules, Statements, and Other Documents; Time Limits), 4004 (Grant or Denial of Discharge), 5009 (Closing Chapter 7, 12, 13, and 15 Cases), 7001, 9006 (computing and extending  time), and proposed new Rule 8023.1 (substitution of parties)

Public comments are due on February 16, 2023. (Notice.)

Southern District of California

Judicial Openings: The Southern District of California is accepting applications for two full-time United States Magistrate Judges. Applications must be received no later than December 1, 2022. (Notice.)

Judicial Changes: Lue Rodriguez Jr. was appointed to an eight-year term as a U.S. Magistrate Judge. (G.O. 745.) Before his appointment, Judge Rodriguez was civil and criminal litigator in private practice.

Central District of California

Expiration of CARES Act Findings: The Chief Judge’s authorizations for the use of video and telephone conferencing for certain criminal proceedings under the CARES Act expired on September 25, 2022. Thus, while judges may continue to hold hearings in civil cases by video or telephone conference, hearings in criminal cases will take place in-person and criminal duty matters will be handled in person. (Notice.)

Northern District of California

New Lawyer Representatives to Ninth Circuit Judicial Council: The NDCA selected the following attorneys to serve as lawyer representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, serving a term to run through 2025:

  • Valerie Banter Peo, Buchalter APC
  • David Rizk, Office of the Federal Public Defender
  • Sabita Soneji, Tycko & Zavareei LLP
  • Julie Wilenskey, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office
  • Meredith Dearborn, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Patrick Hammon, McMannis Faulkner

Clerk’s Office: As of October 1, 2022, the clerk’s office no longer accepts payments in cash.

Eastern District of California

Magistrate Judge update: On October 3, 2022, Christopher Baker will be sworn in as the new Magistrate Judge in Bakersfield. Baker previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Bankruptcy Court update: Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Sargis completed his term as Chief Bankruptcy Judge. Beginning in October, Bankruptcy Judge Frederick Clement will serve as Chief Bankruptcy Judge. 

Annual District Conference: The annual district conference is resuming this year in-person October 21-23 in Yosemite.

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