President nominates Sacramento judge to U.S. District Court

The White House announced Wednesday that U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd of Sacramento has been nominated by President Barack Obama for elevation to the U.S. District Court in Fresno.

The Fresno bench, part of the Sacramento-based Eastern (Judicial) District of California, is down to two district judges, only one of whom carries a full caseload.

Drozd, 59, would fill a vacancy created when U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii took senior status two years ago and, on Jan. 1, exercised his option as a senior judge to reduce his caseload by half.

Drozd declined to comment Wednesday.

He still faces an FBI background investigation. Drozd was subjected to one in 1997, when he was appointed by the full-time district judges to the magistrate bench.

Nomination for the lifetime appointment must be approved by the U.S. Senate, first by its Judiciary Committee and then by the full body.

U.S. senators recommend to the president candidates for district court judgeships in the senators’ respective states. The position pays $199,100 annually.

It was also announced Wednesday that the president has nominated LaShann Moutique DeArcy Hall, a partner at the international law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP, to a seat on the federal district court in Brooklyn in the Eastern District of New York.

“I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench,” Obama is quoted as saying in a White House press release. “They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court.”

Drozd was in private practice, primarily criminal defense, for 14 years, first in San Francisco and then in Sacramento.

He began his legal career in Sacramento as a law clerk from 1980 to 1982 for now-retired U. S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, who stepped down Sept. 30 after 35 years on the federal bench.

Drozd received his law degree with honors in 1980 from the UCLA School of Law. He earned an undergraduate degree magna cum laude in 1977 from San Diego State University.

Call The Bee’s Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.