U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, one of the longest serving federal judges in the Eastern District of California, announced Friday that he will step down Oct. 1.
Karlton has served 35 years on the federal bench in Sacramento, where the Eastern District is based.
His status will become “inactive senior judge,” according to an email circulated Friday to the court’s judges and staff by Chief U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.
England wrote that Karlton “has dedicated the majority of his career to public service. I would like to say thank you, Judge Karlton, for your many years of service and your unwavering commitment to justice.”
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Karlton, who will be 79 next month, was plucked out of private practice in 1976 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown for appointment to the Sacramento Superior Court. Three years later, President Jimmy Carter nominated him to fill a vacancy on the federal district court.
In sharp contrast to the rancorous political delays that mar the present-day process, Karlton was confirmed by the U.S. Senate seven weeks later and took his seat on July 24, 1979.