Judge Sherriff may have an odd ring, but it could be the next career step for Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Sherriff.
President Joe Biden nominated Sherriff as the next federal judge for the Eastern District of California on Wednesday.
The move could require a re-location for Sherriff — by three floors. His office at the Coyle U.S. Courthouse in downtown Fresno is on the fourth floor; the judge’s courtrooms are on the seventh.
Sherriff, a 55-year-old Fresno Democrat, has been in the U.S. Attorney’s office since 2002 and served as the chief of the Fresno office since 2015. Previously, he served in private practice in New York and Paris.
As chief, Sherriff manages and supervises the Fresno operations. A news release says “he is actively involved in investigations and litigation, focusing on fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and certain violent crimes.”
Sheriff graduated from Columbia and earned his juris doctorate from Harvard in 1995. Before entering law, Sheriff worked as a public high school teacher in Mississippi.
The nomination earned the praise of California’s U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein.
“(Sherriff) has established deep roots in the Eastern District and has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to public service throughout his time with the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he gained both civil and criminal litigation experience. Sherriff has a strong reputation in the legal community for being fair, sharp, and incredibly hard-working, and we look forward to working with our colleagues to swiftly confirm his nomination,” the senators said in a joint statement.
Building a Bench
The Eastern District has long been criticized for its shortage of full-time active judges. Judges Jennifer Thurston and Dale Drozd operate out of the Fresno courthouse. Sherriff would replace the third judge, Ana de Alba, whose nomination is pending for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Earlier this year, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, introduced a federal law to add five judges to the district spanning 34 counties from the Oregon border through Kern County.
The Senate Judiciary Committee would hold a hearing on Sherriff’s nomination. His nomination would then carry to the full U.S. Senate for a vote.