Patti Saris Transitioning To Senior Judge In Fed Court

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By Colin A. Young
State House News Service

Veteran U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris plans to retire from regular active service upon the appointment of her successor, and to serve as a senior judge.

Saris, who was appointed to the court in 1993, has advised President Joe Biden of her plans, the court announced Wednesday, November 22.

Saris served as chief judge from 2013 to 2019 and was the U.S. Sentencing Commission chairman from 2011 to 2017.

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1976, Saris clerked for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and then went into private practice. In 1979, she worked as staff counsel for U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy while Kennedy chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. She went on to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney, U.S. magistrate judge, and Superior Court justice.

“She has been a thoughtful, intelligent, and highly respected trial judge; a national leader on a host of issues, particularly criminal sentencing; a dedicated teacher and mentor; a forceful and effective leader of the court; and a wise and beloved colleague and counselor,” Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV said in a written statement. “All of us have been touched by her infectious enthusiasm, friendship, and good cheer. In addition, her prodigious energy is legendary. For several years, she effectively held three full-time jobs:  she was both Chief Judge of the United States District Court and Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, while continuing to carry a heavy caseload as a District Judge – and all while continuing to perform public service in a variety of other ways. Her legacy as a judge, teacher, and public servant will be felt throughout the legal community for generations.”


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