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Who Is Federal Judge Lawrence Karlton?

Farmers never felt they had a chance for a fair and balanced trial with Karlton on the bench and therefore were forced into making a deal with environmentalists

Jul 16, 2013

Below is a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times about Federal District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton's participation in a 3-judge panel ordering the release of thousands of California prisoners from their cells and back into society. We don't make it a habit to write about federal decisions about prisons, but would like to point out it was Judge Karlton on the bench for the debate about San Joaquin River Restoration. Farmers never felt they had a chance for a fair and balanced trial with Karlton on the bench and therefore were forced into making a deal with environmentalists rather than allowing the judge to make a ruling.

Much that happens in our lives is controlled by judges. There is nothing wrong with this in theory, but it matters who the judges are. In the case of Judge Karlton, he's been involved in some controversial decisions like the river restoratiom, like the prisoner releases and the 'Pledge' case cited below. Just in case you're wondering, the other judges on the 3-judge panel deciding prisoner release are Thelton Hendersen and Stephen Reinhardt. In 1982 Henderson overturned the conviction of Johnny Spain, the only member of The San Quentin Six convicted of murder for the deaths of three California Correctional Peace Officers and two inmates. Reinhardt is known as one of the most liberal judges on the courts of appeals. His decisions are "reversed more often than most" judges before the Supreme Court. In 2003, Reinhardt admitted that he "was a liberal from a very young age." "I think I was born that way", he said.


As they say, it is what it is.



Letter to Editor/L.A. Times

prosecutor

People in LA usually don't know who Sacramento Federal Judge Lawrence Karlton is. I mean, there are lots of Federal District Court judges in California.

Unfortunately, I know Larry, having appeared before him as a state prosecutor on several occasions before I retired. To put it bluntly, this guy is a left-wing loon who hates law enforcement and indeed, hates most things the government is tasked with doing to enforce criminal laws and criminal sanctions. You know, like incarcerating felons. For those of you who don't know, Larry is best known as the judge who enjoined students from reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance" and was later overruled.

And Larry has struck still again . . . and of course because he is a Federal judge, there isn't a single thing you can do about his life tenure.

 

Dam Violates California Law, Federal Judge Rules

Decision involving Friant Dam, near Fresno, could restore water to the San Joaquin River. Farmers get the water now.

August 29, 2004|Terence Chea | Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge ruled Friday that the U.S. government violated California law when it built the Friant Dam near Fresno six decades ago, a decision that could settle a 16-year-old water dispute and restore water flows to the state's second longest river.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton in Sacramento decided in favor of environmentalists who sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Friant Water Users Authority in 1988 over the dam on the San Joaquin River.

In the lawsuit, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups contended that the defendants violated state law by failing to release enough water to sustain the surrounding environment and wildlife.

Karlton wrote: "There can be no genuine dispute that many miles of the San Joaquin River are now entirely dry, except during extremely wet periods, and that the historic fish populations have been destroyed."

The river supported thousands of spawning Chinook salmon and other fish before the Bureau of Reclamation built Friant Dam, about 20 miles northeast of Fresno, in the 1940s.

The water now collects in Millerton Lake and provides irrigation to about 15,000 farmers and 1 million acres of farmland east of the river.

But the dam diverts so much water that long stretches of the river run dry most of the year.

Environmentalists argued that the river could be restored without hurting the region's farm economy, while opponents claimed that restoring the river for salmon would take water away from farmers and residents.

Officials with the Natural Resources Defense Council said they were thrilled with Karlton's decision, which could send water through the dam for the first time in more than 50 years.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns and operates the dam, wouldn't comment until its attorneys had a chance to review the judge's decision.

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