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Lawrence Piersol

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Lawrence Piersol
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of South Dakota
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #3
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   11/22/1993 - 7/31/2009
Chief:   1999 - 2005
Senior:   7/31/2009 - Present
Preceded by:   Donald Porter
Succeeded by:   Jeffrey Viken
Personal History
Born:   1940
Hometown:   Vermillion, SD
Undergraduate:   University of South Dakota, B.A., 1962
Law School:   University of South Dakota School of Law, J.D., 1965
Grad. School:   U.S. Army 1965 - 1968

Lawrence L. Piersol is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota. He joined the court in 1993 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. Piersol assumed senior status on June 30, 2009.[1]

Early life and education

Piersol graduated from the University of South Dakota with both his bachelor's and Juris Doctor Degrees in 1962 and 1965. From 1965 to 1968, Piersol served from 1965 to 1968 in the Army JAG.[1]

Professional career

After serving in the military and law school, Piersol spent his pre-judicial legal career in private practice from 1968 to 1993.[1]

Judicial career

District of South Dakota

On the recommendation of Senator Tom Daschle, Piersol was nominated by President Bill Clinton on August 6, 1993 to a seat vacated by Donald Porter. Piersol was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 20, 1993 and received commission on November 22, 1993. Piersol served as the chief judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota from 1999 to 2005.[1]

Notable cases

Iowa man threatens fed. judge (2009)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa (United States, v. Robert Emil Swanson, 2009 WL 1052945)

Piersol sentenced a Iowa man for threatening federal judge Linda Reade of Northern District of Iowa. The case was heard in South Dakota as judges in both the Northern District of Iowa and Southern District of Iowa recused themselves in the case including Judge Reade.[2]

Robert E. Swanson, who was convicted of threatening Judge Reade, faced a minimum of two years under federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors pushed for a harsher term because of his criminal record, which included a 1974 rape conviction, a 1980 sex assault and a 1986 assault.[2]

Judge Piersol commented that "Swanson's past crimes should be considered, even though they weren't included in the guidelines." Federal prosecutor Matthew Whitaker concurred with Piersol saying: "because they were so long ago ... that skewed his history and made him seem less dangerous than he really was." Judge Piersol sentenced Swanson to eight years in federal prison.[2]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Donald Porter
District of South Dakota
Seat #3
Succeeded by:
Jeffrey Viken