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|Current Court Information:|
|United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa|
|Appointed by:||Bill Clinton|
|Active:||May 27, 1997 - 7/1/2012|
|Chief:||2006 - 2011|
|Senior:||7/1/2012 - Present|
|Preceded by:||Harold Vietor|
|Succeeded by:||Stephanie Rose|
|Undergraduate:||Loras College, B.A., 1969|
|Law School:||Creighton U. School of Law, J.D., 1972|
Robert Pratt is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. He joined the court in 1997 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. Pratt served as the Chief Judge of the Court from 2006-2011. On July 1, 2012 Judge Pratt assumed senior status after serving on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa for 15 years.
Early life and education
Born in Emmetsburg, Iowa, Pratt graduated from Iowa Lakes Community College with his Associate degree in 1967 and later graduated from Loras College, in Duboque, Iowa in 1969. Pratt obtained his Juris Doctor degree from from Creighton University School of Law in 1972.
Pratt was a Staff Attorney for the Polk County Legal Aid Society assisting low-income and indigent clients from 1973 to 1974 before entering private practice in the State of Iowa from 1975 to 1997.
Southern District of Iowa
On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, Pratt was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa by President Bill Clinton on January 7, 1997 to a seat vacated by Harold Vietor. Pratt was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 23, 1997 and received commission on May 27, 1997. On July 1, 2012 Judge Pratt assumed senior status after serving on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa for 15 years. He was succeeded to this post by Stephanie Rose.
Central Iowa jobs agency misspends $2.5M on bonuses (2009)United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (United States, v Ramona Cunningham, 4:07-cr-00008-RP-RAW)
Judge Pratt presided over the trial of Ramona Cunningham, the former chief executive of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium. She was charged with fraud, obstruction and conspiracy for her role as ringleader in a scam that misspent approximately $2.5 million in Iowa public funds. The state funds, intended for job training, were misspent to boost administrative salaries and give bonuses to Cunningham and other administrators in the Consortium between 2003 and 2006.
Cunningham pleaded guilty, and on January 23, 2009, Judge Pratt sentenced her to an 84 month prison sentence. Cunningham later appealed to the Eighth Circuit, but the panel ruled against her, affirming Judge Pratt's sentence.
In June of 2012, Judge Robert Pratt granted the federal government’s petition to seize the $2,700 monthly pension of Ramona Cunningham. Judge Pratt found that 100% of Cunningham’s pension may be garnished by the federal government while she is incarcerated, but that under federal law only 25% may be seized for restitution upon her release. The money will go toward the $1.65 million restitution that she and a co-defendant have been ordered to pay. Before the court order, federal prosecutors had also filed garnishment documents on Cunningham's daughter, ordering her to provide an accounting of items she may have that belong to her mother and what they are worth.
At the time Judge Pratt granted the garnishment petition, Cunningham had only paid $1,111 towards the restitution, even though she had received over $153,000 in pension payments while in prison. Her attorneys previously resisted moves by the government to seize her pension.
- A link to the Eighth Circuit's ruling on appeal may be found here.
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
- News: Chief Judge Pratt to retire from federal district court in Iowa, July 12, 2011
- Judge Robert Pratt's FJC Bio
- Bloomberg Businessweek, "Judge: Feds can seize pension of former Iowa jobs agency executive blamed for spending scandal," June 12, 2012
- RadioIowa, "Appeals court upholds sentence for former CIETC leader," February 5, 2010
- The Des Moines Register, "Seeking pension money, feds file garnishment papers on Ramona Cunningham's daughter," April 2, 2012
|Federal judicial offices|
|Southern District of Iowa
|Magistrate judges||Celeste Bremer • Ross Walters • Helen C. Adams •|
|Former Article III judges||
James M. Love • John Simson Woolson • Smith McPherson • Martin Joseph Wade • Charles Almon Dewey • William Stuart • William Hanson • Edwin Hicklin • Roy Stephenson • Carroll Switzer • William F. Riley •
|Former Chief judges|