Read this week's JP Election Brief:
Top judicial races for election day


Robert Pratt

From Judgepedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Robert Pratt
Placeholder image.png
Do you have a photo that could go here? Submit it for this profile by emailing us!
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #3T
Service:
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
Personal History
Born:   1947
Hometown:   Emmetsburg, IA
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.[1]

Professional career

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.[1]

Judicial career

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.[1] He was succeeded to this post by Stephanie Rose.

Notable cases

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[2] 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.[4]

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.[2]

  • A link to the Eighth Circuit's ruling on appeal may be found here.

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Harold Vietor
Southern District of Iowa
1997–2012
Seat #3T
Succeeded by:
Stephanie Rose


IowaIowa Supreme CourtIowa Court of AppealsIowa district courtsUnited States District Court for the Northern District of IowaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of IowaUnited States bankruptcy court, Northern District of IowaUnited States bankruptcy court, Southern District of IowaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitIowa countiesIowa judicial newsIowa judicial electionsJudicial selection in IowaIowaTemplate.jpg