Ronald Buckwalter

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Ronald Buckwalter
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #12
Service:
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   03/12/1990 - 12/10/2003
Senior:   12/11/2003 - Present
Preceded by:   Charles Weiner
Succeeded by:   Lawrence Stengel
Past post:   Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, Judge
Past term:   1980 - 1990
Personal History
Born:   1936
Hometown:   Lancaster, PA
Undergraduate:   Franklin and Marshall College, A.B., 1958
Law School:   College of William and Mary Law, B.C.L., 1962

Ronald Lawrence Buckwalter is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He joined the court in 1990 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. He is serving on senior status.

Early life and education

A native Pennsylvanian, Buckwalter graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with his bachelor's degree in 1958 and later graduated from the College of William and Mary School of Law with his Law degree in 1962.[1]

Professional career

Buckwalter became a private practice attorney licensed in the State of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1980 and also served as a Legal aid attorney in the Lancaster Area from 1964 to 1966 assisting low income clients. Also, Buckwalter had a stint as a Law Clerk for Common Pleas judges John Bowman and Anthony Appel in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas from 1966 to 1970.[1]

In 1970, Buckwalter worked as Assistant district attorney for Lancaster County from 1970 to 1978 and then Lead District attorney for Lancaster County from 1978 to 1980. Before serving as a federal judge, Buckwalter was a Common Pleas Judge in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas from 1980 to 1990.[1]

Judicial career

Eastern District of Pennsylvania

On the recommendation of Pennsylvania U.S. Senators John Heinz III and Arlen Specter Buckwalter was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on November 17, 1989 to a seat vacated by Charles Weiner as Weiner assumed senior status. Buckwalter was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 9, 1990 on a Senate vote and received commission on March 12, 1990. Buckwalter assumed senior status on December 11, 2003. Buckwalter was succeeded in this position by Lawrence Stengel.[1]

Notable cases

Vince Fumo case: State Senator guilty of fraud (2009)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (United States, v. Vincent J. Fumo, et al., cr-06-319)

On July 9, 2009, Judge Buckwalter rejected Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent J. Fumo's bid for a new trial, saying a defense request to explore whether jurors had learned prejudicial facts about Fumo was a "fishing expedition". Judge Buckwalter stated that granting a new trial would needlessly "undermine the finality of the jury verdict" during a trial that lasted five months.[2]

Fumo, a once-powerful Democratic senator, was convicted in March of all 137 counts against him on corruption charges. The charges against Fumo were defrauding the Pennsylvania Senate by getting staffers to do campaign business on state time, and defrauding two nonprofits, the Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods and the Independence Seaport Museum. Fumo was also convicted of orchestrating a massive cover-up scheme in which he instructed key staffers to systematically erase thousands of e-mails to and from Fumo. Fumo and his staffers were found to use a sophisticated method designed to make it impossible for the FBI to retrieve the e-mails when the computers were seized to investigate campaigning on state time.[3]

Even though Judge Buckwalter is serving on senior status, he became the presiding judge of the trial after fellow judge William Yohn became seriously ill during jury selection in September of 2008 which delayed the trial.[3]

Fumo's defense team sought a hearing on July 2, 2009 after learning about juror comments from a freelance writer for Philadelphia Magazine, which posted an article about the trial on its Web site this week.[2]

Buckwalter sentenced Fumo to 55 months (4 years, 7 months) in federal prison on July 14, 2009. The judge received harsh criticism from many parties for what was perceived as a sharply and unjustifiedly reduced sentence. The sentence amounts to just 12 days per felony.[4][5]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Charles Weiner
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
1990–2003
Seat #12
Succeeded by:
Lawrence Stengel


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