New U.S. District Judge Kirk E. Sherriff with outgoing Chief Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman

Wednesday, February 7th, was a good day for the Eastern District. In the morning, the President signed the commission appointing Kirk Edward Sherriff to serve as a U.S. District Judge, and Chief Judge Kimberly J. Mueller administered the oath to him at 1 p.m. Judge Sherriff will serve in the Robert E. Coyle U.S. Courthouse in Fresno beginning immediately. The court will begin to reassign cases to him soon. His appointment fills the one vacancy that had been remaining on the court’s Article III bench since Judge Ana de Alba’s elevation to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 13, 2023. 

In the afternoon, the court celebrated the lengthy and distinguished service of Chief Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman. The District Judges appointed Judge Newman in February 2010, and he served as Chief Magistrate Judge for the last three years. Several hundred people gathered in the rotunda of the Robert T. Matsui U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento to thank him for his service and wish him well as he leaves the bench. As a parting gift, Chief Judge Mueller presented Judge Newman with his formal portrait, which had hung in the Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Library and Learning Center. The District Judges will appoint Judge Newman’s successor soon, upon completion of the required background checks. 

With Judge Newman’s departure, the role of Chief Magistrate Judge passes to Judge Carolyn K. Delaney, who has served as a Magistrate Judge in the Sacramento Matsui Courthouse since August 2011.  

Last but not least, also on Wednesday morning, the President announced his intent to nominate Judge Dena Michaela Coggins to fill the vacancy that will be created upon Chief Judge Mueller’s taking Senior Status in September 2024. Judge Coggins currently serves as Presiding Judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court’s Juvenile Court. The President’s press release announcing his intent to nominate her can be found HERE. Once the President transmits Judge Coggins’ nomination to the U.S. Senate, it is anticipated the Senate Judiciary Committee will schedule a confirmation hearing as part of its role in providing advice and consent.