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Patricia Anne Donahue Appointed as United States Magistrate Judge for the Central District of California

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The United States District Court for the Central District of California announces the appointment of Patricia Anne Donahue as a United States Magistrate Judge. Judge Donahue, who was sworn-in on May 4, 2020, will sit in Los Angeles, the Court’s Western Division. Judge Donahue succeeds former Magistrate Judge Frederick F. Mumm.

Before her appointment as a Magistrate Judge, Judge Donahue served with distinction as an Assistant United States Attorney since 1991. As an Assistant United States Attorney, she served in a number of significant roles. From 1998 until 2002 she served as the Deputy Chief in the Major Crimes Section.  From 2002 until 2003 she served as Chief of the General Crimes Section. From 2004 until 2007 Judge Donahue was appointed Chief of the Organized Crime and Terrorism Section and its successor the Violent and Organized Crime Section. From 2007 until 2015 she was Senior Litigation Counsel.

As Chief of the National Security Division from its formation in July 2015 until September 2016, Judge Donahue supervised Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) at the command post after the San Bernardino terrorist attack and assisted in oversight of the investigation and indictments that resulted. From September 2016 until April 2017, as Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for Violent Crime, she created a program to facilitate United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) assessment of violent crime cases investigated by local law enforcement.

In April 2017, she was Senior Litigation Counsel in the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section where she frequently trained and advised AUSAs on the handling of cases involving competency and mental health issues. In April 2018, she served as the Chief of Trials, Integrity and Professionalism. There she advised and trained AUSAs on professional responsibility rules, ethical obligations, criminal discovery and trial preparation, as well as prosecutorial misconduct issues.

In 1990, Judge Donahue obtained a grant to start the SAFE Team, a task force focused on sex crimes against children. It was one of the first such task forces in the country and is still thriving today. She was given the opportunity to participate in the Attorney General's Advisory Committee Child Exploitation Working Group. She researched and prepared draft guidance and protocols for investigations and prosecutions of cyber-enabled crimes against children. More recently, she spearheaded the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses and enhanced the USAO program to combat human trafficking. She also spearheaded the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses and enhanced the USAO program to combat human trafficking.

As a result of Judge Donahue’s deep commitment to justice, she received a number of awards. Some of these awards include: Recognized by the FBI for Outstanding Contribution in the Disruption of the Terrorist Organization known as Jam’Iyyat Ul-Islam is-Saheeh (JIS), Resulting in Disruption of Violent, Terrorist-Related Attacks in the Los Angeles Area (2006); The Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award (2009); and the International Achievement Award for Extraordinary Performance of Duties and Achievement of Special Accomplishments that Enhance the Mission of Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (2010).

Regarding her career working for the USAO she said, “I have had the privilege of representing the United States in criminal cases for almost my entire career. My goal in every case is not to win, but to do justice. This principle guides me in every matter…. It underpins all of my advice to the United States Attorney, AUSAs, and investigators.”

Judge Donahue’s volunteer activities include serving on the Board of Governors of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) for a number of years. She held several positions, including chair of the Scholarship Selection and Communications Committees and co-chair of the Criminal Justice and Law Student Mentoring Committees.

Judge Donahue received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Including the position now occupied by Judge Donahue, the Central District of California has 24 authorized full-time Magistrate Judges and one part-time position. The Central District of California is comprised of the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. It serves approximately 19.6 million people – nearly half the population of the State of California.