The United States District Court for the Central District of California announces the selection of Alka Sagar and Douglas F. McCormick as United States Magistrate Judges. Judge Sagar, who became the first Indian-American female federal judge in the nation when she was sworn in on August 21, will sit in Los Angeles in the Court’s Western Division, filling the position vacated by former Magistrate Judge Fernando M. Olguin when he was appointed as a District Judge in January 2013. Judge McCormick, who was sworn in on August 23, will sit in Santa Ana in the Court’s Southern Division, filling the position vacated by former Magistrate Judge Marc L. Goldman, who retired in April 2013.
Prior to her selection as a Magistrate Judge, Judge Sagar had served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles since 1987, serving as a Deputy Chief in the former Major Crimes Section since 1991 and as a Deputy Chief in the office’s Major Frauds Section since 2001. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Judge Sagar handled and supervised complex fraud, money laundering, and criminal tax matters from investigation through prosecution and appellate review, and was the recipient of an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for her prosecution of over 70 lawyers and doctors involved in a kickback scheme. From 2004 to 2006, she also served as a judge pro tem for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Judge Sagar was an associate at two law firms in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1981, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 1984.
Prior to his selection as a Magistrate Judge, Judge McCormick had served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney's Office in Santa Ana since 2001, and as a Deputy Chief of that office since 2007. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Judge McCormick handled criminal cases at all stages from investigation through trial and appellate review, including the successful prosecution of seven corporate executives under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the prosecution of 29 defendants related to the Mexican Mafia’s control of gang activity on the streets and in the jails of Orange County. In 2008, Judge McCormick received an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his work on a domestic terrorism case against four members of a prison-based group plotting to attack military recruiting centers and synagogues. Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, he worked at Latham & Watkins in Orange County. Judge McCormick served as a law clerk to the Honorable Charles E. Wiggins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1996 to 1997 and to the Honorable Gary L. Taylor of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California from 1995 to 1996. He received his B.A. in 1991 from the University of California, Irvine, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. in 1995 from the UCLA School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.
Including the positions now occupied by Judge Sagar and Judge McCormick, the Central District of California has 24 authorized full-time and one part-time Magistrate Judge positions. The duties of Magistrate Judges include conducting preliminary proceedings in criminal cases, the trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases, conducting discovery and various other pretrial hearings in civil cases, the trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants, and other matters as may be assigned. Magistrate Judges are appointed for a term of eight years, and can be reappointed to additional terms.
The Magistrate Judge position requires a minimum of five years as a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state, and at least five years of active practice of law. The rigorous selection process, which is governed by statute and by regulations adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States, includes detailed background reviews and interviews before a Merit Selection Panel consisting of attorneys and non-attorney public representatives. The Panel refers candidates to the District Court, where interviews are conducted by the District Court’s Magistrate Judges Committee. The top candidates are then referred to the full Court for review, selection, and appointment.
The Central District of California is comprised of the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo, and serves approximately 18.7 million people – nearly half the population of the state of California. In 2012, more than 17,000 cases were filed in the District.
District Court Executive and Clerk of Court