Posted: Oct 4, 2012 6:44 PM by Jay Kohn - Q2 News
BILLINGS - Montana's Chief Federal Judge, who stirred up a firestorm last year when he forwarded a racially charged email about President Barack Obama's mother, will step down next year - and take senior status.
Judge Richard Cebull's decision became known this week when his name was listed Monday on the 9th Circuit Court's Judicial Vacancy table.
Ninth Circuit Court Spokesman David Madden tells Q2 News, that Cebull announced his decision to take senior status in a letter sent to the court. Madden says Cebull's letter does not indicate a reason for his decision.
Madden did point out that a special committee appointed by 9th Circuit Judge Alan Kozinski is still actively investigating the email incident as it looks into a complaint of judicial misconduct involving Judge Cebull.
Madden confirms the special panel has held meetings, but has not yet completed its work.
Judge Cebull's office says the Judge is not commenting on his decision, and declined our request for an interview today.
Taking senior status is a frequent step for federal judges as they wind down their career. Such status allows a judge to step away from holding court sessions on a full time basis, allowing him or her to work either part-time or full-time, depending on the judge's wishes.
Cebull has been on the federal bench in Montana since 2001.
He became the state's chief judge in 2008, after serving as a U.S. Magistrate Judge from 1998 to 2001.