In many ways, the changes were largely administrative. The judges from the Northern and Southern Districts previously sitting in Sacramento (Judges Halbert and MacBride) and Fresno (Judge Crocker) became United States District Judges for the Eastern District of California. All court employees of the old Northern and Southern Districts working in Sacramento or Fresno as of September 18, 1966 became employees of the Eastern District. New civil cases filed after September 18, 1966 were assigned a new sequence of numbers. In Sacramento, instead of the four digit numbers previously assigned, the cases began to be numbered Civ. S-1, and in Fresno the new cases began to be numbered Civ. F-2, etc. New criminal cases charging crimes committed before September 18, 1966, still had to carry an Northern or Southern District number, but if the crime was committed after September 18, 1966, they too were assigned a new Cr. S-1 or Cr. F-1, et seq. number.
The most significant substantive change was that a new United States Attorney and United States Marshal had to be appointed. So on September 18, 1966, John P. Hyland took the oath as the first United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California, and John Begovitch took the oath as its first United States Marshal. The Assistant U.S. Attorneys previously working in Sacramento (there were none working full time in Fresno) became Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern District of California, and the Deputy Marshals previously working in Sacramento and Fresno became Deputy U.S. Marshals for the Eastern District of California.
In many ways, the first day was routine, but all of us who were there at the time seemed to recognize that we were participating in an historical event.
Fifty years later, on Friday, September 16, 2016, the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, along with the Sacramento Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, sponsored a panel discussion and reception to celebrate the first half century of the District. Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy participated with Senior District Judge William B. Shubb in the hour long panel discussion moderated by Breann M. Moebius. The video of that discussion may be viewed above.
© 2015 United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Historical Society.