Chief Probation Officers

Prior to the Probation Act of 1925, the administration of federal probation was the responsibility of the Attorney General, and supervision of probationers was the direct responsibility of the superintendent of prisons. Federal probation officers then answered both to the Attorney General, who set their salaries and provided for expenses, and the judges who appointed them.

The Probation Act of 1925 gave the courts the power to suspend the imposition or execution of sentence and place defendants on probation for such period and on such terms and conditions as they deemed best. The Act also authorized courts to appoint one or more persons to serve as probation officers without compensation and one salaried probation officer. This arrangement changed in 1940, when general oversight of the probation system was transferred from the Federal Bureau of Prisons to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

Today, the probation office assists the court by preparing reports that our judges rely upon to make sentencing decisions and supervising persons released to the community by the courts and paroling authorities. Probation Officers are considered the "eyes and ears" of the federal courts through their gathering and verification of information about persons who come before the courts and supervision of persons convicted of federal crimes.

When the Eastern Distict of California was created in 1966, the federal probation officers of the Northern District of California who were previously assigned to the Sacramento office became the first probation officers for the newly formed Eastern District. Richard C. Nicholson, who was the most senior officer in the Sacramento office, became the District's first chief, supervising six officers. His picture is not shown on this page. However, photos of the seven chief probation officers who succeeded him are shown below.

JOHN DOUVILLE

1971-1983

CHARLIE VARNON

1983-1993

WILLIAM BARRETT

1993-1996

EUGENE NATALI

1996-1999

SUE SORUM

1999-2005

JAY CRADDOCK

2005-2009

RICH ERTOLA

2009-present



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2005 United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Historical Society.