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Wright Allen goes on bench

Paul Fletcher//November 7, 2011

Wright Allen goes on bench

Paul Fletcher//November 7, 2011//

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Arenda L. Wright Allen took the oath of office as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District on Oct. 27.

She becomes the first African-American woman to sit on the federal bench in Virginia. She had been an assistant federal public defender in Norfolk. She also served as an assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuting cases in Roanoke, and in the Navy JAG Corps.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb nominated her in June 2010 and President Obama sent her name to the U.S. Senate. She was confirmed by the Senate unanimously in May 2011.

At the time of her confirmation, Warner hailed her “impressive record of public service in the JAG Corps, as an assistant federal prosecutor in Roanoke and Norfolk, and now as an assistant federal public defender.”

Webb said then, “[Wright Allen] not only received the highest ratings from Virginia’s bar associations, but she has a wide breadth of experience….She is highly regarded for both her prosecutorial and criminal defense work.”

The new judge is a 1985 graduate of the North Carolina Central University law school; she earned her undergraduate degree from Kutztown State College in Pennsylvania.

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