Senior District Judge Thelton Henderson Set to Retire

Senior District Judge Thelton E. Henderson has informed the Court that he will step down from the bench and assume inactive status in August 2017. Judge Henderson was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to a seat vacated by Judge Cecil F. Poole and was appointed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California one month after his nomination—on June 30, 1980. Judge Henderson served a full seven-year term as Chief Judge of the court from 1990-1997 before assuming senior status on November 28, 1998. In his years on the bench, Judge Henderson became especially well-known for his work on institutional reform cases.

From left, Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, Judge Thelton Henderson and JDC’s Kelly Corcoran

Judge Henderson has been involved with the Justice & Diversity Center’s Federal Pro Bono Project since it was established in 2008. Through JDC’s partnership with the Northern District of California, judges identify low-income pro se litigants who would benefit from counsel while JDC recruits pro bono attorneys to represent them.

JDC’s Manjari Chawla, Supervising Attorney for JDC’s Federal Pro Bono Project had this to say, “Judge Henderson has been a strong supporter of the Federal Pro Bono Project since it launched in 2008. He has consistently sent litigants to our Legal Help Centers to receive legal advice and has repeatedly appointed pro bono counsel to represent individuals who could not afford an attorney. His bright presence at the annual Federal Pro Bono reception, jointly hosted by JDC and the Northern District of California, has helped draw even more volunteer attorneys to take on pro bono matters.”

To learn more about the Federal Pro Bono Project, visit