Lawrence K. Karlton

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Lawrence K. Karlton
For those of a similar name, see Lawrence Carlton (disambiguation).

Lawrence K. Karlton (born 1935) is a Senior United States federal judge in Sacramento, California.[1]

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935, Karlton received a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1958, at the age of 23. He was in the United States Army from 1958 to 1960, and was a Civilian legal officer at the Sacramento Army Depot from 1960 to 1962. He was in private practice in Sacramento, California from 1962 to 1976, and also litigated civil liberties cases as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. He was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown as a judge of the Superior Court of California, where he served from 1976 to 1979.[2]

On June 5, 1979, President Jimmy Carter nominated Karlton to a seat vacated by Thomas J. MacBride on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 23, 1979, and received his commission on July 24, 1979. He served as Chief Judge from 1983–1990, and as Chief Judge Emeritus until assuming senior status on May 28, 2000.

Karlton, along with Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Thelton Henderson, is a member of a special three-judge panel overseeing overcrowding in the California prison system. On April 5, 2013, Judge Karlton ruled in a 68-page decision against Governor Brown that, "this court finds that ongoing constitutional violations remain in this action and the prospective relief ordered by this court remains necessary to remedy those violations."[3][4]

On June 20, 2013 Judge Karlton, along with Reinhardt and Henderson, ordered Governor Brown to expand inmates "good-time credits" which would permit inmates to finish their prison sentences prematurely. They demanded that action be taken immediately, and that any laws that might prevent the early release of the inmates be ignored.[5][6]

During his criminal calendar on February 25, 2014, Judge Karlton announced that he would be retiring at the end of August 2014.[7]


  1. ^ "Senior United States District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton (LKK)". United States District Court. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Senior District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton (LKK)". United States District Court. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Stanton, Sam. "Judge rejects California's bid to regain control of prisons". 2013 April 5. Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  5. ^ St. John, Paige (20 June 2013). "Federal judges order Brown to begin releasing inmates immediately". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Federal judges order Gov. Brown to release California inmates". Los Angeles Times. 2013-06-20. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Judge Karlton Announces Retirement at End of August". Eastern District of California Blog. 2014-02-25. Retrieved 4 March 2014.