Fred Joseph Nichol

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Fred Joseph Nichol (March 19, 1912 – December 31, 1996) was a United States federal judge.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Nichol received an A.B. from Yankton College in 1933 and an LL.B. from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1936. From 1936 to 1938 he was an Assistant to the Administrative Assistant, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. He was in private practice in Mitchell, South Dakota, from 1938 to 1958, interrupted by service as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II, from 1943 to 1946.

Nichol also served as a state's attorney of Davison County, South Dakota, from 1947 to 1951, a Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1951 to 1952 and 1957 to 1958, and an assistant United States Attorney of the District of South Dakota from 1951 to 1953. Nichol was a judge on the 4th Judicial Circuit Court of South Dakota from 1959 to 1965.

On May 18, 1965, Nichol was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota vacated by George T. Mickelson. Confirmed by the United States Senate on June 9, 1965, Nichol received his commission on June 10, 1965, and served as chief judge from 1966 to 1980. He assumed senior status on June 11, 1980, and served in that capacity until his death on December 31, 1996. Nichol was the presiding judge over the 1974 U.S. District Court trial of AIM (American Indian Movement) members who had taken over the village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, for 71 days in 1973.


Legal offices
Preceded by
George Theodore Mickelson
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota
Succeeded by
John Bailey Jones