Gary L. Lancaster
|Gary L. Lancaster|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania|
|Preceded by||Donetta W. Ambrose|
|Succeeded by||Sean J. McLaughlin|
|Judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania|
|Appointed by||Bill Clinton|
|Preceded by||Timothy K. Lewis|
|Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania|
|Born||August 14, 1949
Brownsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||April 24, 2013
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Slippery Rock State College
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
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Gary L. Lancaster (August 14, 1949 – April 24, 2013) was a United States federal judge, Assistant District Attorney, and lawyer.
From 1974 to 1978, Lancaster served as Regional Counsel to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission as well as an Assistant District Attorney in Allegheny County. He entered private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1978, where he focused mostly on criminal litigation.
In 1987, Lancaster was selected to serve as a United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He held this position until his nomination as a district judge by President Bill Clinton on October 25, 1993 to the seat vacated by Timothy K. Lewis, who had been elevated to a newly created seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Lancaster was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 20, 1993, and received his commission the following day.
While on the bench, Judge Lancaster served on the committee responsible for drafting the Third Circuit's Model Civil Jury Instructions, and was also appointed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve on the Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on Judicial Resources. He was also responsible for overseeing the renovation of the district's historic New Deal-era federal courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh.
In 2009, Judge Lancaster became the first African-American to serve as Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, succeeding Donetta W. Ambrose. During his tenure as Chief Judge, Lancaster was instrumental in the court's involvement in the Patent Pilot Program, a national initiative designed to enhance the expertise of federal judges in patent litigation. As of 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania remains one of the few judicial districts in the country to have Local Patent Rules.
Lancaster died suddenly on April 24, 2013 at his home in Pittsburgh.  He was still on the bench and was expected to serve on active status through at least 2014. In announcing his death, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review heralded him as a judge known for "being able to handle any case." He was succeeded as Chief Judge by Sean J. McLaughlin.