William F. Riley

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William F. Riley (March 20, 1884, Ainsworth, Iowa - December 29, 1956) was a United States federal judge for Iowa's southern district during the 1950s.

Riley earned an A.B. from State University of Iowa in 1907, and a J.D. from University of Iowa College of Law in 1909.[1][2] He was in private practice in Des Moines, Iowa from 1909 to 1942, except for his service during World War I as a Lieutenant in the Army's legal department.[2] After serving from 1942 to 1945 as a special assistant U.S. attorney general and hearing officer for the Selective Service Bureau, then returned to his private practice with Carr, Cox, Evans, and Riley until 1950. During the latter period, he also served as president of the Iowa State Bar Association from 1949 to 1950, and was active in the leadership of the American Bar Association.[2]

He was nominated by President Harry S Truman on November 29, 1950, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa vacated by Charles A. Dewey (which Carroll O. Switzer occupied briefly as a recess appointee, without U.S. Senate confirmation). After Switzer's confirmation was rejected and President Truman then nominated Riley, that nomination was confirmed by the Senate on December 14, 1950, and he received his commission on December 27, 1950.

Early in 1956 he was sidelined with cardiac and pulmonary conditions that prevented his continued performance on the bench, but he continued to hold his position until his death on December 29, 1956.


  1. ^ James Clark Fifield, The American Bar, Vol. I, p. 1 (1918).
  2. ^ a b c Papers of William Francis Riley - Biography, Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries.

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Carroll O. Switzer
Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
December 27, 1950 – December 29, 1956
Succeeded by
Edwin Richley Hicklin