U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson's latest legal chapter has been to find a solution to long-running problems in the Oakland police department. He will consider a city-approved settlement on Thursday that provides for federal oversight of the department.
Here is a snapshot of his career:
NAME: Thelton Henderson
OCCUPATION: Federal judge
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Appointed to the Bay Area federal bench in 1980 by former President Jimmy Carter. Previously worked as a civil rights lawyer, at Stanford University law school, Legal Aid in East Palo Alto and with the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division during the Kennedy administration.
EDUCATION: Graduated from UC Berkeley law school in 1962.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Struck down Proposition 209, the state's ban on public affirmative action programs, but was reversed by federal appeals court. Member of three-judge panel that ordered California to reduce its prison population because of poor medical and mental health care for inmates. Found abusive conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison. Forced the tuna industry and U.S. government to protect dolphins from use of tuna nets.
NOTEWORTHY: Recruited by former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to be the civil rights division's first black lawyer, sent to the South to represent the government in early showdowns between civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., and Southern segregationists.
PERSONAL: Has an adult son. Went to UC Berkeley on a football scholarship. Avid fisherman and poker player.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz