Federal District Judge — and Leading Conservative Criminal Law Scholar — Paul Cassell Resigning:

Sentencing Law & Policy has the story. I don’t know Judge Cassell well, though we’ve met a couple of times; but I have long respected his scholarship, of which there’s been a great deal. Here are Judge Cassell’s reasons:

In the past few weeks, two primary factors have led me to do something that I never thought possible — leaving this important public service position. First, the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah has offered me a chance to return to pursue teaching and scholarship there. Many interesting things are happening at the College of Law these days, including exciting research by the criminal law faculty and the development of the new Utah Criminal Justice Center. Returning to the College of Law will give me time to pursue research in my area of greatest scholarly interest — crime victims’ rights. I have several important books and articles on this topic that I would like to turn to as quickly as possible.

Related to this opportunity is the coincidental offer from the National Crime Victim Law Institute to litigate crime victims cases across the country on its behalf. As you know, many indigent crime victims have unmet legal needs in the criminal justice system, particularly because the content of victims’ rights remains largely undeveloped in the courts. Because of my academic specialization on this topic, I hope to be particularly effective in advocating on their behalf.

And finally, I would be less than completely candid if I did not mention the uncertainty surrounding judicial pay as a factor in my decision. With three talented children approaching college years, it has been difficult for my wife and me to make financial plans. As you know, this year federal judges have yet to receive even a cost of living pay increase. Your much-appreciated proposal to raise judicial salaries has yet to be acted on by Congress. I would like to ensure that my children will have the same educational opportunities that I had. How to achieve that within the constraints on current judicial pay is more than a difficult task. My wife and I have concluded that we may not be able to do what we have always planned to do unless I make some changes.

The bench’s loss is the University of Utah’s, and the National Crime Victim Law Institute’s, gain.

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