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Chief Judge William Jay Riley steps down as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, succeeded as chief judge by Judge Lavenski R. Smith

William Jay Riley of Omaha, Nebraska, will step down as chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on March 10, 2017. He will remain in active service on the court.

Judge Riley became chief judge on April 1, 2010, and served almost seven years as chief. The judges and staff of the Eighth Circuit express their gratitude to Judge Riley for his positive leadership, his willingness to delegate and entrust judges and executives to perform their responsibilities, his ability to simplify complicated matters, and his success in managing our court and enhancing its national reputation. The court recognizes and commends Judge Riley for his openness, his belief in due process, his exploration of all issues and facts affecting a matter, and his devotion to administering justice for all.

Chief Judge Riley will be succeeded as chief judge by Judge Lavenski R. Smith of Little Rock, Arkansas, the first African-American to serve as the Eighth Circuit’s chief judge.

Judge Smith, following confirmation by the U.S. Senate, received a commission as a U.S. Circuit Judge from President George W. Bush on July 19, 2002.

Judge Smith graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1987. He and his wife Trendle have two children.

The Eighth Circuit includes the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. The court is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri and has a divisional clerk’s office in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Publication Date: 
March 15, 2017