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Longtime federal judge Skopil dies at 93

Posted: October 20, 2012 10:00 p.m.
Updated: October 20, 2012 10:00 p.m.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A longtime federal judge from Oregon has died.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced Saturday that Judge Otto R. Skopil Jr. passed away at his home in Portland on Thursday night. He was 93.

Skopil was appointed to the federal bench in 1972 by President Richard Nixon. He served as the chief U.S. judge in the state from 1976 to 1979, when President Jimmy Carter named him to the appeals court.

He served as a federal judge for more than 40 years and continued writing opinions until last year. His colleagues say that among his most important cases were those dealing with tribal sovereignty, including water rights, land boundaries and tribal ownership rights in tidelands.

He authored an opinion upholding the dismissal of an appeal by Charles Rodman Campbell, who went on to be executed by Washington state in 1994 for the murder of a Clearview woman, her 9-year-old daughter and their neighbor.

Skopil also successfully pressed Congress to expand the rights of federal magistrate judges, allowing them to hear civil cases when both parties agreed.


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