Judge Thelton Henderson

For 37 years, Thelton Henderson sat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He presided over numerous high-profile cases, appointed a receiver to oversee the health care services of California’s prison system, and worked to reform the Oakland Police Department through a consent decree.

Before his appointment to the bench by President Jimmy Carter, Judge Henderson was the first African American staff attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. At Stanford University Law School, he designed and ran a successful minority recruitment program.

About six weeks before the judge stepped down, he was interviewed by Lowell Bergman, the distinguished investigative reporter who has known the judge for many years. Bergman teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

The interview, conducted on July 6, 2017, in the judge’s chambers in San Francisco, has three parts:

‘The South and Civil Rights’: Judge Thelton Henderson from Capitol Weekly on Vimeo.

Full transcript of The South and Civil Rights here

‘The Judge’: Judge Thelton Henderson from Capitol Weekly on Vimeo.

Full transcript of The Judge here.

‘The Man’: Judge Thelton Henderson from Capitol Weekly on Vimeo.

Full transcript of The Man here.

For more information:

Judge Henderson was interviewed in 2001 and 2002 for an an oral history published in 2005 by Leah McGarrigle for the Regional Oral History of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.

He is also the subject of a 2017 book, “Judge Thelton Henderson: Breaking New Ground” by Richard B. Kuhns (Twelve Table Press).

A documentary, “Soul of Justice,” produced by Abby Ginsberg in 2005, focuses on Judge Henderson’s early career and major judicial decisions.

Judge Henderson’s resume may be found here.

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