Two Federal Judges in Iowa Plan to Retire Next Year

By Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two federal judges from Iowa plan to retire next year, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin is recommending replacements.

U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett, who is based in Sioux City, has informed President Barack Obama that he intends to retire July 4, 2015. Bennett is known as a critic of harsh sentencing policies for nonviolent drug offenders.

Harkin says that he’s recommending Obama appoint Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O’Brien to replace Bennett. O’Brien lost in a Democratic primary for U.S. House earlier this month.

Separately, U.S. District Judge James Gritzner plans to go on senior status next March. Gritzner, who’s based in Des Moines, is chief judge for Iowa’s southern district.

Harkin’s recommending U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt and Polk County Judge Karen Romano as potential replacements for Gritzner.

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