West Chester Resident the First Hispanic to Lead Federal Court in Philly in Its 229-Year History

The Honorable Juan R. Sánchez

The Honorable Juan R. Sánchez, a West Chester resident, became Chief Judge of the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Aug. 1.

Judge Sánchez has served as a federal judge for more than 14 years and follows the Honorable Lawrence F. Stengel as the 15th Chief Judge of this district. He’s the first Hispanic to lead the Court in its 229-year history.

One of 13 original federal judicial districts created by the federal Judiciary Act of 1789, the Eastern District encompasses Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties.

“Judge Juan Sánchez is a thoroughly good man who has served with distinction as a judge on this Court for over 14 years,” said Stengel. “He is hard working, reliable, honest, and true. Judge Sánchez built a reputation for dedication to justice and excellence in his work while on the Chester County Court of Common Pleas and that has continued.

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“I feel confident about the future of this great Court as he takes over as the Chief Judge.”

“Chief Judge Sánchez is a model jurist committed to equal justice, fairness, and legal excellence,” said Magistrate Judge Timothy Rice. “His tireless work ethic and compassion were forged during his journey from the South Bronx to the Ivy League and the bench. His story is truly an American Dream.”

Sánchez was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico and moved to the Bronx at age 12. He graduated from the City College of New York and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Sánchez began his legal career as a recipient of the distinguished Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship, through which he worked as a staff attorney with Legal Aid of Chester County, then spent 14 years with the Chester County Public Defender’s Office.

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