Los Angeles based judge Wesley Hsu, a former federal prosecutor, has been tapped for the federal bench.
Wesley Hsu got a B.A. degree from Yale University in 1993, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1996. After graduating, Hsu clerked for Judge Mariana Pfaelzer on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
After his clerkship, Hsu joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. In 2000, he shifted to become a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. He held that post until he was appointed to the state bench by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017. Hsu currently serves as a state judge.
History of the Seat
Hsu has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, to a seat vacated on February 14, 2022, by Judge Virginia Phillips’ move to senior status.
Hsu started his legal career at the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Hsu worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office between 2000 and 2017, working as chief of the cyber crimes and property crimes section between 2008 and 2015 and as executive assistant U.S. attorney between 2015 and 2017. Hsu prosecuted Andy Garcia for hacking into the network of ViewSonic, a company that manufactures monitors. See Larry Dignan, Who Can You Trust?; Disgruntled Insiders Have Always Been the Biggest Threat to Your Network. But Now Geopolitical Tensions Raise the Ante on Checking Backgrounds of Those You Think You Can Trust, Baseline, Mar. 1, 2003.
Notably, Hsu prosecuted Michael Barrett, who plead guilty for secretly filming ESPN reporter Erin Andrews while she was nude. See Greg Risling, Westmont Man to Plead Guilty in Nude Video Case, Chicago Daily Herald, Dec. 11, 2009. Hsu also prosecuted Gilberto Sanchez, who pirated the movie “Wolverine.” See Michael Wilson, How a Bronx Glass Installer Became the Web Pirate Who Leaked ‘Wolverine’, N.Y. Times, Jan. 13, 2010.
In one of his biggest cases, Hsu prosecuted Hunter Moore, who created the site IsAnyoneUp.com, which allowed for widespread publication and dissemination of “revenge porn.” See Fred Shuster, Man Pleads Not Guilty in Internet ‘Revenge Porn’ Case, City News Service, Feb. 7, 2014. Moore was ultimately sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Doug Bolton, ‘King of Revenge Porn’ and IsAnyoneUp Owner Hunter Moore Given Two and a Half Years in Prison; Moore’s Website Specialized in Posting ‘Revenge Porn’ Pictures of People That Had Either Been Sent in by Ex-Partners or Stolen Through the Hacking of Victims’ Email Accounts, The Indepedent, Dec. 4, 2015.
Since 2017, Hsu has served as a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court. In this role, Hsu presides over trial court matters in criminal, civil, family, and other state law matters. Hsu is currently assigned to the Family Law Divison of the court.
Hsu has a couple of political contributions to his name, including one to State Controller John Chiang, a Democrat.
Statements and Releases
In 2014, Hsu was profiled in a Forbes article by Kashmir Hill. See Kashmir Hill, The Cyber Prosecutor Sending Nude-Photo Thieves to Prison, Forbes, July 31, 2014, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/07/31/federal-prosecutor-nude-photo-hackers/?sh=80ab4c9ed6c2. The article discusses Hsu’s high-profile prosecutions, including those of Barrett and Moore. In the article, Hsu notes that he wanted to become a prosecutor after his parents were struck and injured by a drunk driver when he was a teenager. See id. Hsu also discussed his desire to be careful in prosecutions so as not to chill First Amendment activity, but also noted his hope to prosecute internet trolls to deter cyber-bullying. Id.
There is little in Hsu’s background that should complicate a comfortable confirmation. With a fairly conventional background, he should be confirmed relatively swiftly.