Judge Fred Slaughter – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

The son of former college basketball star and notable sports agent, Judge Fred Slaughter has made a name for himself in the Southern California legal field, and is now poised for confirmation to the Central District of California.

Background

Fred W. Slaughter got a B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996, and a J.D. from U.C.L.A. School of Law in 1999. After graduating, Slaughter joined the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office as a Deputy City Attorney.

In 2002, Slaughter joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Central District of California as a federal prosecutor. In 2014, he was named by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Orange County Superior Court, where he currently serves.

History of the Seat

Slaughter has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, to a seat vacated on July 5, 2019, by Judge Andrew Guilford. The Trump Administration never made a nomination to fill this vacancy. Slaughter was nominated on December 15, 2021.

Legal Experience

Slaughter started his legal career as a Deputy City Attorney with the City of Los Angeles, where he led prosecutions against bandit taxi cab drivers, who operated without city licenses. See Tax Fraud, City News Service, Feb. 7, 2001.

While Slaughter held a number of legal positions throughout his career, the primary focus has been as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

As a federal prosecutor, Slaughter prosecuted Magdaleno Ramirez-Banuelos for transporting over 50 pounds of marijuana in a backpack. See Mexican Citizen Sentenced for Marijuana Related Felony, U.S. Fed News, May 14, 2004. He also prosecuted David Patrick Williams, a white supremacist, for providing a firearm to a felon. See Founding Member of White Supremacist Organization, European Kindred (EK) Gang, Pleaads [sic] Guilty in Federal Court to a Firearms Offense, States News Service, Aug. 10, 2009.

Jurisprudence

Since 2014, Slaughter has served as a judge on the Orange County Superior Court. In this role, Slaughter presides over trial court matters in criminal, civil, family, and other state law matters. Among the notable matters that he presided over as a judge, Slaughter found a juvenile defendant guilty of five counts of felony vandalism, by using average calculations of damage from the graffiti to be over $400 per count. See In re A.W., 39 Cal. App. 5th 941, 944 (2019). The California Court of Appeals reversed, finding that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the damage from each count was over the $400 threshold, and remanded, ordering Slaughter to find the juvenile guilty of misdemeanors instead of felonies. See id.

Overall Assessment

There is little in Slaughter’s background that should cause him issue during the confirmation process. As such, senators are likely to focus attention on other nominees and Slaughrer should be a relatively smooth confirmation.