With a hand in events spanning everything from the Berkeley Free Speech movement and the Patty Hearst kidnapping to the evolution of federal sentencing laws, it is fair to say U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen has etched his name in Bay Area history.
On Friday, the 86-year-old legal legend hung up his black robe for good, retiring from the federal bench after nearly three decades -- and ending a law career that stretches back to his early days as a young deputy district attorney in Alameda County during the Eisenhower administration.
"I just feel the time has come," Jensen, who also spent 12 years as Alameda County's powerful district attorney, told this newspaper. "One does slow down."
The legal community celebrated Jensen's retirement Thursday, when colleagues and supporters gathered in the San Jose federal courthouse shortly after he ended his last calendar of criminal sentencings. Some of the Bay Area's newest federal judges were in high school or college when Jensen first joined the court.
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