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updated: 9/4/2013 7:13 AM

Chicago judge to head national association

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Associated Press

A U.S. judge based in Chicago is the new president of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association.

Sidney I. Schenkier recently began his term and will serve for one year.

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The 600-plus member organization seeks to promote an independent judiciary and a better understanding of magistrate judges' role in the judicial system.

Unlike U.S. district judges, who are appointed for life, magistrate judges serve fixed terms. They typically deal with pre-trial matters and can preside over civil trials. They can't oversee felony criminal trials.

Schenkier was sworn in as a judge in 1998. Earlier, he practiced for 17 years at the Jenner and Block law firm. He's also taught at Northwestern University and at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

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