Linda R. Reade

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Linda Rae Reade
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
Assumed office
October 1, 2017
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
In office
January 1, 2007 – February 11, 2017
Preceded byMark W. Bennett
Succeeded byLeonard Terry Strand
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
In office
November 26, 2002 – October 1, 2017
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMichael Joseph Melloy
Succeeded byC. J. Williams
Personal details
Born1948 (age 70–71)
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
EducationDrake University (B.A.)
Iowa State University (M.S.)
Drake University Law School (J.D.)

Linda Rae Reade (born 1948) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Reade graduated from Drake University with her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970, a Master of Science degree from Iowa State University in 1973 and later from Drake University Law School with a Juris Doctor in 1980.

Legal career[edit]

Following law school graduation, Reade was a law clerk in an Iowa private practice firm briefly in 1980 before practicing as an attorney in Iowa until 1986. Reade was an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa from 1986 to 1993, serving as Chief of the General Criminal Prosecutions Division from 1990 to 1993. Reade was appointed by the Iowa Judicial Nominating and Qualifications Commission to serve as a District Court Judge for the Iowa District Court of Polk County, Iowa from 1993 to 2002.

Federal judicial career[edit]

On the recommendation of Senator Chuck Grassley, Reade was nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa by President George W. Bush on June 26, 2002 to a seat vacated by Michael Joseph Melloy. Reade was confirmed by the Senate on November 14, 2002 and received her commission on November 26, 2002. She became Chief Judge on January 1, 2007.[1] Her term as Chief Judge ended on February 11, 2017. She assumed senior status on October 1, 2017.

Notable cases[edit]

Rubashkin case[edit]

Reade presided over the trial and sentencing of kosher slaughterhouse operator Sholom Rubashkin.[2] Judge Reade's 27-year sentence which exceeded the prosecutors 25 year request,[3] was widely criticized,[4] garnered the attention of many prominent politicians, and received widespread media coverage.[5]

Following Rubashkins conviction, records were obtained which showed that Reade had been meeting secretly with prosecutors for ten months before the raid on Rubashkin's plant.[6] Reade maintained that the meetings were only to prepare the courts for a case of such large magnitude. While the 8th Circuit of Appeals upheld the ruling, Reade was scheduled to sit with two of the appellate judges (over other cases) on the same day just before those same judges were scheduled to hear the Rubashkin appeal. This conduct during the appeal raised subsequent questions.[6]

Forty-five members of Congress wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder questioning Reade's handling of the case. Reade's husband, Michael Figenshaw owned stock at the time in two of the largest private prison corporations in the United States, and purchased more stock in both companies just five days before a large raid on the kosher operator began.[7][8] Ethics experts say these investments were inappropriate and may have violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.[9][10][11]

On December 20, 2017, after having served eight years of his 27-year sentence, U.S. President Donald Trump commuted Rubashkin's sentence.[12] A statement from the Trump White House noted that "[a] bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking and distinguished Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars [had] expressed concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in Mr. Rubashkin’s case and the severity of his sentence," and further noted that more than 30 Members of Congress had written letters expressing support for a review of Rubashkin's case.[13] President Trump cited the bipartisan letter he received months prior, signed by numerous Justice officials and members of United States Congress.[14][15] The officials stated that they were "deeply troubled" by the injustice in this case and the harm it has caused to public confidence in the fairness of our Federal courts. The letter attached copies of previous letters from both Democratic and Republican members of Congress to Attorney General Eric Holder citing Judge Reade for that inappropriate behavior.

William Aossey - Halal fraud case[edit]

Reade was the sentencing judge in the case of William Aossey who was convicted of fraud for falsifying labels on beef exported to Malaysia and Indonesia. Aossey was found guilty of fifteen felonies[16] and federal prosecutors had sought a lengthy prison term. Reade showed leniency and departed from federal guidelines calling for a longer sentence, sentencing Aossey to two years.[17][18]


  1. ^ "US District Court - Northern District of Iowa".
  2. ^ Preston, Julia (21 June 2010). "27-Year Sentence for Plant Manager" – via
  3. ^ Price, Marry (2012-09-24). "The Sentencing of Sholom Rubashkin". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
  4. ^ "The Rubashkin Case: A Mockery of Justice". 28 August 2013.
  5. ^ "New Rubashkin claims garner Who's Who list of supporters".
  6. ^ a b Bennett L. Gershman and Joel Cohen (June 13, 2011). "When a Judge Stumbles, Do "Appearances" Matter?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
  7. ^ "A question of law and prison investments - San Quentin News". 31 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Judge Put Immigrants In Jail While Husband Invested In Private Prisons". Carbonated.TV.
  9. ^ "A federal judge put hundreds of immigrants behind bars while her husband invested in private prisons".
  10. ^ Line, Chabad On. "Judge Reade Can't Hide Her Hate". collive.
  11. ^ "Des Moines, IA - Independent Investigation: Husband Of Rubashkin Judge Bought Prison Stocks Days Before Agriprocessors Raid".
  12. ^, The Washington Times. "Sholom Rubashkin bank fraud prison sentence commuted by Trump". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  13. ^ "President Trump Commutes Sentence of Sholom Rubashkin | The White House". The White House. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  14. ^ "Combined Letter" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Why Trump Commuted the Sentence of a Kosher Meatpacking Executive".
  16. ^ "Guns and mutton: Iowa's oldest halal food company falls under suspicion". Washington Post.
  17. ^ "Halal foods pioneer gets 2-year term for fraud".
  18. ^ Mehaffey, Trish. "Midamar founder Aossey sentenced to two years in prison, $60,000 fine - The Gazette".


Legal offices
Preceded by
Michael Joseph Melloy
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
Succeeded by
C. J. Williams
Preceded by
Mark W. Bennett
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
Succeeded by
Leonard Terry Strand