Wyoming’s 1st female federal district judge to semi-retire

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming’s first female federal district judge plans to semi-retire in 2022, opening the way for Democratic President Joe Biden to nominate a judge in the deeply Republican state.

Going on senior status will give U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne more control over the number and type of cases she oversees.

She plans to spend more of her free time with her husband, former Gov. Dave Freudenthal, and grandchildren, Freudenthal told the Casper Star-Tribune.

She hasn’t decided yet how she will use her time as judge but might stop taking new criminal cases to provide freedom from speedy trial requirements, Freudenthal said.

Freudenthal had no experience with criminal cases before becoming a federal district judge in 2010. She has found those cases the most rewarding because they can be life-changing for convicts, Freudenthal said.

“Yes, their lives going forward will still be very challenging, but they have the opportunity to rebuild that life, take advantage of resources, hopefully live a life of sobriety,” she said.

Freudenthal, 67, holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wyoming. She was an attorney in the offices of Govs. Ed Herschler and Mike Sullivan from 1980 to 1989.

She served on state tax panels before joining the Davis & Cannon law firm, where she remained until becoming a federal judge.

Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, submitted his wife’s name and those of two others for the job in 2009, telling The Associated Press he thought “long and hard” about whether she “should be penalized for having married me.”

President Barack Obama nominated Freudenthal, and the U.S. Senate confirmed her 96-1.