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President George W. Bush renominated lawyers for 40 judgeships last week that the Democrat-controlled Senate either passed on or rejected in 2002. Tucked at the back end of that list was Fern Flanagan Saddler, a D.C. Superior Court magistrate judge picked by Bush last year for a slot on the local bench. Saddler, 47, isn’t considered a controversial selection. For the past 12 years she has been a hearing commissioner, now known as magistrate judge, at D.C. Superior Court. Before that, Saddler was senior staff attorney at the D.C. Court of Appeals. And from 1984 until 1987, she investigated and prosecuted complaints against lawyers as an assistant bar counsel with the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel. Over the past nine years, the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission has forwarded Saddler’s name to the White House five times. Bush initially selected Saddler in June 2002 to replace Judge Patricia Wynn, who had taken senior status. “This is a dream come true — an answer to a prayer and a dream,” says Saddler, who describes herself as optimistic and persistent. Saddler is currently handling initial hearings in juvenile cases in Family Court. Throughout her Superior Court tenure, Saddler has moved through several divisions of the court system, including civil and criminal. Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King III, who worked with Saddler in the Civil Division, says Saddler is “even-tempered” and has done a good job as a magistrate. Other colleagues and lawyers describe Saddler as pleasant. Defense lawyers note that she is likely to side with the government in preliminary hearings, which is not unusual for most magistrate judges. One of Saddler’s most high-profile matters was her decision in 1999 to uphold a murder charge against a 12-year-old boy in the brutal slaying of a toddler. A year earlier, Saddler accepted the government’s preliminary evidence linking Darryl Turner to two murder victims. Turner, whom police identified as a suspect in the slaying of at least seven women in the Petworth neighborhood in Northwest Washington, was found guilty of the murders in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison.

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