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Lawrence Karlton dies at 80; federal judge who pushed for prison reforms

Lawrence Karlton dies at 80; federal judge who pushed for prison reforms

Lawrence K. Karlton, a U.S. district judge who played a key role in prodding the state of California to reduce its prison population and improve conditions for mentally ill inmates, died Saturday in Sacramento. He was 80. His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the U.S. District Court’s Eastern District, where Karlton had served for 35 years until stepping down last October. The cause was not given, but a colleague said Karlton had heart problems. The veteran jurist, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Carter, had often kindled controversy with his rulings. In 1998, he tossed out a voter-approved ballot initiative limiting campaign contributions, saying the...

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