Judge Rodney Webb (U.S. Dist. Court for Dist. of N.D.)

On this date in 2001, Judge Rodney Webb retired from the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. Born on June 21, 1935 in Cavalier, ND, Webb graduated the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1959. Upon admission to the Bar that year, Webb joined a small law firm in Grafton, ND where he practiced for the next 21 years. In 1966, Webb was elected to the part-time office of Walsh County (ND) State’s Attorney where he served until 1974. During his time as Walsh County State’s Attorney, Webb served as President of the North Dakota State’s Attorney’s Association from 1972-73. In 1974, Webb was elected Municipal Judge for the City of Grafton which was a post he held until 1981. From 1975 to 1981, Webb was also designated a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of North Dakota as he performed legal work for the state institution for the developmentally disabled in Grafton. Webb was also a member of the North Dakota Army National Guard Judge Advocate Corps and retired with the rank of Colonel. Webb, an active Republican, was appointed United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota in 1981 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan. As the chief federal prosecutor in the State of North Dakota, Webb oversaw the prosecution of supporters and family members of infamous tax protestor Gordon Kahl who were involved in a shootout with U.S. Marshal’s in Medina, N.D. On May 5, 1987, Rodney Webb was nominated by President Reagan to the United States District Court for the District Court to take the seat of Judge Paul Benson, who had retired and taken senior status in December, 1985. Webb became Chief Judge of that Court in 1993 and oversaw the construction of a new federal courthouse in Fargo. Following his 2001 retirement, Judge Webb took senior status and remained Chief Judge until his successor was named. Webb continued to be active in the federal judiciary until his death on August 9, 2009 in Fargo, ND at age 74. As an attorney, Larry Richards appeared many times in front of Judge Webb. Larry remembers him as a very thorough judge who looked every bit the part. “I have several great Judge Webb stories which are to long to detail here. I recall my last appearance in front of him which was while he was on senior status. I finally got up the nerve after the hearing to ask him for a tour of the courthouse which I had heard that he was fabulous at giving. He did a great job and I am glad I got the chance to experience that.”