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U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Director
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2400
Falls Church, Virginia 22041

NEWS RELEASE Contact: Public Affairs Office
(703)305-0289, Fax: (703) 605-0365M
Internet: www.usdoj.gov/eoir

April 16, 2001

THREE IMMIGRATION JUDGES TAKE OATH OF OFFICE IN NEW YORK, NEW YORK

New York, NY - Paul L. Johnston, John Opaciuch, and William C. Peterson will be sworn in today as Immigration Judges during an investiture ceremony at 2:00 p.m., in the United States Court of International Trade, Ceremonial Room, 1 Federal Plaza, New York, New York. Chief Immigration Judge Michael J. Creppy, from the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Falls Church, Virginia, will administer the oath of office.

They join the ranks of more than 200 Immigration Judges located in 52 Immigration Courts throughout the Nation. They are responsible for conducting formal administrative proceedings to determine whether foreign-born individuals who are charged with violations of Federal immigration law should be removed from the United States or may be granted relief from removal. Immigration Judges decide each case independently and their decisions are final unless appealed or certified to the Board of Immigration Appeals. In the past year, Immigration Judges completed more than 250,000 such proceedings. They are also authorized to administer oaths of citizenship to candidates for naturalization.

Paul L. Johnston was appointed Immigration Judge in December 2000 while preparing to retire from a career in the U.S. Army. He received his B.A. in 1969, and his law degree in 1972, both from the University of Illinois. Judge Johnston served in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps from 1975 to January 2001. His duty assignments included: chief circuit judge from 1996 to 2000; staff judge advocate at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, from 1994 to 1996 and at the Presidio of San Francisco from 1992 to 1994; deputy staff judge advocate at the Presidio from 1991 to 1992; and chief, criminal law, at the 21st TAACOM Kaiserslautern, Germany, from 1989 to 1991. In other assignments he served at the Pentagon, in Korea, and as an instructor in the law department at West Point. Judge Johnston was in private practice in Peoria, Illinois, from 1973 to 1975 and served as an assistant state's attorney in Pekin, Illinois, from 1972 to 1973. Judge Johnston is a member of the Illinois and Wisconsin Bars.

John Opaciuch was appointed Immigration Judge in December 2000. He received his B.A. in 1980 from the University of California at San Diego, and his J.D. in 1983 from the California Western School of Law. Judge Opaciuch served as deputy district counsel from April 1998 to December 2000 for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New York City, where he also served as assistant district counsel from October 1988 to April 1989. He is a member of the Idaho and New York Bars.

William C. Peterson was appointed Immigration Judge in December 2000. He received his undergraduate degree in 1973 from Peru State College, and his law degree in 1983 from Creighton University School of Law. From 1995 to 2000, Judge Peterson served as the deputy district counsel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in San Francisco, California. He was the assistant district counsel for the INS in Harlingen, Texas, from 1988 to 1995. He served as a deputy county attorney for Adams County in Hastings, Nebraska, from 1987 to 1988. He was in private practice in Hastings from 1984 to 1987. Judge Peterson served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971. He is a member of the Nebraska Bar.

-EOIR-
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