Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard L. Bourgeois Jr. became U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard L. Bourgeois Jr. in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson and U.S. District Judge James J. Brady announced that Bourgeois took the oath of office.

As a prosecutor and deputy criminal chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bourgeois won convictions in health care fraud cases, computer-crime cases, and others involving mortgage fraud and investment fraud. He also successfully represented the United States in cases that went to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before he became a federal prosecutor in Baton Rouge, Bourgeois was a commercial litigation specialist with the Washington, D.C., office of Latham and Watkins.

Bourgeois is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif. He also served as administrative editor of American Criminal Law Review. Bourgeois earned a bachelor of science degree in microbiology from LSU, where he graduated with honors.

The eight-year appointment as magistrate judge followed the retirements of former U.S. Magistrate Judges Christine Noland and Docia Dalby.

A selection committee co-chaired by Vice Chancellor Russell L. Jones of the Southern University Law Center and Vice Chancellor Raymond T. Diamond of the LSU Law Center assisted Jackson and Brady in choosing Bourgeois for the magistrate’s bench. Bourgeois now will join U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Riedlinger on that bench.

Magistrate judges participate in criminal cases by conducting initial appearance hearings and detention hearings and by setting conditions for release of some defendants. In misdemeanor cases with the consent of both sides, they may conduct trials and impose sentences.

In civil cases with the consent of all parties, magistrate judges may be designated by district judges to conduct either jury or non-jury trials all the way to judgment.

Magistrate judges also may be asked by district judges to make recommendations on specific motions in some other civil or criminal cases, including those involving the death penalty.