WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) swore-in the newest judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Judge Benita Y. Pearson, at a ceremony in Youngstown today. Judge Pearson is the first African-American woman to serve as Federal District Judge in Ohio.

“The people of Ohio have yet another reason to be proud today. The investiture of Judge Pearson to the U.S. District Court means that we can continue working toward a more just society,” Brown said. “Her background as a prosecutor, private practice attorney, certified public accountant, and magistrate makes Judge Pearson uniquely qualified to serve as a U.S. District Judge and it is truly an honor to participate in her investiture.”

Judge Pearson’s nomination was based on the recommendation of a bipartisan 17-member judicial advisory commission assembled by Sens. Brown and Voinovich. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 21, 2010.

Prior to her nomination, Judge Pearson was selected as a magistrate by the U.S. District Court in 2008.  In that position, she has overseen a range of federal judicial proceedings, including jury trials, bail hearings, preliminary examinations, and search warrants. Before her selection as a magistrate, Judge Pearson served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and as an associate with Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Cleveland. The Northern District has court locations in Cleveland, Akron, Toledo, and Youngstown and serves 5.9 million citizens in 40 Ohio counties.

In July 2009, Brown and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) announced that they would recommend that President Obama nominate U.S. Magistrate Judge Pearson to fill the vacancy left by Judge Peter C. Economus on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. U.S. District Courts are general trials courts which hear both civil and criminal cases. Magistrate Pearson’s nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in January.