Nisha Rathode

Helen J Frye

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Nominated by  Jimmy Carter
Name  Helen Frye
Preceded by  New position
Role  Judge

Succeeded by  Garr King
Education  University of Oregon
Full Name  Helen Jackson
Children  E. Max Frye
Helen J. Frye
Died  April 21, 2011, Portland, Oregon, United States

Helen Jackson Frye (December 10, 1930 – April 21, 2011) was an American judge and attorney in the state of Oregon. Born in Southern Oregon, she served as an active federal district court judge in Portland, Oregon, for 15 years and as a judge for the Oregon Circuit Court for nine years. At the time of her death she was a senior judge for the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.


Early life

Helen Jackson was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon on December 10, 1930, the daughter of Elizabeth (Kirkpatrick) and Earl Jackson. She grew up on a potato and grain farm in Klamath County. Her father died when she was three, and she was raised by her maternal grandparents from age three to nine while her mother and sibling recovered from tuberculosis. Her mother remarried and they moved from the family farm.

After high school she attended the University of Oregon where she graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and served as class president of her sophomore class. To pay for school, Frye worked as a babysitter and a waitress. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, she taught in public schools. In 1961, Frye earned a Master's degree at the University of Oregon. She graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1966 with a juris doctorate degree. She had three children with her first husband Bill Frye: Karen, Heidi, and filmmaker E. Max Frye.

Legal career

After passing the bar in 1966 she entered private legal practice in Eugene, and worked for her husband, who was the district attorney for Lane County. In 1971, Frye left private practice and became a judge for the Oregon Circuit Court’s second district covering Lane County. Oregon Governor Tom McCall appointed her to the position, and she became the first female judge of the Oregon Circuit Courts. Helen and Bill divorced in 1975, with Helen remarrying to Perry Holloman. She remained on that court after winning election to a full term and re-election until 1980, when she became a judge for a new seat on the United States District Court for the District of Oregon

In 1973, as circuit court judge Frye she presided over the trial of Dayton Leroy Rogers, who was found not guilty by reason of mental defect. Rogers was sent to the Oregon State Hospital, was released on December 12, 1974, and then went on to kill several women before being sent to death row.

Nominated on December 3, 1979, by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, she was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 20, 1980, and received her federal commission that same day. She was the first woman on Oregon's only federal court. While on the court, she presided over the case that voided the incorporation of the community of Rajneeshpuram in Central Oregon. She also dismissed a case concerning the protection of the northern spotted owl from logging in 1989. In 1992, she was the trial court level judge for Kyllo v. United States, an unlawful search case that made it to the United States Supreme Court in 2001. On December 10, 1995, she assumed senior status on the court and was no longer a full-time judge.

Later years and death

Frye was awarded the Meritorious Service Award from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2000. After serving as a part-time judge after moving to senior status, she later retired completely from the court. Helen Frye died on April 21, 2011, at the age of 80.


Helen J. Frye Wikipedia

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