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California judge to hear case against Loughner

A flag stands at half-staff as security officials stand at the entrance to the the Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix, Ariz., Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, where 22-year-old Jared Loughner is scheduled to appear in federal court on charges he tried to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a shooting rampage that left six people dead. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A flag stands at half-staff as security officials stand at the entrance to the the Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix, Ariz., Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, where 22-year-old Jared Loughner is scheduled to appear in federal court on charges he tried to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a shooting rampage that left six people dead. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A federal judge from southern California was appointed to the case against the man accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a federal judge and other federal employees.

The appointment of Judge Larry A. Burns, 56, of San Diego came Wednesday after all federal judges in Arizona recused themselves.

The recusal order said the Arizona judges’ impartiality could be questioned because U.S. District Judge John Roll, chief federal judge for Arizona, was killed during the rampage. Burns’ appointment was made by Alex Kozinski, chief judge for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jared Loughner, 22, has been charged with trying to assassinate the congresswoman and killing Roll, as well as fatally shooting a Giffords staffer and wounding two others.

Burns served as a federal magistrate from 1997-2003 and was appointed as a federal district judge in 2003 by President George W. Bush.

Burns, a former prosecutor for San Diego County and the federal government, was the judge in the criminal case against former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who had pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from defense contractors and others in exchange for steering government contracts their way.

Burns sentenced Cunningham to more than eight years in prison and ordered him to pay $1.8 million in restitution for back taxes.

No request has been filed in court asking for the case to be moved outside of Arizona.

With the death of Roll, U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver was appointed chief federal judge for Arizona, said Richard Weare, clerk of U.S. District Court in Arizona.

Silver was appointed to the federal bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. She worked previously for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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