U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., who presided over many trials involving Kennebec County residents in federal court, is moving to senior status and creating a vacancy on the federal bench in Maine.

Woodcock was chief district judge when he presided at the trials of both Carole and Marshall Swan, of Chelsea; as well as that of James Cameron, the state’s former top drug prosecutor who was convicted of child pornography charges and who jumped bail while free during an appeal.

Woodcock also sentenced Wade Hoover, of Augusta, to 40 years in prison for producing and possessing child pornography, telling Hoover in July 2013, “It is hard for me to find words to describe your conduct in this case because your conduct is simply unspeakable. You have not merely violated the law, you violated the most basic moral code in society. You preyed upon young boys when they were vulnerable.”

Woodcock was chief from 2009 to 2015.

A news release sent Thursday from the court indicated Woodcock told President Barack Obama “he intends to take senior status on June 27, 2017.”

Senior status indicates a semiretired judge who continues to do certain judicial functions. To gain senior status, which is governed by federal law, a judge must meet certain requirements, generally attaining age 65 with 15 years of service or some similar combination.

Woodcock was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in June 2003.

The news release indicates Woodcock, who was a partner in a Bangor law firm for 25 years before becoming a judge, plans to continue to hear cases and to relocate his chambers from Bangor to Portland.

His replacement will be nominated by the president and will be subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

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