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Keynote Speaker


Honorable Edward Leavy

The Era of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Judge Leavy

The Honorable Edward Leavy, born August 14, 1929, was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. He received a B.A. from University of Portland in 1950, and J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1953. He served as Deputy District Attorney, Lane County, Oregon from 1954 to 1957, Lane County District Judge from 1957 to 1961, Lane County Circuit Judge from 1961 to 1976, Justice Pro Tempore, Oregon Supreme Court, from October 1974 to November 1974; U.S. Magistrate for the District of Oregon, 1976 to 1984; and Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon from 1984 to 1987. In 2001, Judge Leavy was appointed by Justice Rehnquist as Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court of Review, serving from 2001 to 2008 (Presiding Judge 2005 to 2008). Judge Leavy assumed senior status on the Ninth Circuit in 1997. He continues participation in the Ninth’s Circuit’s caseload, and also has served as mediator in several complex federal mediations, including United States v. Wen Ho Lee (1999- 2000); civil litigation involving large Oregon pension fraud cases (2001-2003); Confederated Tribes of the Warms Springs v. United States, concerning the Tribe’s claims of trust funds mismanagement (2004 - 2006), and ongoing mediation matters involving the Confederated Tribes, the Yakima Nation, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and California utilities. In 2015, Judge Leavy was selected to receive the prestigious Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award, considered to be the federal judiciary’s highest honor. The Devitt Award is presented by the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation and recipients are chosen annually by a committee of federal judges, including a member of the United States Supreme Court.

The Era of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Judge Leavy has decided a number of high profile cases in his over 60 years as a judge.  One such case involved Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers who became known as Rajneeshees…whose activities during the early 1980s have recently been "Hollywoodized" in a 6-part, Netflix miniseries.  What started with the group's purchase of a 65,000 acre ranch in Central Oregon for the purpose of establishing an agricultural compound led to a dispute over land use issues when the city of Rajneeshpuram was incorporated…which led to the Rajneeshees' attempt to take over the small town of Antelope, Oregon and county governance through the elective process, and culminated in the prosecution of various claims of election fraud, immigration fraud, and other federal charges against various-named follows of Rajneesh.  Judge Leavy was involved in the judicial prosecution of the Rajneeshees that ultimately resulted in a ruling that the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh should leave the country and never return.  Judge Leavy will share in experiences, insights, and thoughts about the Rajneesh case and will be answering questions as well.  Join us for this insightful discussion.

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