The Honorable William B. Enright sat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Sadly, he passed away on March 7 of this year. He was nominated, confirmed, and appointed to the federal bench on June 30, 1972, and took the oath of office two weeks later on July 14, 1972. He took senior status in 1990, and maintained a heavy criminal and civil caseload until 2000.
Born in New York City in 1925, Enright enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 17. He served during World War II. After leaving the Navy he attended Dartmouth University where he got a degree in philosophy, and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. After graduation, Enright became Deputy District Attorney in San Diego County from 1951 to 1954. In 1954, he formed his own law firm, Harelson, Enright, Levitt & Knutson, and practiced criminal law until 1972. Throughout his career as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, he tried 223 jury trials.
During his years as a trial lawyer, Enright devoted substantial time to State and local bar committees, including: Member, Board of Governors, State Bar of California (1967-70); Vice President, State Bar of California (1969-70); Attorney Member, California Judicial Council (1972); Member, Chair, and Advisor, Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure, State Bar of California (1962-67); Board of Directors and President, San Diego County Bar Association (1963-1965); Board of Directors and President, Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. (1965-72); Board of Trustees, San Diego County Law Library and Justice Foundation (1965-68); and Board of Directors, Legal Aid Society (1962-64).
In 1972, Enright was nominated to federal court by President Richard Nixon and confirmed by the U.S. Senate two weeks later. Prior to retiring in 2000, Enright presided over 300 criminal and civil trials, including many high-profile cases.
Judge Enright garnered many awards throughout his legal career. In 1969, he was named a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and, in 1965, a Diplomate in the American Board of Trial Advocates. Other honors include: American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit (2002); San Diego County Bar Association Jurist of the Year Award (2002); Honoree, San Diego Defense Lawyers (1995); Chairman’s Award (renamed A. Sherman Christensen Award), American
Inns of Court (1987); Award for Extraordinary Service to the Legal Profession, Municipal Court, San Diego Judicial District (1971); and Award of Honor, San Diego County Bar Association (1970). In addition, two awards are named in his honor: the California Inns of Court’s “William B. Enright Award for Professionalism” and the American Inns of Court’s “William B. Enright Ethics and Civility Award.”