Richard Joseph Arcara

Richard Joseph Arcara (born 1940) is a United States federal judge.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Arcara received a B.A. from St. Bonaventure University in 1962 and a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law in 1965. He was a Captain in the United States Army, Military Police Corps from 1966 to 1967. He was in private practice in Buffalo, New York from 1968 to 1969. He joined the office of the United States Attorney of the Western District of New York in 1969, first as an assistant until 1973, then as a first assistant from 1973 to 1974, finally becoming the district's United States from 1975 to 1981. He was then an Erie County, New York district attorney from 1982 to 1988.

On August 7, 1987, Arcara was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of New York vacated by John T. Elfvin, who assumed senior status. Arcara was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 19, 1988, and received his commission on February 22, 1988. He became chief judge of the district in 2003.

Arcara presided over the trial of James Charles Kopp, who was convicted in 2003 for the 1998 sniper-style murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an American physician from Amherst, New York who performed abortions. Judge Arcara also presided over the internationally significant Robert Rhodes trial in 2005. Rhodes, a United States Customs and Border Protection Officer, was arrested and indicted for beating a Chinese National on the US-Canadian border in Niagara Falls, NY. The incident was addressed by then Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Homeland Security Thomas Ridge when the Chinese Foreign Minister accused the United States of human rights violations by Rhodes' actions. Rhodes was acquitted after a high profile trial in August of 2005, presided over by Chief Judge Arcara. [1] [2] [3]


  • Federal Judicial Center.

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