Federal Judge Ponsor Happy With Replacement Pick, Frustrated By Slow Process

The only U.S. District Court judge based in Springfield is pleased with the pick to replace him, but frustrated by how long it took.

Judge Michael Ponsor announced in 2010 that he planned to go on “senior status,”  which meant he wanted to cut back his caseload. But it took until last month for President Obama to nominate his replacement.

“I do have to say I was a little bit disappointed by how slow the process went but I am certainly delighted at what the process has produced,” Ponsor says.

The process produced a nomination for Mark Mastroianni, the district attorney for Hampden County.

Unlike Ponsor, who was a federal magistrate for a decade before his nomination to be district court judge, Mastroianni has no experience with a gavel. Ponsor says that’s not at all unusual and has nothing but good things to say about his likely replacement.

“Mr. Mastroianni has appeared in my court and tried cases in my court for many years. He is an outstanding lawyer,” Ponsor says.  “He has a deep knowledge of the law, excellent temperament and tremendous amount of trial experience.”

If and when Mastroianni is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, it’s not all vacation time for Ponsor. He has been operating at about 75 percent of the normal case load since going on senior status. He plans to drop that to about 25 percent, he says, and stick around for “a good number of years.”