Harry Claiborne, 71, the first federal judge impeached in 50 years, sought Friday to regain the right to practice law in federal court, arguing he has been punished enough for a 1984 tax evasion conviction that sent him to prison.

"I have paid my debt, I paid. I know of no one who paid a larger debt," Claiborne said of his petition to resume law practice in the court where he once presided.Claiborne, while sitting as chief federal district judge for Nevada, was convicted in 1984 - after two trials before Reno juries - of underreporting his 1979-80 income by nearly $107,000.

While serving 17 months of a two-year term in an Alabama prison, Claiborne was convicted on Oct. 9, 1986, by the Senate on three articles of impeachment.