Judge Carter was appointed United States District Judge for the Central District of California in 1998. Prior to his appointment, he served as a judge in both the Orange County Superior Court and the Orange County Municipal Court. Judge Carter also served as Assistant District Attorney in Santa Ana, California. In addition to his service as a United States District Judge, Judge Carter currently serves as a visiting professor at the political science department at UC Irvine. He also serves as an instructor to the judiciaries of Armenia, the Republic of Georgia, and Pakistan. He facilitated Rule of Law efforts for the Afghanistan Judiciary on behalf of the U.S. State Department and Public Private Partnership, and was the editor of the Bench Book for the Afghanistan Judiciary. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.