United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 Federal courthouse
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is one of ninety-four United States district courts. It was established by an act of Congress on December 24, 1863. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Cincinnati at the Potter A. Stewart Federal Courthouse and Building.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Article III judges
|Judge Victoria Roberts||1951||Detroit, MI||Clinton||6/29/1998 - Present||George LaPlata||University of Michigan, B.A., 1973||Northeastern U. School of Law, J.D., 1977|
|Judge Paul Borman||1939||Detroit, MI||Clinton||8/10/1994 - Present||Stewart Newblatt||University of Michigan, B.A., 1959||University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1962|
|Judge Sean Cox (Michigan)||1957||Detroit, MI||W. Bush||6/12/2006 - Present||Lawrence Zatkoff||University of Michigan, B.G.S., 1979||Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1983|
|Judge Denise Hood||1952||Columbus, OH||Clinton||6/16/1994 - Present||George Woods||Yale U., B.A., 1974||Columbia Law School, J.D., 1977|
|Judge David M. Lawson||1951||Detroit, MI||Clinton||6/2/2000 - Present||Avern Cohn||University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1973||Wayne State U., J.D., 1976|
|Judge Thomas Ludington||1953||Midland, MI||W. Bush||6/12/2006 - Present||Paul Gadola||Albion College, B.A., 1976||University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., 1979|
|Chief Judge Gerald Rosen||1951||Chandler, AZ||H.W. Bush||3/12/1990 - Present||2009 - Present||Philip Pratt||Kalamazoo College, 1973||George Washington U. Law School, 1979|
|Judge Gershwin Drain||1949||Detroit, MI||Obama||8/2/2012 - Present||Bernard Friedman||Western Michigan University, 1970||University of Michigan Law, 1972|
|Judge Mark Goldsmith||1952||Detroit, MI||Obama||6/2/2010 - Present||John O'Meara||University of Michigan, B.A., 1974||Harvard Law School, J.D., 1977|
|Judge Stephen Murphy||1962||St. Louis, MO||W. Bush||8/18/2008-Present||Patrick Duggan||Marquette U., B.S., 1984||St. Louis U., J.D., 1987|
|Judge Linda V. Parker||1958||Detroit, Michigan||Obama||3/12/2014-Present||Robert Cleland||University of Michigan, B.A., 1980||George Washington U. Law, J.D., 1983|
|Judge Laurie Michelson||1967||Detroit, Michigan||Obama||3/12/2014-Present||George Steeh||University of Michigan, A.B., 1989||Northwestern U. Law, J.D., 1992|
|Judge Terrence Berg||1959||Detroit, MI||Obama||12/6/2012 - Present||Arthur Tarnow||Georgetown U., B.S., 1981||Georgetown U. Law, J.D., 1986|
|Judge Judith Ellen Levy||1958||Detroit, Michigan||Obama||3/12/2014-Present||Nancy Edmunds||University of Michigan, B.S., 1981||University of Michigan Law, J.D., 1996|
|Judge Matthew Frederick Leitman||1968||Troy, Michigan||Obama||3/12/2014-Present||Marianne Battani||University of Michigan, B.A., 1990||Harvard Law, J.D., 1993|
Active Article III judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of active judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
|Senior Judge Bernard Friedman||Reagan||4/20/1988 - 1/1/2009||2004 - 2009||1/1/2009 - Present||Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1968|
|Senior Judge Marianne Battani||Clinton||6/2/2000 - 6/9/2012||6/9/2012 - Present||University of Detroit, B.A., 1966||Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1972|
|Senior Judge Anna Taylor||Carter||11/2/1979 - 12/31/1998||1996 - 1998||12/31/1998 - Present||Barnard College, B.A., 1954||Yale Law School, LL.B., 1957|
|Senior Judge Robert Cleland||H.W. Bush||6/19/1990 - 3/1/2013||3/1/2013 - Present||Michigan State U., B.A., 1969||University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1972|
|Senior Judge Avern Cohn||Carter||9/26/1979 - 10/9/1999||10/9/1999 - Present||University of Michigan, L.S.A., 1943||University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1949|
|Senior Judge Julian Cook||Carter||9/23/1978 - 12/30/1996||1989 - 1996||12/30/1996 - Present||Pennsylvania State U., B.A., 1952||Georgetown U. Law Center, J.D., 1957|
|Senior Judge Patrick Duggan||Reagan||10/14/1986 - 9/29/2000||9/29/2000 - Present||Xavier U., Ohio, B.S., 1955||University of Detroit School of Law, LL.B., 1958|
|Senior Judge Nancy Edmunds||H.W. Bush||2/10/1992 - 8/1/2012||8/1/2012 - Present||Cornell U., B.A., 1969||Wayne State U. Law School, J.D., 1976|
|Senior Judge John O'Meara||Clinton||9/15/1994 - 1/1/2007||1/1/2007 - Present||University of Notre Dame, A.B., 1955||Harvard Law School, LL.B., 1962|
|Senior Judge George Steeh||Clinton||5/22/1998 - 1/29/2013||1/29/2013 - Present||University of Michigan, B.A., 1969||University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1973|
|Senior Judge Arthur Tarnow||Clinton||5/22/1998 - 5/26/2010||5/26/2010 - Present||Wayne State U., B.A., 1963||Wayne State U. Law School, J.D., 1965|
|Senior Judge Stewart Newblatt||Carter||9/26/1979 - 12/23/1993||12/23/1993 - Present||University of Michigan, 1950||University of Michigan Law School, 1952|
|Senior Judge Charles Joiner||Nixon||6/9/1972 - 8/15/1984||8/15/1984 - Present||University of Iowa, B.A., 1937||University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1939|
|Senior Judge James Harvey||Nixon||12/19/1973-3/31/1984||3/31/1984-Present||University of Michigan Law School, 1948|
|Senior Judge James Churchill||Ford||12/20/1974 - 12/31/1989||1989 - 1989||12/31/1989 - Present||University of Michigan, B.B.A., 1947||University of Michigan Law School, LL.B., 1950|
Senior judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of senior judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
|Executive Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen||09/2002 - Present||University of Illinois||Wayne State U., J.D.|
|Magistrate Judge Michael Hluchaniuk||12/2007 - Present||University of Michigan, 1969||Wayne State U., J.D., 1972|
|Magistrate Judge (Recalled) Paul Komives|
|Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub||01/06/2004 - Present||University of Michigan, B.A., 1970||University of Detroit, J.D., 1976|
|Magistrate Judge David Grand|
|Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris||5/15/2014-5/14/2022||University of Michigan||Cooley Law, J.D.|
The Eastern District of Michigan has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
- Alcona County
- Alpena County
- Arenac County
- Bay County
- Cheboygan County
- Clare County
- Crawford County
- Genesee County
- Gladwin County
- Gratiot County
- Huron County
- Iosco County
- Isabella County
- Jackson County
- Lapeer County
- Lenawee County
- Livingston County
- Macomb County
- Midland County
- Monroe County
- Montmorency County
- Oakland County
- Ogemaw County
- Oscoda County
- Otsego County
- Presque Isle County
- Roscommon County
- Saginaw County
- St. Clair County
- Sanilac County
- Shiawassee County
- Tuscola County
- Washtenaw County
- Wayne County
|Federal Court Caseload Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases:||Median time(Criminal)**:||Median time(Civil)**:||3 Year Civil cases#:||Vacant posts:##||Trials/Post|
|*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September. **Time in months from filing to completion.|
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts. ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Justia.com-Dockets and Filings-Eastern District of Michigan.
| • Man sentenced for brutal murder of toddler (2014)|
Judge(s):Thomas Ludington (U.S. v. Bennett)
|Click for summary→|
|On May 22, 2014, Judge Thomas Ludington sentenced Anthony M. Bennett to serve forty years after pleading guilty to a second-degree murder charge in the death of 4-year-old Carnel Chamberlain.
While Carnel's relatives were satisfied with the sentence, they called the child's death "senseless."
| • Elderly drug mule sentenced to prison term on his 90th birthday (2014)|
Judge(s):Nancy Edmunds (U.S. v. Sharp, 2:11-cr-20699-NGE-RSW)
|Click for summary→|
|On May 7, 2014, Senior Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced Leo Sharp, a 90-year-old convicted drug courier, to three years in prison after he tried to bring almost 250 pounds of cocaine into Detroit, Michigan, for a Mexican drug ring. Sentenced on his birthday, Sharp threatened to commit suicide if he was sent to prison, calling it a "death sentence."
Before delivering her sentence, Judge Edmunds said, "To ignore the extent of his involvement is to say to every drug organization that if you want to inoculate your organization from punishment, get an elderly person to do deliveries for you. It’s most unfortunate Mr. Sharp became involved in this." A relative volunteered to care for Sharp until it was time for him to report for his sentence.
| • Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage challenged (2014)|
Judge(s):Bernard Friedman (DeBoer v. Snyder, 12-CV-10285)
|Click for summary→|
|On February 25, 2014, a case challenging Michigan's same-sex marriage ban was brought in the Eastern District of Michigan. Judge Bernard Friedman presided over the case, which was brought by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two women in the state. They challenged Michigan's Marriage Amendment, Proposal 2, a constitutional amendment approved by 58.6% of voters in 2004. The case was initiated in 2012 after DeBoer and Rowse were denied the ability to adopt one another's children under state law. Judge Friedman allowed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint to challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage in August 2012. The law was defended in court by the Michigan State Attorney General's Office.
On March 21, 2014, after a two-week trial Judge Friedman struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage as an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, writing:
Judge Friedman further noted that his decision "affirmed the enduring principle that . . . the guarantee of equal protection must prevail." Since the federal ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, federal judges have struck down same-sex marriage bans in a number of states, including Virginia, Utah, and Oklahoma. In those cases, judges have opted to stay their rulings pending appeal. Here, Judge Friedman notably made no mention of such a delay, meaning that same-sex couples in Michigan could potentially obtain marriage licenses on the next business day.On the same day Judge Friedman's ruling was announced publicly, Michigan's attorney general filed an emergency appeal with the Sixth Circuit, requesting that the ruling be stayed and reconsidered. The Sixth Circuit issued a temporary injunction against Friedman's decision on the following day, after about 300 same-sex couples had already been married.
| • Possibility of parole for juvenile lifers (2013)|
Judge(s):John O'Meara (Henry Hill, et al v. Rick Snyder, et al, 5:10-cv-14568-JCO-RSW)
|Click for summary→|
|In February 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of nine Michigan inmates who were sentenced to life in prison as juveniles without the possibility of parole. The named plaintiff in the case, Henry Hill, was 16 when he was convicted of first-degree murder. On November 26, 2013, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision condemning the sentencing of children to life in prison without the possibility of parole as cruel and unusual punishment, Judge John O'Meara ordered that the State of Michigan cease enforcement of a law that denies the parole board jurisdiction over juvenile lifers. Further, O'Meara ordered that all juvenile offenders sentenced to life who have served 10 years be given notice of their eligibility for parole. Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette, however, did not believe that the Supreme Court's edict was meant to be applied retroactively, and appealed O'Meara's order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. On December 23, 2013, the Sixth Circuit stayed O'Meara's ruling pending the resolution of the governor's appeal.|
On July 1, 1836, Statute 5 Stat. 61 organized the State of Michigan as one judicial district. One judgeship was authorized for this U.S. district court, and being that it was not assigned to a judicial circuit, the district court was granted the same jurisdiction as the United States circuit courts, excluding appeals and writs of error, which are the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court.
On March 3, 1837, the circuit court jurisdiction was repealed, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Michigan was assigned to the Seventh Circuit, in addition to establishing a circuit court for the district.
The State of Michigan divided into two judicial districts on February 24, 1863. The districts were known as the Eastern District of Michigan and the Western District of Michigan. One judgeship was authorized for each district, and the district judge serving the District of Michigan was assigned over to the Eastern District of Michigan.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Eastern District of Michigan:
|February 24, 1863||12 Stat. 660||1|
|September 14, 1922||42 Stat. 837||2(1 temporary)|
|March 3, 1927||44 Stat. 1380||3|
|February 20, 1931||46 Stat. 1197||4|
|August 19, 1935||49 Stat. 659||4|
|May 31, 1938||52 Stat. 585||5|
|February 10, 1954||68 Stat. 8||6|
|May 19, 1961||75 Stat. 80||8|
|June 2, 1970||84 Stat. 294||10|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||13|
|July 10, 1984||98 Stat. 333||15|
Former chief judges
In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.
For more information on the judges of the Eastern District of Michigan, see former federal judges o the Eastern District of Michigan.
Five separate courthouses serve the Eastern District of Michigan.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Official Website
- United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan
- Judges of the Eastern District of Michigan
- Opinions of the Eastern District of Michigan
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- MLive.com, "Judge calls child's death a 'heinous and barbarous act' in sending killer Anthony Bennett to prison," May 22, 2014
- MLive.com, "Anthony Bennett pleads guilty to federal charge of second-degree murder in Mount Pleasant 4-year-old's slaying," December 17, 2013
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Detroit News, "90-year-old drug courier sentenced to three years calls it 'death sentence'," May 7, 2014 (dead link)
- Ballotpedia:Michigan Marriage Amendment, Proposal 2 (2004)
- New York Times, "Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage," March 21, 2014
- DeBoer v. Snyder, "Conclusion"
- Same-sex marriage in the federal courts
- New York Times, "For Gay Couples in Michigan, a Day of Joy Ends in Legal Uncertainty," March 22, 2014
- ACLU, "Hill v. Snyder," November 26, 2013
- MLive.com, "Juvenile lifers: Federal judge orders Michigan to offer 'meaningful and realistic' parole hearings," November 26, 2013
- Detroit Free Press, "Judge tells state: Give juvenile lifers a shot at parole," November 27, 2013
- Toledo Blade, "Michigan weighs fate of its lifers in juvenile prisons," December 6, 2013
- State of Michigan Attorney General, "Schuette Announces He Will Appeal Federal Court Ruling Opening Door for Parole for Teenage Murderers," December 2, 2013
- The Detroit News, "U.S. appeals court delays possible parole for Michigan's 'juvenile lifers'," December 23, 2013 (dead link)
- History of the Eastern District of Michigan on the Federal Judicial Center website
- United States Courts, Frequently Asked Questions
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
Chief Judge: Gerald Rosen • Victoria Roberts • Paul Borman • Sean Cox (Michigan) • Denise Hood • David M. Lawson • Thomas Ludington • Gershwin Drain • Mark Goldsmith • Stephen Murphy • Linda V. Parker • Laurie Michelson • Terrence Berg • Judith Ellen Levy • Matthew Frederick Leitman
Bernard Friedman • Marianne Battani • Anna Taylor • Robert Cleland • Avern Cohn • Julian Cook • Patrick Duggan • Nancy Edmunds • John O'Meara • George Steeh • Arthur Tarnow • Stewart Newblatt • Charles Joiner • James Harvey • James Churchill •
|Magistrate judges||Steven Whalen • Michael Hluchaniuk • Paul Komives • Mona Majzoub • David Grand • Patricia T. Morris •|
|Former Article III judges||
Damon Keith • John Feikens • Paul Gadola • Lawrence Zatkoff • Cornelia Kennedy • Ralph Guy • Richard Suhrheinrich • Horace Gilmore • Ross Wilkins • Barbara Hackett • George La Plata • Henry Billings Brown (U.S. Supreme Court) • John Wesley Longyear • Henry Harrison Swan • Alexis Caswell Angell • Arthur Tuttle • Charles Casper Simons • Edward Julien Moinet • Ernest Aloysius O'Brien • Arthur Lederle • Frank Picard • Wade Hampton McCree, Jr. • Patricia Boyle • Robert DeMascio • Ralph Freeman • Lawrence Gubow • Frederick Kaess • Arthur Koscinski • Theodore Levin (Michigan) • Thaddeus Machrowicz • Clifford O'Sullivan • Philip Pratt • Stephen Roth • Talbot Smith • Thomas Thornton • George Woods •
|Former Chief judges||
Damon Keith • Bernard Friedman • Anna Taylor • Julian Cook • John Feikens • Lawrence Zatkoff • Cornelia Kennedy • Arthur Lederle • Frank Picard • James Churchill • Ralph Freeman • Frederick Kaess • Theodore Levin (Michigan) • Philip Pratt •