United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington

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Eastern District of Washington
Ninth Circuit
Judges: 4
Posts: 4
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Rosanna Peterson
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington is one of ninety-four United States district courts. It has jurisdiction over the cities of Richland, Spokane and Yakima. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown San Francisco at the James R. Browning Federal Courthouse, but hears initial appeals at the Pioneer Federal Courthouse in Portland, Oregon.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Michael Ormsby.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington's vacancy warning level is currently set at green. The court currently has no vacancies out of their 4 posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge Rosanna Peterson1951Salt Lake City, UtahObama 1/26/2010-Present2011-PresentFrederick Van SickleUniversity of North Dakota School, 1977University of North Dakota School of Law, 1991
Judge Thomas Rice1960Spokane, WAObama 3/6/2012 - PresentRobert WhaleyGonzaga U., B.B.A., 1983Gonzaga U. Law, J.D., 1983
Judge Sal Mendoza, Jr.1971Pacoima, CaliforniaObama 6/17/2014-PresentLonny SukoUniversity of Washington, 1994UCLA School of Law, 1997
Judge Stanley Bastian1958Wenatchee, WashingtonObama 5/1/2014-PresentUniversity of Oregon, B.S., 1980University of Washington Law, J.D., 1983

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Robert WhaleyClinton 6/30/1995 - 7/12/20092005 - 20097/12/2009 - PresentPrinceton University 1965Emory University School of Law, 1968
Senior Judge Justin QuackenbushCarter 6/18/1980 - 6/27/19951989 - 19956/27/1995 - PresentUniversity of Idaho, B.A., 1951Gonzaga U. School of Law, LL.B., 1957
Senior Judge William NielsenH.W. Bush 5/14/1991 - 5/30/20031995 - 20005/30/2003 - PresentUniversity of Washington, B.A., 1956University of Washington School of Law, LL.B., 1962
Senior Judge Frederick Van SickleH.W. Bush 5/14/1991 - 5/1/20082000 - 20055/1/2008 - PresentUniversity of Wisconsin, B.S., 1965University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1968
Senior Judge Edward SheaClinton 4/8/1998-6/7/20126/7/2012-PresentBoston State College, B.S.Ed., 1965Georgetown U. Law Center, J.D., 1970
Senior Judge Lonny SukoW. Bush 7/16/2003-11/1/20132009-201111/1/2013-PresentWashington State U., B.A., 1965University of Idaho College of Law, J.D., 1968

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge James Hutton1/14/2008-PresentUniversity of Washington, B.A., 1972Gonzaga University School of Law, J.D., 1976
Magistrate Judge John T. Rodgers9/1/2013 - PresentUniversity of Washington, 1975Gonzaga U. Law, 1978


The Counties of the Eastern District of Washington (click for larger map)

The Eastern District of Washington has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

The geographic jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Washington consists of all the following counties in the eastern part of the state of Washington. The court's headquarters are in Spokane, with courthouses in Yakima and Richland.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 1273198932621884 13788.310.730 (3.6%)1221
2012 1187184830351736 12998.19.927 (3%)8.920
2011 1058182028781680 11987.711.330 (3.8%)1221
2010 985168726721606 10668.110.335 (5.1%)15.819
2009 982165026321625 10078.48.934 (5.7%)14.622
2008 967159025571590 9679.28.145 (8.2%)525
20078781378225613399177.38.134 (6.1%)023
*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.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see Justia.com Dockets and Filings.


The State of Washington was established by Congress as one judicial district on April 5, 1890 with one post to cover the entire state and it was assigned over to the Ninth Circuit. On March 2, 1905, the State of Washington was divided into two judicial districts, the Eastern District and the Western District, with a post assigned to each. The post existing before the division was assigned over to the Western District. Over time three additional judicial posts were added for a total of four current posts.[2]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Eastern District of Washington:[2]

Year Statute Total Seats
April 5, 1890 26 Stat. 45 1
March 2, 1905 33 Stat. 824 1
January 20, 1940 63 Stat. 493 1
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 1
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 2
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 3
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 4

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.[3][4]

Former judges

For more information on the judges of the Eastern District of Washington, see former federal judges of the Eastern District of Washington.

Federal courthouse

Three separate courthouses serve the Eastern District of Washington.

See also

External links


WashingtonWashington Supreme CourtWashington Court of AppealsWashington Superior CourtWashington District CourtsWashington Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WashingtonUnited States District Court for the Western District of WashingtonUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of WashingtonUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of WashingtonUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitWashington countiesWashington judicial newsWashington judicial electionsJudicial selection in WashingtonWashingtonTemplate.jpg