United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
The United States Court for the Middle District of Louisiana is a United States district court. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Downtown New Orleans at the John Minor Wisdom Federal Courthouse.
Vacancy warning level
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana's vacancy warning level is currently set at orange with one vacancy.
The Middle District of Louisiana has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
|Federal Court Case Load 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.
The Middle District of Louisiana has only one courthouse. Nick J. Lorio is the official clerk of court and can be reached at (225) 389-3500. Clerks' offices are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until noon and 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m, excluding federal holidays. The contact information for the court is below:
U.S. District Court
777 Florida StreetBaton Rouge, LA 70801
Federal courts in Lousiana were established by Congress on March 26, 1804 with one post to cover the territory of Orleans. This was the one and only time that Congress granted a district court with the same jurisdiction as the state courts to a territory. On March 3, 1823 Congress divided the district into the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Western District of Louisiana. On February 13, 1845, Congress consolidated the districts into one district, with one post over the entire state. On March 3, 1849 Congress again divided the district into the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Western District of Louisiana only to reunite it into one district again on July 27, 1866. Finally, congress divided the district for the last time on March 3, 1881. Then on December 18, 1971 Congress split the Middle District of Louisiana from the two existing districts, resulting in the current jurisdictions. Over time 2 additional judicial posts were added to the Middle District of Louisiana for a total of 3 current posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Middle District of Louisiana:
|March 26, 1804||2 Stat. 283||1(Whole State)|
|December 18, 1971||85 Stat. 741||1|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||2|
|October 6, 1997||111 Stat. 1173||3|
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Opinions of the Middle District of Louisiana.
| • Louisiana's death row inmates subjected to inhumane conditions (2013) Judge(s):Brian Jackson|
*Ball, et al v. LeBlanc, et al 13-00368-BAJ-SCR
|On December 19, 2013, Chief Judge Brian Jackson ruled that death row inmates' constitutional rights at the Louisiana State Penitentiary were being violated because of their inhumane treatment, which rose to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. In the underlying case, three inmates filed suit in June 2013, alleging that they were forced to endure extreme conditions in their cells during the summers when temperatures rose to more than 100 degrees. The prison's death row is the only area of the facility that is not air-conditioned. One week after filing suit, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to keep the temperatures at a reasonable level. The court instituted a monitoring period, and during that time, a prison official attempted to manipulate the temperatures to make it seem cooler than it actually was. Aside from that occasion, prison guards reportedly acted with "deliberate indifference" to the prisoners' plight. Chief Judge Jackson found the inmates' allegations of cruelty to be substantial enough to rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation, and ordered that officials at the Penitentiary develop a plan to reduce the heat in the death row cells to a temperature of 88 degrees or below. He further ordered that death row prisoners be afforded one cold shower per day and access to ice and cold drinking water throughout the day, noting that "financial considerations [would] not be considered a legitimate reason for Defendants’ failure to comply with [his] order," because their "purported financial hardships 'can never be an adequate justification for depriving any person of his constitutional rights.'" Chief Judge Jackson further ruled that his order applied to all death row inmates, not just the ones who brought suit. Prison officials indicated that they would likely appeal the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.|
| • Louisiana tax firm shut down in federal suit (2013) Judge(s):James J. Brady|
*United States v. Ann M. Williams, etc. 3:13-cv-00221
|The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana has permanently prohibited Ann Williams, owner of tax preparation firm Ann's Tax Service, from preparing federal returns for clients. According to a government complaint, the firm repeatedly slanted customers' tax liability by misreporting business income, exaggerating and fabricating business expenses, and falsely claiming the Earned Income Credit. The government estimates that as much as $2.2 million in tax revenue was lost as a result of the fraud. While Williams and her firm did not admit to the allegations brought against them, they agreed to the civil injunction order issued on April 10 by Louisiana Judge James J. Brady. The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Louisiana acted as local counsel for the lawsuit.|
The Middle District of Louisiana has only one federal courthouse.
For new stories and other related material see Louisiana judicial news.
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
- United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States District Court - Louisiana Middle District
- US Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana
- Judges of the Middle District of Louisiana
- Opinions of the Middle District of Louisiana
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- 28 U.S.C. § 98(a)
- Courthouse Directory
- FJC History of the Districts of Louisiana
- Digital Journal, "Federal judge: Louisiana death row inmates endure deadly heat," December 23, 2013
- Times Picayune, "Judge rules heat levels on Angola death row subject inmates to 'cruel and unusual punishment'," December 19, 2013
- U.S. Department of Justice, "Federal Court Shuts Down Louisiana Tax Return Preparer," April 10, 2013
|2.1 Active Judges|
|2.1.1 Article III judges|
|2.1.2 Pending appointments|
|2.1.3 Senior judges|
|2.2 Past judges|
|2.2.1 Former Chief judges|
|2.2.2 Former judges|
Article III judgesThe United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana has 3 posts. This is a list of the current judges on the court:
|Chief Judge Brian Jackson||1960||New Orleans, LA||Obama||06/15/2010 - Present||2011 - Present||Frank Polozola||Xavier U., 1982||Southern U. Law, 1985|
|Judge Shelly Deckert Dick||1960||El Paso, TX||Obama||5/9/2013 - Present||Ralph Tyson||U. of Texas, B.S., 1981||Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1988|
There are no current pending appointments for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
Senior judgesSee: Federal judges on senior status
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana has 2 judge on senior status currently. This is a list of the current senior judges on the court:
|Senior Judge James J. Brady||Clinton||05/25/2000 - 12/30/2013||12/31/2013 - Present||Southeastern Louisiana College, B.A., 1966||Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1969|
|Senior Judge John Parker||Carter||09/26/1979 - 10/30/1998||1979 - 1998||10/31/1998 - Present||Louisiana State U., B.A., 1949||Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1952|
|Magistrate Judge Stephen Riedlinger||05/29/1986 - Present||Louisiana State U., 1971||Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1977|
|Magistrate Judge Richard L. Bourgeois, Jr.||2/20/2013-Present||Louisiana State University||Georgetown University Law Center|
Former Chief judges
|Elmer West||1978 - 1979|
|Frank Polozola||1998 - 2005|
|John Parker||1979 - 1998|
|Ralph Tyson||2005 - 2011|
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. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.
These rules for Chief Judges in the federal judiciary have been in effect since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948. Until August 6, 1959, the position was filled in each federal court by the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as Chief Judge. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.
|Magistrate judges||Stephen Riedlinger • Richard L. Bourgeois, Jr. •|
|Former Article III judges|
|Former Chief judges|