United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is R. Booth Goodwin, II .
Vacancy warning level
The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia's vacancy warning level is currently set at green. The court currently has no vacancies.
The Southern District of West Virginia 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 Southern District of West Virginia has five separate courthouses and is headquartered in the Charleston Division. The official clerk of court is Teresa Deppner. Offices are open Monday-Friday 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. excluding holidays. Please consult the chart below for more information:
|Branch||Counties||Physical Address||Mailing Address||Phone number|
|Bluefield Division||McDowell, Mercer, Monroe||601 Federal Street, Room 2303
Bluefield, WV 24701
|P. O. Box 4128
Bluefield, WV 24701
|Charleston Division||Boone, Clay, Fayette, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln,
Logan, Mingo, Nicholas, Roane
|Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse
300 Virginia Street, East, Suite 2400 Charleston, WV 25301
|P. O. Box 2546
Charleston, WV 25329
|Huntington Division||Cabell, Mason, Putnam, Wayne||Sidney L. Christie Federal Building
845 Fifth Avenue, Room 101 Huntington, WV 25701
|Beckley Division||Greenbrier, Raleigh, Summers, Wyoming||110 North Heber Street, Room 119
Beckley, WV 25801
|P. O. Drawer 5009
Beckley, WV 25801
|Parkersburg Division||Wirt, Wood||425 Juliana Street, Room 5102
Parkersburg, WV 2610
The District of West Virginia was established by Congress on June 11, 1864 out of the Western District of Virginia with one post to cover the entire state. On January 22, 1901 Congress divided the district into the Northern District of West Virginia and Southern District of West Virginia with one post each. Over time 4 additional judicial posts were added to the Southern District of West Virginia for a total of 5 current posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Southern District of West Virginia:
|June 11, 1864||13 Stat. 124||1 (Whole state)|
|January 22, 1901||31 Stat. 736||1|
|June 25, 1921||42 Stat. 67||2(1 temporary)|
|August, 1921||Temporary post expired||1|
|June 22, 1936||49 Stat. 1805||2 (1 temporary shared)|
|February 10, 1954||68 Stat. 8||2 (1 shared)|
|June 2, 1970||84 Stat. 294||3 (1 shared)|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||5 (1 shared, 1 temporary)|
|January 14, 1983||96 Stat. 2601 (temporary reassigned)||4|
|December 1, 1990||104 Stat. 5089||5|
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Judges of the Southern District of West Virginia.
| • Unconstitutional redistricting map (2012) Judge(s):Irene Berger, Robert King, John Bailey|
*Jefferson County Commission et al v. Tennant et al 2:11-cv-00989
|On January 3, 2012, a federal three-judge panel from the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia ruled West Virginia's congressional redistricting plan unconstitutional due its unequal distribution of population among the state’s three districts. The court gave the West Virginia Legislature until January 17 to come up with a new map -- otherwise, the panel would redraw the map. The State appealed the ruling to the US Supreme Court and for a stay on the decision.
Supreme Court appeal
On Friday, January 20, the Supreme Court stayed the lower court's ruling requiring West Virginia lawmakers to redraw the state's congressional redistricting map. The order suggested that the court would be sympathetic to the state's defense in a full appeal. The order also allowed the state to move forward with the new maps for the 2012 elections. Prior to the ruling, several alternative plans had been considered in the state legislature.
The state had until March 27 to file a brief with the Supreme Court or seek an extension on the stay. On March 27, the state filed a brief asking the court to hear the case. If the case did not go before the court, the lower court's ruling would have taken effect, and the maps would be redrawn.On September 25, 2012, the Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the lower federal court, upholding the new congressional districts as constitutional. In their eight-page ruling the Supreme Court stated somewhat unequal districts were permissible as the Legislature legitimately sought to avoid drawing incumbents into the same district while keeping counties intact.
There are five federal courthouses that serve the Southern District of West Virginia.
For new stories and other related material see West Virginia judicial news.
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
- The United States Attorney's Office Southern District of West Virginia
- Judges of the Southern District of West Virginia
- Opinions of the Southern District of West Virginia
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- Court Clerk Information(Select the appropriate division for info and map)
- FJC History of the Districts of West Virginia
- Chicago Tribune, "Supreme Court keeps West Virginia redistricting map intact," January 20, 2012
- State Journal, "Legal Experts Comment on Congressional Redistricting Case," January 17, 2012
- WV Gazette, "Congressional redistricting plan introduced produces grumbling," January 16, 2012
- WV Gazette, "W.Va. lawmakers seek OK of congressional districts," March 27, 2012
- The Journal, "Commission updated on lawsuit," March 16, 2012
- The Daily Mail, "Supreme Court rules: W.Va. redistricting can stand," September 25, 2012
|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 Southern District of West Virginia has 5 posts. This is a list of the current judges on the court:
|Judge Joseph Goodwin||1942||Ripley, WV||Clinton||05/10/1995 - Present||2007 - 2012||Robert Staker||West Virginia U., B.S., 1965||West Virginia U. Law, J.D., 1970|
|Judge Thomas Johnston||1967||Charleston, WV||W. Bush||04/17/2006 - Present||Charles Haden II||West Virginia U., B.A., 1989||West Virginia U. Law, J.D., 1992|
|Judge John Copenhaver||1925||Charleston, WV||Ford||09/3/1996 - Present||Kenneth Hall||West Virginia U., A.B., 1947||West Virginia U. Law, LL.B., 1950|
|Chief Judge Robert Chambers||1952||Williamson, WV||Clinton||09/18/1997 - Present||2012 - Present||Elizabeth Hallanan||Marshall U., A.B., 1974||West Virginia U. Law, J.D., 1977|
|Judge Irene Berger||1954||Obama||11/09/2009 - Present||David Faber||West Virginia U., B.A., 1976||West Virginia U. Law, J.D., 1979|
There are no current pending appointments for the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Senior judgesSee: Federal judges on senior status
The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia has 1 judge on senior status currently. This is a list of the current senior judges on the court:
|Senior Judge David Faber||H.W. Bush||11/25/1991 - 12/30/2008||2002 - 2007||12/31/2008 - Present||West Virginia U., A.B., 1964||Yale Law, J.D., 1967|
|Magistrate Judge Clarke VanDervort||12/20/2002 - Present||Ohio U., A.B.||West Virginia U. Law, J.D.|
|Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert|
|Magistrate judge Dwane Tinsley||4/8/2013-Present||Davis & Elkins College, 1975||West Virginia University College of Law, 1981|
Former Chief judges
|Ben Moore||1948 - 1958|
|Dennis Knapp||1973 - 1982|
|John Field||1959 - 1971|
|Charles Haden II||1982 - 2002|
|Sidney Christie||1971 - 1973|
|David Faber||2002 - 2007|
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||Clarke VanDervort • Cheryl Eifert • Dwane Tinsley •|
|Former Article III judges||
Benjamin Franklin Keller • George Warwick McClintic • Harry Watkins • Sidney Christie • Charles Haden II • William Kidd • John Field • Kenneth Hall • Elizabeth Hallanan • Dennis Knapp • Ben Moore • Robert Staker •
|Former Chief judges|