United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
- 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 Western District of Louisiana is one of ninety-four United States district courts. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the John Minor Wisdom Federal Courthouse.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
Article III judges
|Judge Patricia Minaldi||1959||Somerville, MA||W. Bush||05/09/2003 - Present||James Trimble||Wesleyan U., 1980||Tulane Law, 1983|
|Judge Richard Haik||1950||Lafayette, LA||H.W. Bush||05/30/1991 - Present||2002 - 2009||John Duhe, Jr.||University of Southwest Louisiana, B.S., 1971||Loyola Law, J.D., 1975|
|Judge Rebecca Doherty||1952||Fort Worth, TX||H.W. Bush||11/05/1991 - Present||New Seat|104 Stat. 5089||Northwestern State U., Louisiana, B.A., 1973||Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1981|
|Judge Maurice Hicks||1952||New Orleans, LA||W. Bush||05/21/2003 - Present||Donald Walter||Texas Christian U., B.A., 1974||Louisiana State U., J.D., 1977|
|Chief Judge Dee Drell||1947||New Orleans, LA||W. Bush||04/10/2003 - Present||10/15/2012 - Present||F.A. Little||Tulane U., B.A., 1968||Tulane Law, J.D., 1971|
|Judge Robert James||1946||Ruston, LA||Clinton||08/03/1998 - Present||2009 - 10/15/2012||John Shaw||Louisiana Tech U., B.A., 1968||Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1971|
|Judge Elizabeth Erny Foote||1953||Lafayette, LA||Obama||06/15/2010 - Present||Tucker Melancon||Louisiana State U., 1974||Louisiana State U. Law, 1978|
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 Tucker Melancon||Clinton||02/11/1994 - 02/13/2009||02/14/2009 - Present||Louisiana State U., B.S., 1968||Tulane Law, J.D., 1973|
|Senior Judge Tom Stagg||Nixon||03/08/1974 - 02/28/1992||1984 - 1991||02/29/1992 - Present||Louisiana State U., B.A., 1943||Louisiana State U. Law, LL.B., 1949|
|Senior Judge Donald Walter||Reagan||07/11/1985 - 11/29/2001||11/30/2001 - Present||Louisiana State U., B.A., 1961||Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1964|
|Senior Judge James Trimble||H.W. Bush||09/16/1991 - 09/12/2002||09/13/2002 - Present||Louisiana State U., B.A., 1955||Louisiana State U. Law, LL.B., 1956|
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.
|Magistrate Judge James Kirk||12/15/1998 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge C. Michael Hill||2001 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay||12/17/2008 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Karen Hayes||06/25/1997 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Mark Hornsby||01/14/2005 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna|
The Western 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.
- Acadia Parish
- Allen Parish
- Avoyelles Parish
- Beauregard Parish
- Bienville Parish
- Bossier Parish
- Caddo Parish
- Calcasieu Parish
- Caldwell Parish
- Cameron Parish
- Catahoula Parish
- Claiborne Parish
- Concordia Parish
- Jefferson Davis Parish
- De Soto Parish
- East Carroll Parish
- Evangeline Parish
- Franklin Parish
- Grant Parish
- Iberia Parish
- Jackson Parish
- Lafayette Parish
- La Salle Parish
- Lincoln Parish
- Madison Parish
- Morehouse Parish
- Natchitoches Parish
- Ouachita Parish
- Rapides Parish
- Red River Parish
- Richland Parish
- Sabine Parish
- St. Landry Parish
- St. Martin Parish
- St. Mary Parish
- Tensas Parish
- Union Parish
- Vermilion Parish
- Vernon Parish
- Webster Parish
- West Carroll Parish
- Winn Parish, Louisiana
|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 Opinions of the Western District of Louisiana.
|• Town's enforcement of pit bull ban is barred by judge (2014)||Click for summary→|
|Following the seizure of a local family's dog by town authorities, Judge Patricia Minaldi issued an order prohibiting New Llano, Louisiana, from instituting its ban on pit bulls and pit bull look-alikes until a hearing could be held to determine the family's rights.
| • Judge declares mistrial after defendant commits suicide (2014)|
Judge(s):Elizabeth Erny Foote (U.S. v. Reece, et al, 6:12-cr-00146)
|Click for summary→|
|On April 3, 2014, Judge Elizabeth Erny Foote declared a mistrial in the government's case against attorneys Barry Domingue and Daniel Stanford after Domingue shot himself in an apparent suicide.
Domingue reportedly shot himself in the head with a 9mm pistol and left a suicide note. He died the same day. After receiving word of Domingue's death, Stanford requested that a mistrial be declared, and Judge Foote acquiesced to his wishes, noting that it was a "very sad end to a very sad matter."
| • 9/11 Anthrax case (2009)|
Judge(s):Patricia Minaldi (USA v. Long, 6:02-cr-60029-PM-KK)
|Click for summary→|
|On September 2, 2009, Judge Patricia Minaldi dismissed a request from federal prosecutors to re-try Stephen Michael Long on charges of making threats with weapons of mass destruction after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his conviction in April 2009. In 2004, Long was convicted of mailing threats using anthrax and was sentenced to thirty years in prison before the Fifth Circuit reversed his conviction.|
| • Operation Wrinkled Robe (2008)|
Judge(s):Maurice Hicks (USA v. Walker et al, 5:07-cr-50097-SMH-MLH)
|Click for summary→|
|On June 3, 2008, Judge Maurice Hicks ordered that Caddo Parish Judges Vernon Claville and Michael Walker (Louisiana) must remain in jail pending a sentencing hearing on their conviction of racketeering.
Claville was sentenced to five years in prison for taking bribes in return for favors, in addition to $165,474 in fines. Walker was sentenced to ten years in prison for taking bribes for bond reductions. During Walker's sentencing, Judge Hicks said, "You chose cash over the Constitution."The investigation of Operation Wrinkled Robe led to the authorization of impeachment proceedings against Thomas Porteous of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
| • Cockfighting case (2005)|
|Click for summary→|
|In 2005, Judge Rebecca Doherty ruled that cockfighters failed to prove their claim that a federal law clamping down on the cockfighting business discriminated against Cajuns and Hispanics and violated the rights of people in Louisiana and New Mexico.|
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, six additional judicial posts were added to the Western District of Louisiana for a total of seven posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Western District of Louisiana:
|March 26, 1804||2 Stat. 283||1(Whole State)|
|March 3, 1823||3 Stat. 774||1(1 shared)|
|February 13, 1845||5 Stat. 722||1(Whole State)|
|March 3, 1849||9 Stat. 401||1|
|July 27, 1866||14 Stat. 300||1(Whole state)|
|March 3, 1881||21 Stat. 507||1|
|May 31, 1938||52 Stat. 584||2|
|May 19, 1961||75 Stat. 80||3|
|June 2, 1970||84 Stat. 294||4|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||5|
|July 10, 1984||98 Stat. 333||6|
|December 1, 1990||104 Stat. 5089||7|
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 about the judges of the Western District of Louisiana, see former federal judges of the Western District of Louisiana.
The Western District of Louisiana has five federal courthouse.
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, "Official Website"
- U.S. Attorney's Office Western District of Louisiana, "Official Website"
- Western District of Louisiana, "Chambers Information for Judges"
- Justia, "Western District of Louisiana Court Cases"
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, "U.S. Attorneys Listing," accessed on August 2, 2014
- Legal Information Institute, "28 U.S.C. § 98(a) - Louisiana," accessed on April 24, 2014
- The Advertiser, "Attorney alleged to have shot himself; US district judge declares mistrial," April 3, 2014 (dead link)
- The Advocate, "Mistrial declared in Lafayette case after defendant shoots self," April 7, 2014
- The Advertiser, "Attorney involved in Curious Goods case has died, authorities say," April 3, 2014 (dead link)
- Tri-Parish Times, "Federal judge dismisses threat case," September 3, 2009
- Shreveport Times, "Judges remain jailed until sentencing," June 4, 2008
- KTBS.com, "Former Judge Claville Gets Five-Year Sentence for Taking Bribes"
- KTBS.com, "Judge Walker Sentenced," accessed April 24, 2014
- Charleston Gazette, "Judge rules against cockfighting industry," June 3, 2005
- Federal Judicial Center, "History of the Districts of Louisiana," accessed on August 2, 2014
- United States Courts, Frequently Asked Questions
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
|Magistrate judges||James Kirk • C. Michael Hill • Kathleen Kay • Karen Hayes • Mark Hornsby • Patrick Hanna •|
|Former Article III judges||
John Dick • Thomas Bolling Robertson • Samuel Hadden Harper • Philip Kissick Lawrence • Theodore Howard McCaleb • Henry Boyce • Alexander Boarman • John Duhe • W. Eugene Davis • George Whitfield Jack • Gaston Porterie • Benjamin Dawkins, Jr. • Benjamin Dawkins, Sr. • Edwin Hunter • F.A. Little • Richard Putnam • Nauman Scott • John Shaw (Louisiana) • Earl Veron •
|Former Chief judges|