United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana is a United States district court of the 5th Circuit. 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 Western District of Louisiana's vacancy warning level is currently set at green. The court currently has no vacancies.
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.
|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 Western District of Louisiana has five courthouses. Debbie Dickerson is the official clerk of court and can be reached at ((318) 322-6740. Clerks' offices are open Monday through Friday8:00 a.m. until noon, and 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. excluding federal holidays. Please consult the chart below for more information:
|Branch||Parishes||Address||Phone and Fax number|
|Alexandria Division||Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Winn||105 United States Post Office and Courthouse
515 Murray Street
Fax: (318) 473-7345
|Lafayette Division||Martin Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Mary, St. Landry, Vermillion||United States Courthouse
|Phone: (337) 593-5000 |
Fax: (337) 593-5027
|Lake Charles Division||Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Vernon||Edwin F. Hunter, Jr.
United States Courthouse and Federal Building
|Phone: (337) 437-3870 |
Fax: (337) 437-3873
|Monroe Division||Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll||Federal Building
|Phone:(318) 322-6740 |
Fax: (318) 387-9661
|Shreveport Division||Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Red River, Sabine, Webster||United States Courthouse
|Phone: (318) 676-4273 |
Fax: (318) 676-3962
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 6 additional judicial posts were added to the Western District of Louisiana for a total of 7 current 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|
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Opinions of the Western District of Louisiana.
| • 9/11 Anthrax case (2009) Judge(s):Patricia Minaldi|
*USA v. Long 6:02-cr-60029-PM-KK
|On September 2, 2009, Judge Patricia Minaldi dismissed a request from federal prosecutors to re-try Stephen Michael Long on charges on making threats with weapons of mass destruction after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his conviction in April of 2009. In 2004, Long was convicted of mailing threats using anthrax and was sentenced to 30 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
|On June 3, 2008, Hicks ordered Caddo Parish Judges Vernon Claville and Michael Walker had to stay in jail pending a September 4 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) Judge(s):Rebecca Doherty|
|In 2005, Judge Rebecca Doherty ruled that cockfighters had failed to prove their claim that a federal law clamping down on the cockfighting business discriminates against Cajuns and Hispanics and violates the rights of people in Louisiana and New Mexico.|
The Western District of Louisiana has five 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 Middle District of Louisiana
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of LA
- U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of LA
- Judges of the Western District of Louisiana
- Opinions of the Western District of Louisiana
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- 28 U.S.C. § 98(a)
- FJC History of the Districts of Louisiana
- "Tri-Parish Times" Federal judge dismisses threat case, September 3, 2009
- Reporttimes.com, "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"
- Judge rules against cockfighting industry
|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 Western District of Louisiana has 7 posts. This is a list of the current judges on the court:
|Judge Patricia Minaldi||1959||Somerville, MA||W. Bush||05/09/2003 - Present||James Trimble||Wesleyan U., B.A., 1980||Tulane Law, J.D., 1983|
|Judge Richard Haik||1950||Lafayette, LA||H.W. Bush||05/30/1991 - Present||2002 - 2009||John Duhe, Jr.||U. 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|
There are no current pending appointments for the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
Senior judgesSee: Federal judges on senior status
The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana has 4 judges on senior status currently. This is a list of the current senior judges on the court:
|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|
|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|
Former Chief judges
|John Shaw||1991 - 1996|
|Nauman Scott||1976 - 1984|
|F.A. Little||1996 - 2002|
|Edwin Hunter||1973 - 1976|
|Benjamin Dawkins, Sr.||1948 - 1953|
|Benjamin Dawkins, Jr.||1953 - 1973|
|Tom Stagg||1984 - 1991|
|Richard Haik||2002 - 2009|
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.
- 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
- Earl Veron
|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 • Earl Veron •
|Former Chief judges|