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United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri

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Western District of Missouri
Eighth Circuit
Western District of Missouri-seal.png
Judges: 7
Posts: 7
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: Sarah Hays
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri is one of ninety-four United States district courts.[1] The court is divided into five locations: Kansas City, Jefferson City, Springfield, Joplin, and St. Joseph.[2] When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse.

The United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Tammy Dickinson.[3]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies for its seven posts.

Pending nominations

Roseann A. KetchmarkUniversity of Oklahoma, 1986University of Kansas School of Law, 1990

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Rodney Sippel1956Jefferson City, MOClinton 11/12/1997 - PresentStephen N. Limbaugh, Sr.University of Tulsa, B.S., 1978Washington University School of Law, J.D., 1981
Judge David Kays1962Kansas City, MOW. Bush 6/19/2008 - Present01/03/2014 - PresentDean WhippleSouthwest Missouri State U., B.S., 1985University of Arkansas School of Law, J.D., 1987
Judge Gary Fenner1947St. Joseph, MOClinton 7/25/1996 - PresentScott WrightUniversity of Kansas, Lawrence, 1970University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, 1973
Judge Brian C. Wimes1966Kansas City, MOObama 4/23/2012 - PresentNanette LaughreyUniversity of Kansas, B.G.S., 1990Texas Southern U., J.D., 1994
Judge Mary Elizabeth Phillips1969Kirksville, MOObama 03/06/2012 - PresentOrtrie SmithUniversity of Chicago, 1991University of Missouri Law, 1996
Judge M. Douglas Harpool1956Springfield, Missouri 3/26/2014-PresentRichard DorrMissouri State U., B.S., 1977University of Missouri, Columbia Law, J.D., 1980
Judge Stephen R. Bough1970Gainseville, Florida 12/16/2014-PresentFernando GaitanMissouri State University, 1993University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, 1997

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Nanette LaughreyClinton 08/01/1996 - 08/27/201108/27/2011 - PresentUniversity of California, Los Angeles, 1967University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, 1975
Senior Judge Ortrie SmithClinton 8/14/1995 - 4/30/20114/30/2011 - PresentUniversity of Missouri-Columbia, B.A., 1968University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, J.D., 1971
Senior Judge Dean WhippleReagan 12/9/1987 - 4/30/20072000 - 20074/30/2007 - PresentDrury College, A.B, 1961University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, J.D., 1965
Senior Judge Scott WrightCarter 9/26/1979 - 10/5/19911985 - 199010/5/1991 - PresentUniversity of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, 1950
Senior Judge Howard SachsCarter 9/26/1979-10/31/19921990-199210/31/1992-PresentWilliams College, 1947Harvard Law School, 1950
Senior Judge Fernando GaitanH.W. Bush 8/2/1991-1/3/20142007-20141/3/2014-PresentPittsburg State U., Pittsburg, Kansas, 1970University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, 1974

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Sarah Hays1992-PresentLouisiana State University, 1975Louisiana State University Law, 1977
Magistrate Judge Robert Larsen1991-PresentRockhurst University, 1969University of Missouri Law, 1973
Magistrate Judge John Maughmer1988 - PresentUniversity of Missouri, B.S., 1977University of Missouri Law, J.D., 1980
Magistrate Judge James England1976 - PresentU. or Missouri, B.A., 1969University of Missouri Law, J.D., 1972
Magistrate Judge Matt Whitworth2010 - PresentBaker U., 1980University of Arkansas Law, J.D., 1983
Magistrate Judge David P. Rush2012-PresentMissouri State University, 1983University of Iowa, 1986


The Counties of the Western District of Missouri (click for larger map)

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

There are five court divisions, each covering the following counties:

The Kansas City Division (Western Division), covering Bates, Carroll, Cass, Clay, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Ray, St. Clair, and Saline counties.

The Jefferson City Division (Central Division), covering Benton, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Hickory, Howard, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, and Pettis counties.

The Springfield Division (Southern Division), covering Cedar, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Howell, Laclede, Oregon, Ozark, Polk, Pulaski, Taney, Texas, Webster, and Wright counties.

The St. Joseph Division, covering Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Livingston, Mercer, Nodaway, Platte, Putnam, Sullivan, and Worth counties.

The Joplin Division (Southwestern Division), covering Barry, Barton, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, Stone, and Vernon counties.




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 3116366667823446 333613.210.747 (2.4%)5.218
2012 3150391570653868 319714.57.162 (3%)11.922
2011 2835357864133214 3199138.556 (2.9%)6.120
2010 2620339960193171 284812.47.731 (1.8%)024
2009 2570326658363194 264212.77.443 (2.7%)024
2008 2879306359423191 2751128.146 (3.1%)8.327
20072572324858203268255210.88.545 (2.9%)524
*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 Western District of and Filings.


Congress established the State of Missouri as one judicial district on March 16, 1822, with one post to cover the entire state. The district court in Missouri was not yet assigned to a judicial circuit, and therefore was granted the same jurisdiction as the United States circuit courts, excluding appeals or writs of error, which are the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court.

On March 3, 1837, following Statute 5 Stat. 176, Congress repealed the circuit court jurisdiction of the district court of Missouri. Missouri was assigned to the Eighth Circuit and the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Missouri was created. On March 3, 1857, Statute 11 Stat. 197 divided the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Missouri into two judicial districts, known as the Eastern and the Western. One judgeship was authorized to each district, and the district judge who served the District of Missouri was assigned to serve the Western District of Missouri.

Congress assigned Missouri to the Ninth Circuit on July 15, 1862, and then assigned Missouri to the Eighth Circuit on July 23, 1866.

Over time, five additional judicial posts were added for a total of seven posts.[11]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Western District of Missouri:[11]

Year Statute Total Seats
March 3, 1857 11 Stat. 197 1
September 14, 1922 42 Stat. 838 2
June 22, 1936 49 Stat. 1804 3
December 24, 1942 56 Stat. 1083 4
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 5
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 7
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 7
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 7
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.[12][13]

Former judges

For more information on the judges of the court, see former federal judges of the Western District of Missouri.

Federal courthouse

Five separate courthouses serve the Western District of Missouri.

See also

External links


MissouriMissouri Supreme CourtMissouri Court of AppealsMissouri Circuit CourtsMissouri Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of MissouriUnited States District Court for the Western District of MissouriUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of MissouriUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of MissouriUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitMissouri countiesMissouri judicial newsMissouri judicial electionsJudicial selection in MissouriMissouriTemplate.jpg