United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island
The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island is a United States district court.
The United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court.
Vacancy warning level
The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island's vacancy warning level is currently set at green. The court currently has no vacancies out of their three posts, constituting 0% of their seats. There are no pending appointments for the district.
|First Circuit Court of Appeals based in Downtown Boston at the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse.|
The District of Rhode Island 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 all judicial posts had spent vacant that year.
The Rhode Island has one courthouse. The Clerk's office is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Please consult the chart below for more information:
|Federal Building and Courthouse
One Exchange Terrace
|(401) 752-7200||(401) 752-7247||ContactUs@RID.USCOURTS.GOV|
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of Rhode Island:
|June 23, 1790||1 Stat. 128||1|
|March 18, 1966||80 Stat. 75||2|
|July 10, 1984||98 Stat. 333||3|
For a searchable list of opinions, please see District of Rhode Island official website and then navigate to Case Information -> Opinions.
| • Nightclub fire case Judge(s):Ronald Lagueux|
*GRAY vs. DERDERIAN 1-04CV0312L
|Judge Lagueux on January 7, 2010 approved a settlement of $176 million to family members of the victims of a night club fire that killed 100 people in Providence, Rhode Island in 2003.
The fire was caused by a pyrotechnics display used in a rock concert. The pyrotechnics hit the soundproof foam which led to a fire resulting in 100 deaths.The settlement ends nearly seven years of litigation in the case in which the club's owners pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges in 2006.
| • High School prayer banner Judge(s):Ronald Lagueux|
*AHLQUIST vs. CRANSTON 1-11CV0138L
|On January 11, 2012, Judge Lagueux issued his ruling in AHLQUIST vs. CRANSTON, deciding that a prayer banner that hung on the gym wall of a public high school violated the First Amendment. Lagueux ordered that the banner be removed within 10 days, barring an appeal from the school district. Lagueux felt that there was no way to construe the prayer as anything but Christian in nature. He defended this in his opinion, stating "The Prayer concludes with the indisputably religious closing: 'Amen;' a Hebrew word used by Jews, Christians and Muslims to conclude prayers. In between, the Prayer espouses values of honesty, kindness, friendship and sportsmanship. While these goals are commendable, the reliance on God’s intervention as the way to achieve those goals is not consistent with a secular purpose." He also lauded Jessica Ahlquist , the student who brought the suit, stating that she "is clearly an articulate and courageous young woman, who took a brave stand, particularly in the light of the hostile response she has received from the community." The school will determine if it will appeal the decision at an open meeting on February 16. The prayer reads:
"Our Heavenly Father,The author of the prayer has continued to express dismay at the ruling, telling the press, “It’s a shame that some judge with an appointment out of a Cracker Jack box can make a ruling like that." 
| • Survivor case Judge(s):William E. Smith|
*Hatch v. USA 1:2009-cv-00144
|On July 10, 2009, Judge Smith ruled that the first winner from the TV program "Survivor", Richard Hatch, could not leave home confinement early to star in a 10th anniversary edition of the reality show in Samoa.  Hatch was convicted by the District of Rhode Island in 2006 on tax evasion on the $1 million he won on the debut season of the reality show. Hatch served three years in federal prison and is serving the final 90 days of his sentence on home confinement in Rhode Island. |
| • Microsoft piracy case Judge(s):William E. Smith|
*Uniloc USA, Inc., et al v. Microsoft Corp., et al 1:03-cv-00440-S-DLM
|On September 28, 2009, Judge Smith vacated a $388 million dollar verdict levied against software giant Microsoft on charges of patent infringement by an anti-piracy software maker. The judge vacated the verdict finding that the jury did not find a legally sufficient basis in reaching the it. Microsoft may appeal the ruling to the First Circuit as this is the second major lawsuit they have faced in 2009 on patent infringement charges. .|
The court meets in what was originally the Providence Post Office, Court House and Custom House, now called the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, in Providence, Rhode Island. The building was constructed between 1904-08 in the Beaux Arts style of architecture popular, at the time, for public buildings of similar nature.
The building was originally designed to house a post office, a customs offices, and the federal courts. It now houses only the courts.
For new stories and other related material see Rhode Island judicial news.
- McConnell confirmed to District of Rhode Island
- United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island Official Website
- United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island Official Website
- Bankruptcy court for the District of Rhode Island
- Opinions of the District of Rhode Island
- Contacts for the District of Rhode Island
- ↑ Court Clerk Information(Navigate to general Information -> Contact Information -> Contact Us)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 FJC History of the District of Rhode Island
- ↑ "The Boston Globe" RI judge OKs $176M settlement in deadly club fire, January 7, 2010
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Stonington Mystic-Patch, "Judge Orders Prayer Banner Written By Stonington Man Removed" 1/13/2012
- ↑ Catholic Online, "Atheist teen stands behind her position after school prayer banner taken down" 1/30/2012
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "Associated Press" Judge: Hatch can't travel for latest 'Survivor', July 12, 2009
- ↑ "ABA Journal" Federal Judge Nixes $390M Jury Verdict in Microsoft Patent Case, September 29, 2009
- ↑ Official Brief History of the Court
|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 judgesSee: Article III federal judge
The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island has 3 posts and 0 vacancy. The current Chief Judge is Mary Lisi. This is a list of the current judges on the court:
|Chief Judge Mary Lisi||1950||Providence, RI||Clinton||5/9/1994 - Present||2006 - Present||Francis Boyle||Rhode Island U., 1972||Temple U. Law, 1977|
|Judge William E. Smith||1959||Boise, ID||W. Bush||11/15/2002 - Present||Ronald Lagueux||Georgetown U., 1982||Georgetown U. Law, 1987|
|Judge John McConnell||1958||Providence, RI||Obama||5/4/2011 - Present||Ernest Torres||Brown, A.B., 1980||Case Western Reserve U. Law, J.D., 1983|
There are no current pending appointments for the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.
Senior judgesSee: Federal judges on senior status
The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island has 1 judge on senior status currently. This is a list of the current senior judges on the court:
|Senior Judge Ronald Lagueux||Reagan||3/4/1986 - 11/30/2001||1992 - 1999||11/30/2001 - Present||Bowdoin College, 1953||Harvard Law, 1956|
|Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond||9/10/2004-Current||University of Rhode Island (1985)||University of Connecticut School of Law (1988)|
|Magistrate Judge Robert Lovegreen||1993-Current||Brown University (1960)||University of Virginia Law School (1963)|
|Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan||10/01/2012 - Present||Wellesley College, B.A., 1973||Georgetown U. Law, J.D., 1978|
Former Chief judges
|Raymond Pettine||1971 - 1982|
|Edward Day||1966 - 1971|
|Francis Boyle||1982 - 1992|
|Ernest Torres||1999 - 2006|
|Ronald Lagueux||1992 - 1999|
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.
- Ernest Torres
- Bruce Marshall Selya
- Benjamin Bourne
- Henry Marchant
- David Leonard Barnes
- David Howell
- John Pitman
- Jonathan Russell Bullock
- John Power Knowles
- LeBaron Bradford Colt
- George Moulton Carpenter
- Arthur Lewis Brown
- Ira Lloyd Letts
- John Christopher Mahoney
- Francis Boyle
- Edward Day
- John Patrick Hartigan
- Edward Leahy
- Raymond Pettine
|Seat 1||Seat 2||Seat 3|
|Magistrate judges||Lincoln Almond • Robert Lovegreen • Patricia A. Sullivan •|
|Former Article III judges||
Ernest Torres • Bruce Marshall Selya • Benjamin Bourne • Henry Marchant • David Leonard Barnes • David Howell • John Pitman • Jonathan Russell Bullock • John Power Knowles • LeBaron Bradford Colt • George Moulton Carpenter • Arthur Lewis Brown • Ira Lloyd Letts • John Christopher Mahoney • Francis Boyle • Edward Day • John Patrick Hartigan • Edward Leahy • Raymond Pettine •
|Former Chief judges|