United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas

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Western District of Arkansas
Eighth Circuit
Judges: 3
Posts: 3
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Paul K. Holmes
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas is one of ninety-four United States district courts. It is further subdivided into six divisions. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis at the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse and Building.

The United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Conner Eldridge.[1]

Vacancy warning level

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

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge Paul K. Holmes1951Newport, ARObama 2/8/2011 - Present2012 - PresentRobert DawsonWestminster College, B.A., 1973University of Arkansas School of Law, J.D., 1978
Judge Susan Hickey1955Dallas, TXObama 10/19/2011 - PresentHarry BarnesUniversity of Arkansas, B.A., 1977University of Arkansas Law, J.D., 1981
Judge Timothy Brooks1964Fayetteville, ArkansasObama 3/5/2014-PresentJimm HendrenUniversity of Arkansas, B.S.B.A, 1986University of Arkansas School of Law, J.D., 1989

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Jimm HendrenH.W. Bush 3/18/1992 - 12/31/20121997 - 201212/31/2012 - PresentUniversity of Arkansas, B.A., 1964University of Arkansas School of Law, LL.B., 1965
Senior Judge Robert DawsonClinton 4/7/1998 - 8/14/20098/14/2009 - PresentUniversity of Arkansas, B.A., 1960University of Arkansas School of Law, LL.B., 1965
Senior Federal Judge Harry BarnesClinton 11/22/1993 - 11/1/200811/1/2008 - PresentUnited States Naval Academy, 1956University of Arkansas School of Law, 1964

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant02/19/2007 - Present
Magistrate Judge Erin Setser10/05/209 - PresentUniversity of Arkansas, B.A., 1991University of Arkansas Law, J.D., 1994
Magistrate judge Mark E. Ford1/2015-2023University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 1982University of Arkansas, 1985


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

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

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

The El Dorado Division, covering Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Columbia, Ouachita and Union counties.

The Fayetteville Division, covering Benton, Madison and Washington counties.

The Fort Smith Division, covering Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Polk, Scott and Sebastian counties.

The Harrison Division, covering Baxter, Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties.

The Hot Springs Division, covering Clark, Garland, Hot Spring, Montgomery and Pike counties.

The Texarkana Division, covering Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada and Sevier 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 1452156130131472 15418.711.925 (2.2%)914
2012 1350152528751428 14477.412.219 (1.7%)0.415
2011 1273146327361384 13526.412.118 (1.8%)16.211
2010 1090135524451177 12686.611.219 (2%)2411
2009 1005119421991089 11105.9127 (0.8%)12.514
2008 900112320231025 9986.8109 (1.1%)013
20078081086189410108845.910.35 (0.7%)010
*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 Justia.com-Dockets and Filings-Western District of Arkansas.


The District of Arkansas was organized by Congress on June 15, 1836 with one post to cover the entire state. The district court in Arkansas was not yet assigned to a judicial circuit, and thus had the same jurisdiction as the United States circuit courts, excluding appeals and writs of error, which are the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court.

On March 3, 1851, statute 5 Stat. 176, 177 divided the federal judiciary into nine circuits. This act assigned the district of Arkansas over to the Ninth Circuit,and repealed the district court of Arkansas's right to exercise the trial jurisdiction of a United States circuit court. The act established annual sessions of the U.S. circuit court in the district of Arkansas. Statute 5 Stat. 680 on June 17, 1844, extended the jurisdiction of the district of Arkansas over Indian territory previously annexed to the Territory of Arkansas.

Statute 9 Stat. 594 on March 3, 1851, divided the State of Arkansas into two judicial districts, known as the Eastern and the Western, with one judgeship serving both. The Indian territory was under the jurisdiction of the Western District of Arkansas, while the Eastern District remained in the Ninth Circuit and the Western District of Arkansas was granted that same jurisdiction as the United States circuit courts.

On July 23, 1866, Congress assigned Arkansas to the Sixth Circuit, and then to the Eighth Circuit by July 15, 1862. After this, a judgeship was authorized to the Western District on March 3, 1871, and the judgeship previously assigned to serve both districts was made into a judgeship for the Eastern District only.

In 1889, the U.S. circuit court for the Western District of Arkansas was established by statute.

Over time two additional judicial posts were added for a total of three posts.[2]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Western District of Arkansas:[2]

Year Statute Total Seats
June 15, 1836 5 Stat. 50, 51 1
March 3, 1851 9 Stat. 594 1
March 3, 1871 16 Stat. 471 2
May 31, 1938 52 Stat. 584 3
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 4
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 4 (1 temporary)
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 3

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.[3][4]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the Western District of Arkansas, see former federal judges of the Western District of Arkansas.

Federal courthouse

Six separate courthouses serve the Western District of Arkansas.

See also

External links


ArkansasArkansas Supreme CourtArkansas Court of AppealsArkansas Circuit CourtsArkansas District CourtsArkansas City CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of ArkansasUnited States District Court for the Western District of ArkansasUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern and Western Districts of ArkansasUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitArkansas countiesArkansas judicial newsArkansas judicial electionsJudicial selection in ArkansasArkansasTemplate.jpg