United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

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Western District of Washington
Ninth Circuit
Judges: 8
Posts: 8
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Marsha Pechman
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington is one of ninety-four United States district courts. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown San Francisco at the James R. Browning Federal Courthouse, but hears initial appeals at the Pioneer Federal Courthouse in Portland, Oregon.

The United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Jenny A. Durkan.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington's vacancy warning level is currently set at green. The court has zero vacancies out of their eight posts.

Pending nominations

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

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Ronald Leighton1951Stockton, CAW. Bush 11/26/2002 - PresentRobert BryanWhitworth College, 1973UC Hastings College of Law, 1976
Judge Robert Lasnik1951Staten Island, NYClinton 10/22/1998 - Present2004 - 2011Carol DimmickBrandeis U., A.B., 1972University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1978
Judge Richard Jones1950Seattle, WAW. Bush 10/29/2007 - PresentJohn CoughenourSeattle U., Bachelor of Public Affairs, 1972University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1975
Federal Judge Ben Settle1947Olympia, WAW. Bush 7/2/2007 - PresentFranklin BurgessClaremont McKenna College, B.A., 1969Willamette University College of Law, J.D., 1972
Judge James Robart1947Seattle, WAW. Bush 6/21/2004 - PresentThomas ZillyWhitman College, B.A., 1969Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1973
Judge Ricardo Martinez1951Mercedes, TXW. Bush 6/16/2004-PresentNew Seat|104 Stat. 5089University of Washington, 1975University of Washington School of Law, 1980
Chief Judge Marsha Pechman1951Salem, ORClinton 9/9/1999 - Present2011 - PresentWilliam DwyerCornell University, B.A., 1973Boston University, J.D., 1976

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Robert BryanReagan 5/7/1986 - 11/1/200011/1/2000 - PresentUniversity of Washington, B.A., 1956University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1958
Senior Judge John CoughenourReagan 9/28/1981-7/27/20061997-20047/27/2006-PresentKansas State College of Pittsburgh, 1963University of Iowa College of Law, 1966
Senior Judge Carol DimmickReagan 4/4/1985 - 11/1/19971994 - 199711/1/1997 - PresentUniversity of Washington, B.A., 1951University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1953
Senior Judge Thomas ZillyReagan 4/20/1988 - 1/1/20041/1/2004 - PresentUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1956Cornell Law School, J.D., 1962
Senior Judge Barbara RothsteinCarter 2/20/1980 - 9/1/20111987 - 19949/1/2011 - PresentCornell U., B.A., 1960Harvard Law School, LL.B., 1966
Senior Judge Walter McGovernNixon 4/23/1971 - 9/30/19871975 - 19879/30/1987 - PresentUniversity of Washington, B.A., 1949University of Washington School of Law, LL.B., 1950

Magistrate judges

(Recalled) Magistrate Judge Kelley Arnold3/3/2009-Present
Magistrate Judge James Donohue2/8/2005-PresentUniversity of Illinois, A.B., 1973University of California at Los Angeles, J.D., 1976
Chief Magistrate Judge Karen Strombom4/1/2003-PresentUniversity of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, B.S., 1974University of Wisconsin-Madison, J.D., 1978
Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler4/25/2003-Present
Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida5/13/2008-PresentGrinnell College, B.A.University of Oregon, J.D.
Magistrate Judge Dean Brett6/23/2005-PresentWhitman College, 1968Stanford Law, 1972
Magistrate Judge David Christel03/24/2007 - PresentWashington State U., B.A.University of Washington Law, J.D., 1985
Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura03/17/2009 - PresentTufts U., B.A.University of the Pacific Law, J.D., 1978
(Recalled) Magistrate Judge John Weinberg1973-PresentSwarthmore CollegeUniversity of Chicago Law


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

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

The geographic jurisdiction of the Western District of Washington consists of all the following counties in the western part of the state of Washington. The court's headquarters are in Seattle, with a courthouse in Tacoma.




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 3400446378634500 33638.86.764 (2.6%)019
2012 3205459177964379 34177.46.2199 (7.8%)021
2011 3012419872103996 32146.96.3156 (6.3%)022
2010 2918380867263742 29847.17.1100 (4.3%)022
2009 2904370166053665 29407.76.768 (3.2%)016
2008 2926390668323912 29207.67.155 (2.7%)0.119
2007328038017081409729847.98.136 (1.7%)20.922
*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.


The State of Washington was established by Congress as one judicial district on April 5, 1890 with one post to cover the entire state and it was assigned over to the Ninth Circuit. On March 2, 1905, the state of Washington was divided into two judicial districts, the Eastern District and the Western District, with a post assigned to each. The post existing before the division was assigned over to the Western District. Over time seven additional judicial posts were added for a total of eight current posts.[8]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Western District of Washington:[8]

Year Statute Total Seats
April 5, 1890 26 Stat. 45 1
March 2, 1905 33 Stat. 824 1
March 2, 1909 35 Stat. 686 2
May 31, 1938 52 Stat. 585 3
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 5
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 6
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 7 (1 temporary)
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 8

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.[9][10]

Former judges

For information on the judges of the Western District of Washington, see former federal judges of the Western District of Washington.

Federal courthouse

Two separate courthouses serve the Western District of Washington.

See also

External links


WashingtonWashington Supreme CourtWashington Court of AppealsWashington Superior CourtWashington District CourtsWashington Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WashingtonUnited States District Court for the Western District of WashingtonUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of WashingtonUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of WashingtonUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitWashington countiesWashington judicial newsWashington judicial electionsJudicial selection in WashingtonWashingtonTemplate.jpg