United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
|United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia|
|Location||Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse|
|Appeals to||Fourth Circuit|
|Established||February 4, 1819|
|Chief Judge||Mark Steven Davis|
|Officers of the court|
|U.S. Attorney||G. Zachary Terwilliger|
|U.S. Marshal||Nick Edward Proffitt|
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (in case citations, E.D. Va.) is one of two United States district courts serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has jurisdiction over the Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and Richmond metro areas and surrounding locations with courthouses located in Alexandria, Norfolk, Richmond and Newport News (whose judges are shared with Norfolk).
Appeals from the Eastern District of Virginia are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
- 1 History
- 2 Jurisdiction
- 3 United States Attorney
- 4 Current judges
- 5 Vacancies and pending nominations
- 6 Former judges
- 7 Chief judges
- 8 Succession of seats
- 9 Notable cases
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
On February 13, 1801, the Judiciary Act of 1801, 2 Stat. 89, divided Virginia into three judicial districts: the District of Virginia, which included the counties west of the Tidewater and south of the Rappahannock River; the District of Norfolk, which included the Tidewater counties south of the Rappahannock; and the District of Potomac, which included the counties north and east of the Rappahannock as well as Maryland counties along the Potomac. Just over a year later, on March 8, 1802, the Judiciary Act of 1801 was repealed and Virginia became a single District again, 2 Stat. 132, effective July 1, 1802.
The District of Virginia was subdivided into Eastern and Western Districts on February 4, 1819, by 3 Stat. 478. At that time, West Virginia was still part of Virginia, and was encompassed in Virginia's Western District, while the Eastern District essentially covered what is now the entire state of Virginia. With the division of West Virginia from Virginia during the American Civil War, the Western District of Virginia became the District of West Virginia, and those parts of the Western District that were not part of West Virginia were combined with the Eastern District to again form a single District of Virginia on June 11, 1864, by 13 Stat. 124. Congress again divided Virginia into the Eastern and Western Districts on February 3, 1871, by 16 Stat. 403.
During the 1960s, Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. ran the Alexandria court, often ruled cases on the spot after motions were argued. The court earned the nickname of "rocket docket" for the speed and efficiency for which it processes its cases. Since 1997, the court has processed civil cases the fastest of the 94 federal districts, and eighth fastest in dealing with criminal cases. Courts at Richmond are located in the Spottswood W. Robinson III and Robert R. Merhige Jr. Federal Courthouse, having previously been held in the historic Lewis F. Powell Jr. United States Courthouse.
The Eastern District of Virginia court's jurisdiction covers slightly over six million people, comprising approximately 85% of the state's population. It jurisdiction is grouped into four geographic divisions:
The Alexandria Division covers the counties of suburban Washington, D.C.: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford, and includes the independent cities of Fairfax City, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Falls Church.
The Richmond Division comprises the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Caroline, Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Essex, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, New Kent, Northumberland, Nottoway, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Richmond, Spotsylvania, Surry, Sussex, and Westmoreland, as well as independent cities such as Colonial Heights. 
Norfolk and Newport News Divisions
The Norfolk and Newport News Divisions, though separately enumerated, both sit at the Walter E. Hoffman Courthouse in Norfolk, Virginia.
United States Attorney
The current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia is G. Zachary Terwilliger, serving as prosecution for criminal cases brought by the federal government, and representing the United States in civil cases in the court. The U.S. Attorney's office also manages the Project Safe Neighborhoods program within the district to reduce gun violence (part of a nationwide program), and is involved with federal initiatives on drug trafficking, terrorism, cybercrime, and the prevention/combating of elder care abuse. Neil MacBride and Chuck Rosenberg previously served as U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern District of Virginia.
As of August 1, 2019[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|40||Chief Judge||Mark Steven Davis||Norfolk||1962||2008–present||2018–present||—||G.W. Bush|
|33||District Judge||Leonie Brinkema||Alexandria||1944||1993–present||—||—||Clinton|
|34||District Judge||Raymond Alvin Jackson||Norfolk||1949||1993–present||—||—||Clinton|
|39||District Judge||Liam O'Grady||Alexandria||1950||2007–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|41||District Judge||Anthony Trenga||Alexandria||1949||2008–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|42||District Judge||John A. Gibney Jr.||Richmond||1951||2010–present||—||—||Obama|
|43||District Judge||Arenda L. Wright Allen||Norfolk||1960||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|44||District Judge||M. Hannah Lauck||Richmond||1963||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|45||District Judge||Rossie D. Alston Jr.||Alexandria||1957||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|21||Senior Judge||Albert Vickers Bryan Jr.||inactive||1926||1971–1991||1985–1991||1991–present||Nixon|
|26||Senior Judge||Robert G. Doumar||Norfolk||1930||1981–1997||—||1997–present||Reagan|
|27||Senior Judge||Claude M. Hilton||Alexandria||1940||1985–2005||1997–2004||2005–present||Reagan|
|29||Senior Judge||T. S. Ellis III||Alexandria||1940||1987–2007||—||2007–present||Reagan|
|30||Senior Judge||Rebecca Beach Smith||Norfolk||1949||1989–2019||2011–2018||2019–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|31||Senior Judge||Henry Coke Morgan Jr.||Norfolk||1935||1992–2004||—||2004–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|32||Senior Judge||Robert E. Payne||Richmond||1941||1992–2007||—||2007–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|37||Senior Judge||Henry E. Hudson||Richmond||1947||2002–2018||—||2018–present||G.W. Bush|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Prior Judge's Duty Station||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Date of nomination|
|11||Richmond||Henry E. Hudson||Senior status||June 1, 2018||David J. Novak||March 26, 2019|
|1||Norfolk||Rebecca Beach Smith||August 1, 2019||–||–|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||St. George Tucker||VA||1752–1827||1813–1825[Note 1]||—||—||Operation of law||resignation|
|2||George Hay||VA||1765–1830||1825–1830[Note 2]||—||—||J.Q. Adams||death|
|3||Philip Pendleton Barbour||VA||1783–1841||1830–1836[Note 3]||—||—||Jackson||elevation to Supreme Court|
|4||Peter Vivian Daniel||VA||1784–1860||1836–1841||—||—||Jackson||elevation to Supreme Court|
|5||John Y. Mason||VA||1799–1859||1841–1844||—||—||Van Buren||resignation|
|6||James Dandridge Halyburton||VA||1803–1879||1844–1861||—||—||Tyler||resignation|
|7||John Curtiss Underwood||VA||1809–1873||1863–1873[Note 4][Note 5]||—||—||Lincoln||death|
|8||Robert William Hughes||VA||1821–1901||1874–1898||—||—||Grant||retirement|
|9||Edmund Waddill Jr.||VA||1855–1931||1898–1921||—||—||McKinley||elevation to 4th Cir.|
|10||Duncan Lawrence Groner||VA||1873–1957||1921–1931||—||—||Harding||elevation to D.C. Cir.|
|11||Luther B. Way||VA||1879–1943||1931–1943||—||—||Hoover||death|
|12||Robert Nelson Pollard||VA||1880–1954||1936–1947||—||1947–1954||F. Roosevelt||death|
|13||Charles Sterling Hutcheson||VA||1894–1969||1944–1959||1948–1959||1959–1969||F. Roosevelt||death|
|14||Albert Vickers Bryan||VA||1899–1984||1947–1961||1959–1961||—||Truman||elevation to 4th Cir.|
|15||Walter Edward Hoffman||VA||1907–1996||1954–1974||1961–1973||1974–1996||Eisenhower||death|
|16||Oren Ritter Lewis||VA||1902–1983||1960–1974||—||1974–1983||Eisenhower||death|
|17||John D. Butzner Jr.||VA||1917–2006||1962–1967||—||—||Kennedy||elevation to 4th Cir.|
|18||Richard Boykin Kellam||VA||1909–1996||1967–1981||1973–1979||1981–1996||L. Johnson||death|
|19||John Ashton MacKenzie||VA||1917–2010||1967–1985||1979–1985||1985–1998||L. Johnson||retirement|
|20||Robert R. Merhige Jr.||VA||1919–2005||1967–1986||—||1986–1998||L. Johnson||retirement|
|22||David Dortch Warriner||VA||1929–1986||1974–1986||—||—||Nixon||death|
|23||Joseph Calvitt Clarke Jr.||VA||1920–2004||1974–1991||—||1991–2004||Ford||death|
|24||Richard Leroy Williams||VA||1923–2011||1980–1992||—||1992–2011||Carter||death|
|25||James C. Cacheris||VA||1933–present||1981–1998||1991–1997||1998–2018||Reagan||retirement|
|28||James R. Spencer||VA||1949–present||1986–2014||2004–2011||2014–2017||Reagan||retirement|
|35||Jerome B. Friedman||VA||1943–present||1997–2010||—||2010–2011||Clinton||retirement|
|36||Gerald Bruce Lee||VA||1952–present||1998–2017||—||—||Clinton||retirement|
|38||Walter Kelley||VA||1955–present||2004–2008||—||—||G.W. Bush||resignation|
- Initially appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Virginia, reassigned by operation of law to the Eastern District of Virginia on February 4, 1819.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 13, 1825, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 31, 1826, and received commission the same day.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 14, 1830, confirmed by the Senate on December 16, 1830, and received commission the same day.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1864, confirmed by the Senate on January 25, 1864, and received commission the same day.
- Reassigned to the United States District Court for the District of Virginia on June 11, 1864, reassigned to the Eastern District of Virginia on February 3, 1871.
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, 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 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.
When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was 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. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.
Succession of seats
The Eastern District of Virginia has handled many notable cases, including:
- United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, No. 01-455-A (E.D. Va.)
- United States v. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
- United States v. John Walker Lindh, No. 02-37-A (E.D. Va.)
- Yaser Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, No. 02-439 (E.D. Va.)
- United States v. Michael Vick, No. 3:07CR274 (E.D. Va) (the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting case)
- eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 271 F. Supp. 2d 789 (E.D. Va. 2002) (in which the court took the position, eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, that a prevailing plaintiff in a patent suit is not necessarily entitled to injunctive relief)
- Extradition of Kevin Dahlgren, charged with committing mass murder in Brno, Czech Republic in 2013
- Bostic v. Rainey
- Matter of Baby K, controversial ruling to provide life-sustaining care to an anencephalic newborn.
- United States v. Paul J. Manafort Jr.
- Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse
- Alexandria City Jail
- Courts of Virginia
- List of current United States District Judges
- List of United States federal courthouses in Virginia
- Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 388.
- U.S. District Courts of Virginia, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- Markon, Jerry (October 3, 2004). "A Double Dose of Molasses in the Rocket Docket". The Washington Post.
- "Richmond Courthouse". Retrieved March 8, 2013.
- U.S. Attorney's Office – Eastern District of Virginia – Priorities
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Notable cases
- "Soudní jednání o vydání Kevina Dahlgrena začne 12. září" (in Czech). Týden. August 13, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.