United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

Last updated

United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
(W.D. Tex.)
Texas-western.gif
Location San Antonio
More locations
Appeals to Fifth Circuit
EstablishedFebruary 21, 1857
Judges13
Chief Judge Orlando Luis Garcia
Officers of the court
U.S. Attorney Ashley Chapman Hoff
U.S. Marshal Susan Pamerleau
www.txwd.uscourts.gov

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (in case citations, W.D. Tex.) is a federal district court. The court convenes in San Antonio with divisions in Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, and Waco. It has jurisdiction in over 50 Trans-Pecos, Permian Basin, and Hill Country counties of the U.S. state of Texas. This district covers over 92,000 square miles (240,000 km2) and seven divisions.

Contents

Along with the District of New Mexico, Southern District of Texas, and District of Arizona, it is one of the busiest district courts in terms of criminal felony filings. [1]

History

The first federal judge in Texas was John C. Watrous, who was appointed on May 26, 1846, and had previously served as Attorney General of the Republic of Texas. He was assigned to hold court in Galveston, at the time, the largest city in the state. As seat of the Texas Judicial District, the Galveston court had jurisdiction over the whole state. [2] On February 21, 1857, the state was divided into two districts, Eastern and Western, with Judge Watrous continuing in the Eastern district. [3] Judge Watrous and Judge Thomas H. DuVal, of the Western District of Texas, left the state on the secession of Texas from the Union, the only two federal judges not to resign their posts in states that seceded. When Texas was restored to the Union, Watrous and DuVal resumed their duties and served until 1870.

Divisions

Appeals from cases brought in the Western District of Texas are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The divisions of the Western District of Texas are:

John H. Wood Jr. Federal Courthouse, home of the court's San Antonio Division John H. Wood Jr. Federal Courthouse.jpg
John H. Wood Jr. Federal Courthouse, home of the court's San Antonio Division
The federal courthouse in Austin is the court location of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. Federal Courthouse, Austin, TX IMG 6339.JPG
The federal courthouse in Austin is the court location of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. As of February 7,2021 the Acting United States Attorney is Ashley Chapman Hoff. [4]

Notable Cases

Current judges

As of February 26,2021:

#TitleJudgeDuty stationBornTerm of serviceAppointed by
Active Chief Senior
29Chief Judge Orlando Luis Garcia San Antonio 19521994–present2016–present Clinton
27District Judge Samuel Frederick Biery Jr. San Antonio 19471994–present2010–2015 Clinton
32District Judge Alia Moses Del Rio 19622002–present G.W. Bush
34District Judge Earl Leroy Yeakel III Austin 19452003–present G.W. Bush
35District Judge Kathleen Cardone El Paso 19532003–present G.W. Bush
36District Judge Frank Montalvo El Paso 19562003–present G.W. Bush
37District Judge Xavier Rodriguez San Antonio 19612003–present G.W. Bush
38District Judge David C. Guaderrama El Paso 19542012–present Obama
39District Judge Robert L. Pitman Austin 19622014–present Obama
40District Judge Walter David Counts III Midland
Pecos
19612018–present Trump
41District Judge Alan Albright Waco 19592018–present Trump
42District Judge Jason K. Pulliam San Antonio 19712019–present Trump
43District Judgevacant Del Rio
22Senior Judge James Robertson Nowlin Austin 19371981–20031999–20032003–present Reagan
26Senior Judge Sam Sparks Austin 19391991–20172017–present G.H.W. Bush
30Senior Judge David Briones El Paso 19431994–20092009–present Clinton
33Senior Judge Robert A. Junell Midland
Pecos
19472003–20152015–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

SeatPrior judge's duty stationSeat last held byVacancy reasonDate of vacancyNomineeDate of nomination
11 El Paso Philip Ray Martinez DeathFebruary 26, 2021
5 David C. Guaderrama Senior status May 27, 2023 [7]

Former judges

#JudgeStateBorn–diedActive service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed byReason for
termination
1 Thomas Howard DuVal TX 1813–18801857–1880 Pierce death
2 Ezekiel B. Turner TX 1825–18881880–1888 [Note 1] Hayes death
3 Thomas Sheldon Maxey TX 1846–19211888–1916 Cleveland retirement
4 DuVal West TX 1861–19491916–19311931–1949 Wilson death
5 William Robert Smith TX 1863–19241917–1924 Wilson death
6 Charles Albert Boynton TX 1867–19541924–19471947–1954 Coolidge death
7 Robert Johnston McMillan TX 1885–19411932–1941 Hoover death
8 Walter Angus Keeling TX 1873–19451942–1945 F. Roosevelt death
9 Ben Herbert Rice Jr. TX 1889–19641945–19641948–1962 Truman death
10 R. Ewing Thomason TX 1879–19731947–19631963–1973 Truman death
11 Adrian Anthony Spears TX 1910–19911961–1979 [Note 2] 1962–19791979–1982 Kennedy retirement
12 Homer Thornberry TX 1909–19951963–1965 L. Johnson [Note 3] elevation to 5th Cir.
13 Dorwin Wallace Suttle TX 1906–20011964–19791979–2001 L. Johnson death
14 Jack Roberts TX 1910–19881966–19801979–19801980–1988 L. Johnson death
15 Ernest Allen Guinn TX 1905–19741966–1974 L. Johnson death
16 John H. Wood Jr. TX 1916–19791970–1979 Nixon assassination
17 William S. Sessions TX 1930–20201974–19871980–1987 Ford resignation
18 Lucius Desha Bunton III TX 1924–20011979–19921987–19921992–2001 Carter death
19 Harry Lee Hudspeth TX 1935–present1979–20011992–19992001–2016 Carter retirement
20 Clyde Frederick Shannon Jr. TX 1942–present1980–1984 Carter resignation
21 Hipolito Frank Garcia TX 1925–20021980–2002 Carter death
23 Edward C. Prado TX 1947–present1984–2003 Reagan elevation to 5th Cir.
24 Walter Scott Smith Jr. TX 1940–present1984–20162003–2010 Reagan retirement
25 Emilio M. Garza TX 1947–present1988–1991 Reagan elevation to 5th Cir.
28 William Royal Furgeson Jr. TX 1941–present1994–20082008–2013 Clinton retirement
31 Philip Ray Martinez TX 1957–20212002–2021 G.W. Bush death
  1. Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 14, 1880, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 1880, and received commission the same day.
  2. Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the Senate on March 16, 1962, and received commission on March 17, 1962.
  3. Judge Thornberry was nominated by President Kennedy but was appointed to the Court by (i.e., received his commission from) President Johnson.

Chief judges

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

See also

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References

  1. Jock Pan (May 20, 2010). Federal Government of the United States.
  2. "U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  3. "Southern District of Texas: History of the District". Archived from the original on September 17, 2009.
  4. "Meet the U.S. Attorney". www.justice.gov. December 15, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  5. "Onyeri sentenced to life in prison for Judge Kocurek shooting".
  6. {{Cite web|url=https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2018-10-05/onyeri-gets-life-in-prison/%7Ctitle=Onyeri receives maximum sentence for attempted murder of judge
  7. Future Judicial Vacancies