United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

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United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
(M.D. Pa.)
MD pa seal.jpg
Middle District of Pennsylvania (map).svg
Appeals to Third Circuit
Established March 2, 1901
Judges assigned 6
Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner
U.S. Attorney David Freed
Official court website

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (in case citations, M.D. Pa.) is district level federal court with jurisdiction over approximately one half of Pennsylvania. The court was created in 1901 by subdividing the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The court is under the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

Because Harrisburg, the state capital, is located within the district's jurisdiction, most suits against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are filed in the Middle District. Similarly, because York County Prison served as the largest Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) facility in the Northeast, the Middle District also adjudicated a large number of immigration cases. The courts of appeal are now responsible for most judicial review of immigration decisions, bypassing the Middle District and other district courts.

Judge Christopher C. Conner is the Chief Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; Martin John Pane is the United States Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.


The United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania was one of the original 13 courts established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, on September 24, 1789.[1][2] It was subdivided on April 20, 1818, by 3 Stat. 462,[1][2] into the Eastern and Western Districts to be headquartered in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively.[1] Portions of these districts were subsequently subdivided into the Middle District on March 2, 1901, by 31 Stat. 880.[2]

Current judges[edit]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
20 Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner Harrisburg 1957 2002–present 2013–present G.W. Bush
18 District Judge Yvette Kane Harrisburg 1953 1998–present 2006–2013 Clinton
21 District Judge John E. Jones III Harrisburg 1955 2002–present G.W. Bush
22 District Judge Robert D. Mariani Scranton 1950 2011–present Obama
23 District Judge Malachy E. Mannion Scranton 1953 2012–present Obama
24 District Judge Matthew W. Brann Williamsport 1965 2012–present Obama
8 Senior Judge William Joseph Nealon Jr. Scranton 1923 1962[3]–1989 1976–1989 1989–present Kennedy
11 Senior Judge Richard Paul Conaboy Scranton 1925 1979–1992 1989–1992 1992–present Carter
12 Senior Judge Sylvia H. Rambo Harrisburg 1936 1979–2001 1992–1999 2001–present Carter
13 Senior Judge William W. Caldwell Harrisburg 1925 1982–1994 1994–present Reagan
14 Senior Judge Edwin Michael Kosik inactive 1925 1986–1996 1996–present Reagan
17 Senior Judge A. Richard Caputo Wilkes-Barre 1938 1997–2009 2009–present Clinton
19 Senior Judge James Martin Munley Scranton 1936 1998–2009 2009–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations[edit]

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
5 Yvette Kane Senior Status October 11, 2018[4]

Former judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Archbald, Robert W.Robert W. Archbald PA 1848–1926 1901–1911 McKinley, McKinley appointment to 3d Cir.
2 Witmer, Charles B.Charles B. Witmer PA 1862–1925 1911–1925 Taft, Taft death
3 Johnson, Albert WilliamsAlbert Williams Johnson PA 1872–1957 1925–1945 Coolidge, Coolidge resignation
4 Watson, Albert LeisenringAlbert Leisenring Watson PA 1876–1960 1929–1955 1948–1955 1955–1960 Hoover, Hoover death
5 Murphy, John W.John W. Murphy PA 1902–1962 1946–1962 1955–1962 Truman, Truman death
6 Follmer, Frederick VorisFrederick Voris Follmer PA 1885–1971 1946–1967 1962 1967–1971 Truman, Truman death
7 Sheridan, Michael HenryMichael Henry Sheridan PA 1912–1976 1961–1976 1962–1976 Kennedy, Kennedy death
9 Herman, Robert DixonRobert Dixon Herman PA 1911–1990 1969–1981 1981–1990 Nixon, Nixon death
10 Muir, MalcolmMalcolm Muir PA 1914–2011 1970–1984 1984–2011 Nixon, Nixon death
15 McClure Jr., James FochtJames Focht McClure Jr. PA 1931–2010 1990–2001 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush death
16 Vanaskie, Thomas I.Thomas I. Vanaskie PA 1953–present 1994–2010 1999–2006 Clinton, Clinton appointment to 3d Cir.

Chief judges[edit]

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless circuit judges are also on the panel. 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[edit]

Notable cases[edit]

  • Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
  • Whitewood v. Wolf This case struck down Pennsylvania's statutory ban on same-sex marriage on May 20, 2014. This was not appealed to the Third Circuit.
  • Lozano et al. v. City of Hazleton, M.D. Pa. No. 3:06-cv-01586-JMM (2006) (affirmed in part by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, No. 07-3531 (September 9, 2010)).[5]

List of U.S. Attorneys[edit]

The people in the district are represented by the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

  • Samuel McCarrell (1901–1908)
  • Charles B. Witmer (1908–1911)
  • Andrew B. Dunsmore (1911–1914)
  • Rogers L. Burnett (1914–1921)
  • Andrew B. Dunsmore (1921–1934)
  • Frank J. McDonnell (1934–1935)
  • Frederick V. Follmer (1935–1946)
  • Arthur A. Maguire (1946–1953)
  • Joseph C. Kreder (1953)
  • Julius Levy (1953–1957)
  • Robert J. Hourigan (1957–1958)
  • Daniel Jenkins (1958–1961)
  • Bernard J. Brown (1961–1969)
  • John Cottone (1969–1979)
  • Carlon M. O'Malley, Jr. (1979–1982)
  • David Dart Queen (1982–1985)
  • James J. West (1985–1993)
  • Wayne P. Samuelson (1993)
  • David Barasch (1993–2001)
  • Martin Carlson (2001–2002)
  • Tom Marino (2002–2007)
  • Martin Carlson (2007–2009)
  • Dennis Pfannenschmidt (2009–2010)
  • Peter J. Smith (2010–2016)[6]
  • David Freed (2017–present)


Within the Middle District, federal courthouses are located in:

Counties of jurisdiction[edit]

The Court's jurisdiction includes the following counties:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 388.
  2. ^ a b c U.S. District Courts of Pennsylvania, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  3. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1963, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 15, 1963, and received commission on March 27, 1963.
  4. ^ Future Judicial Vacancies
  5. ^ http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/opinions/munley/06v1586-op.pdf Opinion in Lozano v. Hazleton
  6. ^ "Listing of U.S. Attorneys | USAO-MDPA | Department of Justice". justice.gov. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 

External links[edit]