United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
|United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida|
|Location||Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse|
|Appeals to||Eleventh Circuit|
|Established||February 23, 1847|
|Chief Judge||Kevin Michael Moore|
|Officers of the court|
|U.S. Attorney||Juan Antonio Gonzalez (acting)|
|U.S. Marshal||Gadyaces S. Serralta|
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (in case citations, S.D. Fla. or S.D. Fl.) is the federal United States district court with territorial jurisdiction over the southern part of the state of Florida.
Appeals from cases brought in the Southern District of Florida are to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
On the same day that Florida was admitted as a state, March 3, 1845, Congress enacted legislation creating the United States District Court for the District of Florida, 5 Stat. 788. On February 23, 1847, this District was subdivided into Northern and Southern Districts, by 9 Stat. 131. The statute effecting this division set forth the boundaries of the Districts:
- [T]hat part of the State of Florida lying south of a line drawn due east and west from the northern point of Charlotte Harbor, including the islands, keys, reefs, shoals, harbors, bays and inlets, south of said line, shall be erected into a new judicial district, to be called the Southern District of Florida; a District Court shall be held in said Southern District, to consist of one judge, who shall reside at Key West, in said district...
This federal district has the dubious distinction of having had more judges removed through impeachment than any other district, with a total of two, one-third of all federal district judges so removed.
Famous cases that have been heard in the district include Bush v. Gore, United States v. Noriega (the prosecution of former Panamanian military leader Manuel Noriega), González v. Reno (the Elián González case), notorious Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, and United States v. José Padilla (the prosecution of José Padilla).
The court's jurisdiction comprises the nine counties of Broward, Highlands, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie. The district includes the South Florida metropolitan area of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. It comprises 15,197 square miles (39,360 km2) and approximately 6.3 million people. Courthouses, corresponding to the five divisions of the district, are located in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Key West, Miami, and West Palm Beach. The court's offices are located in Miami.
United States Attorney and United States Marshal
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. As of March 28, 2021[update] the Acting United States Attorney for the district is Juan Antonio Gonzalez.
The United States Attorney's Office has a staff of approximately 233 Assistant United States Attorneys and 227 support personnel. The main office is located in Miami, Florida, with three staffed branch offices located in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce and one unstaffed branch office located in Key West. There is also a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) office in West Miami-Dade and a Health Care Fraud Facility in Miramar.
On August 28, 2018, Gadyaces S. Serralta was confirmed by the United States Senate to be the United States Marshal.
As of May 2, 2021[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|45||Chief Judge||Kevin Michael Moore||Miami||1951||1992–present||2014–present||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|50||District Judge||Donald M. Middlebrooks||West Palm Beach||1946||1997–present||—||—||Clinton|
|52||District Judge||William Dimitrouleas||Ft. Lauderdale||1951||1998–present||—||—||Clinton|
|57||District Judge||Jose E. Martinez||Miami||1941||2002–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|58||District Judge||Cecilia Altonaga||Miami||1962||2003–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|60||District Judge||Marcia G. Cooke||Miami||1954||2004–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|61||District Judge||Kathleen M. Williams||Miami||1956||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|62||District Judge||Robert N. Scola Jr.||Miami||1955||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|64||District Judge||Darrin P. Gayles||Miami||1966||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|65||District Judge||Beth Bloom||Miami||1962||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|66||District Judge||Robin L. Rosenberg||West Palm Beach||1962||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|67||District Judge||Roy Altman||Ft. Lauderdale||1982||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|68||District Judge||Rodolfo Ruiz||Ft. Lauderdale||1979||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|69||District Judge||Rodney Smith||Ft. Lauderdale||1974||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|70||District Judge||Anuraag Singhal||Ft. Lauderdale||1963||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|71||District Judge||Aileen Cannon||Ft. Pierce||1981||2020–present||—||—||Trump|
|27||Senior Judge||James Lawrence King||Miami||1927||1970–1992||1984–1991||1992–present||Nixon|
|31||Senior Judge||Jose Alejandro Gonzalez Jr.||Ft. Lauderdale||1931||1978–1996||—||1996–present||Carter|
|40||Senior Judge||William J. Zloch||Ft. Lauderdale||1944||1985–2017||2000–2007||2017–present||Reagan|
|42||Senior Judge||Federico A. Moreno||Miami||1952||1990–2020||2007–2014||2020–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|43||Senior Judge||Donald L. Graham||Miami||1948||1991–2013||—||2013–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|46||Senior Judge||Ursula Mancusi Ungaro||Miami||1951||1992–2021||—||2021–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|48||Senior Judge||Daniel T. K. Hurley||Miami||1943||1994–2009||—||2009–present||Clinton|
|49||Senior Judge||Joan A. Lenard||Miami||1952||1995–2017||—||2017–present||Clinton|
|51||Senior Judge||Alan Stephen Gold||inactive||1944||1997–2010||—||2010–present||Clinton|
|53||Senior Judge||Patricia A. Seitz||Miami||1946||1998–2012||—||2012–present||Clinton|
|55||Senior Judge||Paul Huck||Miami||1940||2000–2010||—||2010–present||Clinton|
|56||Senior Judge||Kenneth Marra||West Palm Beach||1951||2002–2017||—||2017–present||G.W. Bush|
|59||Senior Judge||James I. Cohn||Ft. Lauderdale||1948||2003–2016||—||2016–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|
|18||Miami||Federico A. Moreno||Senior status||July 17, 2020||–||–|
|22||Ursula Mancusi Ungaro||May 2, 2021||–||–|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|2||Thomas Jefferson Boynton||FL||1838–1871||1863–1870[Note 1]||—||—||Lincoln||resignation|
|3||John McKinney||FL||1829–1871||1870–1871[Note 2]||—||—||Grant||death|
|4||James William Locke||FL||1837–1922||1872–1912||—||—||Grant||retirement|
|5||John Moses Cheney||FL||1859–1922||1912–1913[Note 3]||—||—||Taft||not confirmed|
|6||Rhydon Mays Call||FL||1858–1927||1913–1927[Note 4]||—||—||Wilson||death|
|9||Halsted L. Ritter||FL||1868–1951||1929–1936||—||—||Coolidge||impeachment and conviction|
|10||Louie Willard Strum||FL||1890–1954||1931–1950||1948–1950||—||Hoover||elevation to 5th Cir.|
|11||John W. Holland||FL||1883–1969||1936–1955||1950–1955||1955–1969||F. Roosevelt||death|
|12||William Julius Barker||FL||1886–1968||1940–1959||1955–1959||1959–1968||F. Roosevelt||death|
|13||Curtis L. Waller||FL||1887–1950||1940–1943[Note 5]||—||—||F. Roosevelt||elevation to 5th Cir.|
|14||Dozier A. DeVane||FL||1883–1963||1943–1958[Note 6]||—||1958–1963||F. Roosevelt||death|
|15||George William Whitehurst||FL||1891–1974||1950–1961[Note 5]||1959–1961||1961–1974||Truman||death|
|16||John Milton Bryan Simpson||FL||1903–1987||1950–1962||1961–1962||—||Truman||reassignment to M.D. Fla|
|17||Emett Clay Choate||FL||1891–1974||1954–1965||—||1965–1974||Eisenhower||death|
|18||Joseph Patrick Lieb||FL||1901–1971||1955–1962[Note 7]||—||—||Eisenhower||reassignment to M.D. Fla|
|18||William McRae||FL||1909–1973||1961–1962||—||—||Kennedy||reassignment to M.D. Fla|
|19||David W. Dyer||FL||1910–1998||1961–1966||1962–1966||—||Kennedy||elevation to 5th Cir.|
|20||George C. Young||FL||1916–2015||1961–1966[Note 8]||—||—||Kennedy||reassignment to M.D. Fla|
|21||Charles B. Fulton||FL||1910–1996||1963–1978||1966–1977||1978–1996||Kennedy||death|
|22||William O. Mehrtens||FL||1905–1980||1965–1975||—||1975–1980||L. Johnson||death|
|23||C. Clyde Atkins||FL||1914–1999||1966–1982||1977–1982||1982–1999||L. Johnson||death|
|24||Ted Cabot||FL||1917–1971||1966–1971||—||—||L. Johnson||death|
|25||Joe Oscar Eaton||FL||1920–2008||1967–1985||1982–1984||1985–2008||L. Johnson||death|
|26||Peter T. Fay||FL||1929–2021||1970–1976||—||—||Nixon||elevation to 5th Cir.|
|28||Norman Charles Roettger Jr.||FL||1930–2003||1972–1997||1991–1997||1997–2003||Nixon||death|
|29||Sidney M. Aronovitz||FL||1920–1997||1976–1988||—||1988–1997||Ford||death|
|32||Edward B. Davis||FL||1933–2010||1979–2000||1997–2000||—||Carter||retirement|
|33||James W. Kehoe||FL||1925–1998||1979–1992||—||1992–1998||Carter||death|
|34||James Carriger Paine||FL||1924–2010||1979–1992||—||1992–2010||Carter||death|
|35||Eugene P. Spellman||FL||1930–1991||1979–1991||—||—||Carter||death|
|36||Alcee Hastings||FL||1936–2021||1979–1989||—||—||Carter||impeachment and conviction|
|37||Lenore Carrero Nesbitt||FL||1932–2001||1983–1998||—||1998–2001||Reagan||death|
|38||Stanley Marcus||FL||1946–present||1985–1997||—||—||Reagan||elevation to 11th Cir.|
|44||Shelby Highsmith||FL||1929–2015||1991–2002||—||2002–2015||G.H.W. Bush||death|
|47||Wilkie D. Ferguson||FL||1938–2003||1993–2003||—||—||Clinton||death|
|54||Adalberto Jordan||FL||1961–present||1999–2012||—||—||Clinton||elevation to 11th Cir.|
|63||Robin S. Rosenbaum||FL||1966–present||2012–2014||—||—||Obama||elevation to 11th Cir.|
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1864, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 20, 1864, and received commission the same day.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 7, 1870, confirmed by the Senate on February 18, 1871, and received commission the same day.
- Recess appointment; the Senate did not confirm the appointment.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on April 12, 1913, confirmed by the Senate on April 24, 1913, and received commission the same day.
- Jointly appointed to the Northern and Southern Districts of Florida.
- From 1943-1947, Judge DeVane was jointly appointed to the Northern and Southern Districts of Florida.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 12, 1956, confirmed by the Senate on March 1, 1956, and received commission the same day.
- From 1961-1962, Judge Young was jointly appointed to the Northern and Southern Districts of Florida. From 1962-1966, Judge Young was jointly appointed to the Middle, Northern, and Southern Districts of Florida.
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
- Courts of Florida
- List of current United States district judges
- List of United States federal courthouses in Florida
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
- 28 U.S.C. § 89.
- Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 393.
- U.S. District Courts of Florida, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida official website
- Southern District of Florida Blog – By attorney David Markus