United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

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United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
(S.D. Ill.)
SD Ill Seal.svg
Map of the changing boundaries of the Districts of Illinois
Location East St. Louis, Illinois
Appeals to Seventh Circuit
Established February 13, 1855
Judges assigned 4
Chief Judge Michael Joseph Reagan
Official court website

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (in case citations, S.D. Ill.) is a Federal district court covering approximately the southern half of the state of Illinois.

Appeals from the Southern District of Illinois are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

It has three courthouses, at Benton, Cairo and East St. Louis. At present, four judges are assigned to this district.


The Benton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is located a block from the town square and approximately 300 miles south of Chicago. Constructed in 1959, the two-story building houses U.S. District and Bankruptcy courts. The Benton Courthouse was constructed in 1959 from steel and block with brick veneer and clip-on aluminum panels.

The United States District Court for the District of Illinois was established by a statute passed by the United States Congress on March 3, 1819, 3 Stat. 502.[1][2] The act established a single office for a judge to preside over the court. Initially, the court was not within any existing judicial circuit, so the district court exercised the jurisdiction of both a district court and a circuit court, with appeals and writs of error taken directly to the United States Supreme Court. In 1837, Congress placed the District of Illinois within the newly created Seventh Circuit, and the district court resumed its normal jurisdiction, 5 Stat. 176.[2]

The Southern District itself was created by a statute passed on February 13, 1855, 10 Stat. 606, which subdivided the District of Illinois into the Northern and the Southern Districts.[2] The boundaries of the District and the seats of the courts were set forth in the statute:

The district has since been re-organized several times. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois was created on March 3, 1905 by 33 Stat. 992,[2] by splitting counties out of the Northern and Southern Districts. It was later eliminated in a reorganization on October 2, 1978 which replaced it with a Central District, 92 Stat. 883,[2] formed primarily from parts of the Southern District, and returning some counties to the Northern District.


The jurisdiction of the Southern District of Illinois comprises the following counties: Alexander, Bond, Calhoun, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Cumberland, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, St. Clair, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White, and Williamson. The district was created in 1979. It has jurisdiction over the eastern suburbs of St. Louis and the city of Carbondale.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current interim United States Attorney is Donald S. Boyce, Jr..[3]

Current Judges[edit]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
20 Chief Judge Michael Joseph Reagan East St. Louis, IL 1954 2000–present 2014–present Clinton
19 District Judge David R. Herndon East St. Louis, IL 1953 1998–present 2007–2014 Clinton
21 District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel East St. Louis, IL 1968 2014–present Obama
22 District Judge Staci Michelle Yandle Benton, IL 1961 2014–present Obama
16 Senior Judge John Phil Gilbert Benton, IL 1949 1992–2014 1993–2000 2014–present G.H.W. Bush

Former Judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Treat, Jr., Samuel HubbelSamuel Hubbel Treat, Jr. IL 1811–1887 1855–1887 Pierce, Pierce death
2 Allen, William JoshuaWilliam Joshua Allen IL 1829–1901 1887–1901[Note 1] Cleveland, Cleveland death
3 Humphrey, J. OtisJ. Otis Humphrey IL 1850–1918 1901–1918 McKinley, McKinley death
4 FitzHenry, LouisLouis FitzHenry IL 1870–1935 1918–1933 Wilson, Wilson appointment to 7th Cir.
5 Briggle, Charles GuyCharles Guy Briggle IL 1883–1972 1932–1958 1948–1958 1958–1972 Hoover, Hoover death
6 Major, James EarlJames Earl Major IL 1887–1972 1933–1937[Note 2] Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt appointment to 7th Cir.
7 Adair, J. LeroyJ. Leroy Adair IL 1887–1956 1937–1956 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
8 Mercer, Frederick OlenFrederick Olen Mercer IL 1901–1966 1956–1966 1958–1966 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
Juergens, William GeorgeWilliam George Juergens IL 1904–1988 1979–1988[Note 3] Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
9 Poos, OmerOmer Poos IL 1902–1976 1958–1973 1966–1972 1973–1976 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
10 Morgan, Robert DaleRobert Dale Morgan IL 1912–2002 1967–1979 1972–1979 Johnson, L.L. Johnson reassignment to C.D. Ill.
11 Foreman, James L.James L. Foreman IL 1927–2012 1979–1992[Note 4] 1979–1992 1992–2012 Nixon, Nixon death
12 Wood Jr., HarlingtonHarlington Wood Jr. IL 1920–2008 1973–1976 Nixon, Nixon appointment to 7th Cir.
13 Ackerman, James WaldoJames Waldo Ackerman IL 1926–1984 1976–1979 Ford, Ford reassignment to C.D. Ill.
14 Beatty, William LouisWilliam Louis Beatty IL 1925–2001 1979–1992 1992–2001 Carter, Carter death
15 Stiehl, William DonaldWilliam Donald Stiehl IL 1925–2016 1986–1996 1992–1993 1996–2016 Reagan, Reagan death
17 Riley, Paul E.Paul E. Riley IL 1942–2001 1994–2001 Clinton, Clinton death
18 Murphy, G. PatrickG. Patrick Murphy IL 1948–present 1998–2013 2000–2007 Clinton retirement
  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 20, 1887, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 19, 1888, and received commission on January 19, 1888.
  2. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 8, 1934, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 23, 1934, and received commission on January 26, 1934.
  3. ^ Reassigned from Eastern District
  4. ^ Reassigned from Eastern District

Succession of seats[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 393.
  2. ^ a b c d e U.S. District Courts of Illinois, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  3. ^ Southern District of Illinois, USAO, Department of Justice, July 29, 2016

External links[edit]