United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
District of Massachusetts
First Circuit
Judges: 13
Posts: 13
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Patti Saris
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: Jennifer Boal
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts is one of ninety-four United States district courts. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Boston at the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse. There are two other courthouses in Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts.[1]

The United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Carmen Milagros Ortiz.[2]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies out of its 13 posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge William G. Young (Massachusetts)1940Huntington, NYReagan 4/4/1985 - Present1999-2005New Seat| 98 Stat. 333Harvard U., A.B., 1962Harvard Law, LL.B., 1967
Judge Douglas Woodlock1947Hartford, CTReagan 6/16/1986-PresentWendell GarrityYale University, 1969Georgetown University Law, 1975
Judge Nathaniel Gorton1938Evanston, ILH.W. Bush 9/24/1992 - PresentNew Seat|104 Stat. 5089Dartmouth College, A.B., 1960Columbia Law, LL.B., 1966
Judge Richard Stearns1944Los Angeles, CAClinton 11/24/1993 - PresentJohn McNaughtStanford U., B.A., 1968Harvard Law, J.D., 1976
Chief Judge Patti Saris1951Boston, MAClinton 11/24/1993 - Present2013 - PresentWalter SkinnerRadcliffe College, B.A., 1973Harvard Law, J.D., 1976
Judge George O'Toole1947Worcester, Mass.Clinton 5/26/1995 (3/1/2001) - PresentEdward HarringtonBoston College, A.B., 1969Harvard U. Law, J.D., 1972
Judge Dennis Saylor1955Royal Oak, MIW. Bush 6/2/2004-PresentRobert KeetonNorthwestern University, 1977Harvard University Law, 1981
Judge Leo Sorokin1961Hartford, ConnecticutObama 6/10/2014-PresentYale College,, 1983Columbia Law School, 1991
Judge Timothy Hillman1948Chicago, ILObama 4/4/2012 - PresentNancy GertnerCoe College, B.A., 1970Suffolk U. Law, J.D., 1973
Judge Denise Casper1968East Patchogue, NYObama 12/20/2010 - PresentReginald LindsayWesleyan University, 1990Harvard Law School, 1994
Judge Mark G. Mastroianni1964Westfield, MassachusettsObama 6/4/2014-PresentMichael PonsorAmerican International College, 1986Western New England College of Law, 1989
Judge Indira Talwani1960Auburndale, MassachusettsObama 5/8/2014-PresentMark WolfHarvard, 1982University of California, Berkeley, 1988
Judge Allison Dale Burroughs1961Boston, MassachusettsObama 12/16/2014-PresentMiddlebury College, 1983University of Pennsylvania Law, 1988

Active Article III judges by appointing political party

This graph displays the percent of active judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.


Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Mark WolfReagan 4/4/1985-1/1/20132006-20121/1/2013-presentYale U., 1968Harvard U. Law, 1971
Former Judge Edward HarringtonReagan 2/2/1988 - 3/1/20013/1/2001 - PresentCollege of the Holy Cross, A.B., 1955Boston College Law School, J.D., 1960
Senior Judge Joseph TauroNixon 10/17/1972 - 9/26/20131992-19999/26/2013 - PresentBrown U., 1953Cornell Law, 1956
Senior Judge Rya ZobelCarter 3/23/1979-4/1/20144/1/2014-PresentRadcliffe College, 1953Harvard Law, 1956
Senior Judge Michael PonsorClinton 4/14/1994 - 8/15/20118/15/2011 - PresentHarvard U., B.A., 1969Yale Law, J.D., 1975

Senior judges by appointing political party

This graph displays the percent of senior judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.


Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Kenneth Neiman1/5/1995-PresentTufts University (1967)Harvard University Law School (1971)
Magistrate Judge Robert Collings3/15/1982-PresentHamilton College (1964)Harvard Law School (1967)
Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler5/7/1990-PresentRegis College (1967)Suffolk Law School (1976)
Magistrate Judge Judith Dein7/31/2000-PresentUnion College (1976)Boston College Law School (1979)
Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier2010 - PresentBoston College, B.A., 1967Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1972
Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal2010-PresentHaverford College (1985)Cornell Law School (1989)
Magistrate Judge David Hennessy2013-presentState University of New YorkFordham University School of Law
Magistrate Judge Mary Page Kelley6/16/2014-PresentSmith College, 1981Harvard Law, 1986
Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell1/21/2015-1/20/2023University of Massachusetts at AmherstNortheastern University School of Law


The Counties of Massachusetts (click for larger map)

The District of Massachusetts has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

The jurisdiction of the District of Massachusetts consists of all the counties in the state of Massachusetts. The court's headquarters are in Boston, with courthouses in Springfield and Worcester.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 3836426280983644 445416.18.4207 (5.6%)21.012
2012 3866363074963651 384515.38.6182 (6.1)20.112
2011 3848387377213861 386015.79174 (5.8%)8.313
2010 3618364072583399 385916.18.6166(5.5%)1215
2009 3872338072523603 36491610.3151(5.4%)6.617
2008 4373364480173747 4270178.6197(6.6%)020
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see Opinions for the District of Massachusetts.


The District of Massachusetts was established by Congress with one judicial post on September 24, 1789, and assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eastern Circuit, and then was later reassigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in 1801. Over time, beginning in 1922, twelve additional judicial posts were added for a total of thirteen current posts.[45]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of Massachusetts:[45]

Year Statute Total Seats
September 24, 1789 1 Stat. 73 1
September 14, 1922 42 Stat. 837 3(2 temporary)
August 19, 1935 49 Stat. 659 3(Temporary posts made permanent)
May 31, 1938 52 Stat. 584 4(1 temporary)
November 21, 1941 55 Stat. 773 4(Temporary post made permanent)
February 10, 1954 68 Stat. 8 5
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 6
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 10
July 10, 1984 104 Stat. 5089 11(1 temporary)
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 13(Temporary post made permanent)

Former chief judges

In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, 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 in the office of chief judge 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. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.[46][47]

Former judges

For more information on the judges of the District of Massachusetts, see former federal judges of the District of Massachusetts.

Federal courthouse

The District of Massachusetts is served by three federal courthouses.

Cameras to be allowed in the courtroom

The court is participating in a three-year long pilot program that will see video recordings of civil trials in 14 different federal courts. Massachusetts already allows cameras into state courtrooms with special permission, but this is be a new experience for the federal court. Shooting began on October 17, 2011, with a few limitations: criminal trials would not be recorded, the recording of civil cases must have been agreed upon by both parties and the judge, and only official court videos made by court personnel would be allowed. The videos are available to the public on www.uscourts.gov.[48]

See also

External links


  1. United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, accessed March 13, 2015
  2. Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
  3. U.S. v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: Criminal Indictment
  4. Boston Herald, "Judge won’t give Tsarnaev lawyers more time for death penalty argument," October 18, 2013
  5. Wicked Local Cambridge', "Judge: No extra time for death penalty decision for Tsarnaev," October 21, 2013 (dead link)
  6. New York Daily News, "Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face death penalty: prosecutors," November 12, 2013
  7. Politico, "Judge denies information to alleged Boston marathon bomber," November 27, 2013
  8. New York Times, "U.S. Weighs Pursuit of Death Penalty for Suspect in Boston Bombing," January 23, 2014
  9. New York Times, "Judge Sets Nov. 3 as Start of Trial for Boston Bombing Suspect," February 12, 2014
  10. CNN.com, "Boston bombing suspect's trial location won't move -- even if the trial date will," September 25, 2014
  11. USA Today, "Judge OKs second death penalty expert for Tsarnaev defense," February 20, 2014
  12. Boston Globe, "Judge sets Tsarnaev hearing for April 16," March 12, 2014
  13. Chicago Tribune, "Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged," April 22, 2013
  14. Bloomberg, "Boston Bombing Judge Emerges as Target for Republicans," May 15, 2013
  15. Courthouse News Service, "Tsarnaev indicted," June 27, 2013
  16. Newsday, "Robel Phillipos after release in Boston bombings: 'This is crazy,'" May 7, 2013
  17. Boston Globe, "Judge orders Cambridge man released on bail," May 6, 2013
  18. MyFOXBoston, "Hearing for bomb suspect's friend delayed," May 29, 2013
  19. Boston Globe, "Judge appoints lawyer for Tsarnaev friend," March 6, 2014
  20. CBS News, "Whitey" Bulger to face charges in Massachusetts," June 23, 2011
  21. Boston Globe, "US says ‘Whitey’ Bulger immunity unfounded," March 1, 2013
  22. Bay State Banner, "Judge Denise Casper: ‘Cool, calm and collected’ during Whitey Bulger trial," July 31, 2013
  23. New York Times, "Bulger Cannot Tell Jury About Immunity Claim, Judge Says," May 2, 2013
  24. USA Today, "At trial, feds paint 'mayhem' of mobster 'Whitey' Bulger," June 13, 2013
  25. Los Angeles Times, "How the James 'Whitey' Bulger jury ruled, charge by charge," August 12, 2013
  26. United States Attorney's Office District of Massachusetts, "Federal Jury Convicts James “Whitey” Bulger," August 12, 2013
  27. Associated Press via Huffington Post, "Whitey Bulger Defense Costs Total $2.6M Through June," September 13, 2013
  28. Boston.com, "Whitey Bulger, Boston gangster found responsible for 11 murders, gets life in prison," November 14, 2013
  29. USA Today, "Mobster 'Whitey' Bulger gets 2 life terms plus 5 years," November 14, 2013
  30. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Associated Press, "Judge: Mass. must pay for killer's sex change," September 4, 2012 (dead link)
  32. Boston Herald, "Judge to hear arguments in inmate’s sex-change," December 21, 2009
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Boston.com, "Judge: State must pay more than $700,000 in legal fees to attorneys of convicted murder who wants sex change," December 19, 2012
  34. Metro Boston, "Sal DiMasi convicted of conspiracy, extortion, fraud," June 15, 2011 (dead link)
  35. BostonHerald.com, "Sal DiMasi sentenced to 8 years in prison on corruption charges," September 9, 2011
  36. Boston.com, "Former House speaker Sal DiMasi appeals corruption conviction in federal court," August 21, 2012
  37. MassDevice, "Federal judge tosses securities lawsuit against Boston Scientific," April 29, 2010
  38. Boston Globe, "Judge clarifies ruling saying Boston can’t force hybrid taxi switch," December 11, 2009
  39. 39.0 39.1 Boston Globe, "Repeat sexual offender ordered held indefinitely," August 20, 2009
  40. USA Today, "Mass. judge tosses suit against Hasselbeck," November 17, 2009
  41. Boston Globe, "Federal judge clears Romney in firing lawsuit," September 4, 2009 (dead link)
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 PC World, "Second RIAA Piracy Trial Starts: Defense Tactics Include Feng Shui and Legalized Pot," July 28, 2009
  43. ComputerWorld, "RIAA vs. Joel Tenenbaum: $675,000 P2P piracy verdict OK'ed," December 8, 2009
  44. 44.0 44.1 Gloucester Times, "Federal judge backs auction," July 21, 2009 (dead link)
  45. 45.0 45.1 History of the District of Massachusetts on the Federal Judicial Center website
  46. United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
  47. United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
  48. News Telegram.com, "Cameras can roll in fed court," October 8, 2011

MassachusettsMassachusetts Supreme Judicial CourtMassachusetts Appeals CourtMassachusetts Superior CourtsMassachusetts District CourtsMassachusetts Housing CourtsMassachusetts Juvenile CourtsMassachusetts Land CourtsMassachusetts Probate and Family CourtsBoston Municipal Courts, MassachusettsUnited States District Court for the District of MassachusettsUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MassachusettsUnited States Court of Appeals for the First CircuitMassachusetts countiesMassachusetts judicial newsMassachusetts judicial electionsJudicial selection in MassachusettsMassachusettsTemplate.jpg