United States District Court for the District of Montana
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 References
The United States District Court for the District of Montana is the United States district court whose jurisdiction is the State of Montana (except the part of the state within Yellowstone National Park, which is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming). The district operates out of courthouses in Billings, Butte, Great Falls, Helena and Misoula, Mont. It is one of ninety-four United States district courts. Appeals from the District of Montana go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the District of Montana.
Article III judges
|Judge Brian Morris||September 5, 1963||Helena, Montana||Obama||12/12/2013 - Present||Sam Haddon||Stanford University, 1986||Stanford University, 1992|
|Judge Susan P. Watters||1958||Helena, Montana||Obama||12/12/2013 - Present||Richard Cebull||Eastern Montana College, B.A., 1980||University of Montana School of Law, J.D., 1988|
|Chief Judge Dana Christensen||1951||New York, NY||Obama||12/5/2011 - Present||Donald Molloy||Stanford U., B.A., 1973||University of Montana Law, J.D., 1976|
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 Judge Donald Molloy||Clinton||8/1/1996 - 8/16/2011||2001 - 2008||8/16/2011 - Present||University of Montana, B.A., 1968||University of Montana School of Law, J.D., 1976|
|Senior Judge Sam Haddon||W. Bush||7/25/2001-12/31/2012||12/31/2012-present||Rice U., B.S., 1959||University of Montana, School of Law, J.D., 1965|
|Senior Judge Charles Lovell||Reagan||4/4/1985 - 6/14/2000||6/14/2000 - Present||University of Montana, B.S., 1952||University of Montana School of Law, J.D., 1959|
|Senior Judge Jack Shanstrom||H.W. Bush||5/14/1990 - 1/30/2001||1996 - 2001||1/30/2001 - Present||University of Montana, 1956||University of Montana School of Law, 1957|
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 Judge Keith Strong||1/6/2007 - Present||University of Montana, B.A., 1971||University of Montana School of Law, J.D., 1974|
|Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby||2/25/2002 - Present||Macalester College, 1972||University of Montana School of Law, 1977|
|Magistrate Judge Jerry Lynch||6/10/2006 - Present||Carroll College, 1973||University of Montana School of Law, 1981|
The District of Montana has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
The court is located in Billings, Butte, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula.
|Federal Court Caseload Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases:||Median time (Criminal)**:||Median time (Civil)**:||Three-year civil cases#:||Vacant posts:##||Trials/Post|
|*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.|
**Time in months from filing to completion.
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Justia.com-Montana District Court Cases.
| • USA v. Travis Henry (2009)|
Judge(s):Richard Cebull (USA v. Travis Henry, CR-08-123-BLG-RFC)
|Click for summary→|
|Judge Cebull presided in the drug case of former Denver Bronco running back Travis Henry. Henry and co-defendant James Mack of Bow Mar, CO were arrested in October of 2008 after authorities in Montana found six pounds of marijuana and about 6.6 pounds of cocaine that the pair allegedly had supplied.
The United States Attorney for the District of Montana said in its complaint that Henry trafficked cocaine between Colorado and Montana, and one of his associates had delivered six pounds of cocaine to Billings, MT on previous occasions.
On April 15, 2009, Henry agreed with the Montana U.S. Attorney's Office to a plea agreement. The plea deal allowed the former NFL player to plead guilty to a single cocaine conspiracy charge in exchange for two other charges being dropped.On July 16, 2009, Judge Cebull sentenced Travis Henry to three years in federal prison. Cebull also ordered him to undergo drug rehabilitation and ordered five years probation.
The District of Montana was established by Congress on February 22, 1889, with one post to cover the entire state. Over time two additional judicial posts were added for a total of three current posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of Montana:
|February 22, 1889||25 Stat. 676||1|
|September 14, 1922||42 Stat. 837||2 (1 temporary)|
|May 31, 1938||52 Stat. 584||2 (temporary post expired)|
|July 10, 1984||98 Stat. 333||3|
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.
For more information on the judges of the District of Montana, see former federal judges of the District of Montana.
Five separate courthouses serve the District of Montana.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- News: Montana Chief Federal Judge calls for probe on himself after email scandal, March 2, 2012
- United States District Court for the District of Montana Official Website
- United States Attorney for the District of Montana Official Website
- Judges of the District of Montana (dead link)
- Opinions of the District of Montana
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- Philadelphia Inquirer "'Travis Henry' accepts plea agreement from Montana Prosecutors," April 15, 2009
- Detroit News, "Ex-NFL RB Travis Henry gets 3 years in cocaine case," July 16, 2009
- History of the District of Montana from the Federal Judicial Center
- United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
|Magistrate judges||Keith Strong • Carolyn Ostby • Jerry Lynch •|
|Former Article III judges||
William Henry Hunt • Paul Hatfield • Hiram Knowles • George Bourquin • Carl Rasch • Richard Cebull • Charles Nelson Pray • James Harris Baldwin • James Battin • William Jameson • William Murray • Russell Smith • Robert Lewis Brown •
|Former Chief judges|