United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico

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District of Puerto Rico
First Circuit
Seal of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.gif
Judges: 7
Posts: 7
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Aida Delgado-Colon
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico 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, but hears appeals at the Old San Juan courthouse for two sessions each year.

The United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Rosa E. Rodriguez-Velez.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies out of their seven posts.

Pending nominations

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

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Jose Fuste1943San Juan, PRReagan 10/28/1985 - Present2004 - 2011Juan TorruellaUniversity of Puerto Rico, B.B.A., 1965U. Puerto Rico Law, LL.B., 1968
Judge Carmen Cerezo1940San Juan, PRCarter 6/30/1980 - Present1993 - 1999New Seat|92 Stat. 1629Puerto Rico U., B.A., 1963Puerto Rico U. Law, J.D., 1966
Judge Jay Garcia-GregorySeptember 19, 1944San Juan, PRClinton 7/11/2000 - PresentRaymond AcostaAssumption College, A.B., 1966Puerto Rico U. Law, LL.B., 1972
Chief judge Aida Delgado-Colon1955Lares, PRW. Bush 3/17/2006 - Present4/14/2011 - PresentSalvador CasellasUniversity of Puerto Rico, B.A., 1977Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, J.D., 1980
Judge Gustavo Gelpi1965San Juan, PRW. Bush 8/1/2006-PresentHector LaffitteBrandeis University, 1987Suffolk University Law School, 1991
Judge Francisco BesosaOctober 26, 1949San Juan, Puerto RicoW. Bush 9/27/2006 - PresentJuan Perez-GimenezBrown University, A.B., 1971Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1979
Judge Pedro A. Delgado Hernández1956San Juan, Puerto RicoObama 3/5/2014-PresentDaniel DominguezUniversity of Puerto Rico, B.S., 1979University of Puerto Rico Law, J.D., 1989

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Salvador CasellasClinton 9/29/1994-6/10/20056/10/2005-PresentGeorgetown University, 1957Puerto Rico University Law,1960
Senior Judge Daniel DominguezClinton 9/29/1994-7/31/20117/31/2011-PresentBoston University 1967Puerto Rico University Law, 1970
Senior Judge Juan Perez-GimenezCarter 12/6/1979 - 3/28/20061984 - 19913/28/2006 - PresentPuerto Rico U., B.A., 1963Puerto Rico U. Law, LL.B., 1968

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Camille Velez-Rive
Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin2007-PresentUniversity of IowaColumbia University
Magistrate Judge Marcos Lopez-Gonzalez2007-PresentUniversity of VirginiaCornell University
Magistrate judge Silvia Carreno-Coll


The Municipalities of Puerto Rico (click for larger map)

The District of Puerto Rico 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 Puerto Rico consists of all the municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The court is based in San Juan with the main building being the Clemente Ruiz Nazario U.S. Courthouse located in the Hato Rey district of San Juan.




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 3501315666572866 379111.112.865 (4.9%)1217
2012 3525306765923088 350413.410.850 (3.5%)1216
2011 3321297662972727 357010.811.347 (3.1%)215
2010 2837285856952364 33311311.345(3.2%)018
2009 3012231453262494 283211.111.958(4.1%)019
2008 2734295456882693 29958.710.599(5.9%)015
*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 of the District of Puerto Rico.


Court history

The District of Puerto Rico was established by Congress in 1900 with one judge appointed to a four-year term. In 1915, the court was assigned to the First Circuit and in 1938 the judge's term of office was increased to 8 years. Then in September 12, 1966, the judgeships were made lifetime positions and the court was elevated to the same status as other United States District Courts. Over time six additional judicial posts were added for a total of seven current posts.[3]

Judicial posts

Prior to 1966, all appointments to the court were considered Article I appointments, which did not carry life tenures. After 1966, the appointments were considered Article III appointments and carried lifetime terms. The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of Puerto Rico:[3]

Year Statute Total Seats
1900 31 Stat. 77 1
1961 75 Stat. 80 2
September 12, 1966 80 Stat. 764 Court status elevated 2
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 3
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 7

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.[4][5]

Former judges

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

Federal courthouse

The court is based in San Juan. The main building is the Clemente Ruiz Nazario U.S. Courthouse located in the Hato Rey district of San Juan. The Magistrate Judges are located in the adjacent Federico Degetau Federal Building, and several senior district judges hold court at the old courthouse in Old San Juan. The old courthouse also houses the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

See also

External links