United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island

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District of Rhode Island
First Circuit
Judges: 3
Posts: 3
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: William E. Smith
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island 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.

The United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Peter F. Neronha.[1]

Vacancy warning level

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

Pending nominations

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

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Mary Lisi1950Providence, RIClinton 5/9/1994-10/1/20152006-2013Francis BoyleRhode Island U., 1972Temple U. Law, 1977
Chief Judge William E. Smith1959Boise, IDW. Bush 11/15/2002 - Present2013 - PresentRonald LagueuxGeorgetown U., 1982Georgetown U. Law, 1987
Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.1958Providence, RIObama 5/4/2011 - PresentErnest TorresBrown, A.B., 1980Case Western Reserve U. Law, J.D., 1983

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Ronald LagueuxReagan 3/4/1986 - 11/30/20011992 - 199911/30/2001 - PresentBowdoin College, 1953Harvard Law, 1956

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond9/10/2004-PresentUniversity of Rhode Island (1985)University of Connecticut School of Law (1988)
Magistrate Judge Robert Lovegreen1993-PresentBrown University (1960)University of Virginia Law School (1963)
Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan10/01/2012-PresentWellesley College, 1973Georgetown University Law, 1978


The Counties of Rhode Island (click for larger map)

The District of Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island consists of all the counties in the state of Rhode Island. The District Court was created in 1790 when Rhode Island ratified the Constitution.




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 3164128344471750 26977.232.91035 (40.9%)09
2012 292511684093794 32997.311.41234 (41.0%)010
2011 2961101239731025 29488.817.6753 (28.8%)713
2010 248013203800834 29668.311.8345(13.2%)1210
2009 190112613162691 24717.810.6282(13.1%)1210
2008 108414052489582 19076.48.8288(17.7%)1210
*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 District of Rhode Island official website and then navigate to Case Information -> Opinions.


The District of Rhode Island was established by Congress on June 23, 1790 with one post to cover the entire state. Over time two additional judicial posts were added for a total of three current posts.[7]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of Rhode Island:[7]

Year Statute Total Seats
June 23, 1790 1 Stat. 128 1
March 18, 1966 80 Stat. 75 2
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.[8][9]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the District of Rhode Island, see former federal judges of the District of Rhode Island.

Federal courthouse

U.S. Courthouse, Providence

The court meets in what was originally the Providence Post Office, Court House and Custom House, now called the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, in Providence, Rhode Island. The building was constructed between 1904-08 in the Beaux Arts style of architecture popular, at the time, for public buildings of similar nature.

The building was originally designed to house a post office, a customs offices, and the federal courts. It now houses only the courts.[10]

See also

External links