United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- 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 Middle District of Florida is one of ninety-four United States district courts. The district has courthouse in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando and Tampa Bay, Fla. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Atlanta at the Elbert P. Tuttle Federal Courthouse.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Article III judges
|Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich||1936||Canton, IL||Reagan||3/9/1982 - Present||1996 - 2002||George Young||University of Miami, B.A., 1958||Stetson U. Law, J.D., 1961|
|Chief judge Anne Conway||1950||Cleveland, OH||11/25/1991-Present||2008-Present||George Carr||John Carroll University, 1972||University of Florida Law, 1975|
|Judge Steven Merryday||1950||Palatka, FL||H.W. Bush||2/10/1992 - Present||New Seat|104 Stat. 5089||University of Florida, B.A., 1972||University of Florida Law, J.D., 1975|
|Judge James Whittemore||1952||Walterboro, SC||Clinton||5/25/2000-Present||New Seat|113 Stat. 1501||University of Florida, 1974||Stetson University Law, 1977|
|Judge John Steele||1949||Detroit, MI||7/26/2000-Present||New Seat|113 Stat. 1501||University of Detroit, 1971||University of Detroit Law, 1973|
|Judge Tim Corrigan||1956||Jacksonville, FL||W. Bush||9/13/2002 - Present||New Seat|113 Stat. 1501||Notre Dame, B.A., 1978||Duke Law, J.D., 1981|
|Judge Virginia Covington||1955||Tampa, FL||W. Bush||9/10/2004 - Present||Ralph Nimmons||University of Tampa, B.A., 1976||Georgetown U. Law, 1980|
|Judge Marcia Howard||1965||Jacksonville, FL||W. Bush||2/20/2007 - Present||Harvey Schlesinger||Vanderbilt U., B.A., 1987||University of Florida Law, B.A., 1990|
|Judge Mary Scriven||1962||Atlanta, GA||W. Bush||09/30/2008 - Present||Patricia Fawsett||Duke U., B.A., 1983||Florida State U. Law, J.D., 1987|
|Judge Sheri Chappell||1962||Sheboygan, WI||Obama||5/20/2013 - Present||University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1984||Nova Southeastern U., J.D., 1987|
|Judge Charlene Honeywell||1957||Deerfield Beach, FL||Obama||11/12/2009 - Present||Susan Bucklew||Howard U., B.A., 1979||University of Florida Law, J.D., 1981|
|Judge Roy Bale Dalton, Jr.||1952||Jacksonville, FL||Obama||5/2/2011 - Present||Henry Adams||University of Florida, B.A., 1974||University of Florida Law, J.D., 1976|
|Judge Carlos E. Mendoza||Obama||6/24/2014-Present||West Virginia University, 1993||West Virginia University, 1997|
|Judge Brian J. Davis||January 28, 1953||Jacksonville, FL||Obama||12/20/2013 - Present||Richard Lazzara||Princeton, 1974||University of Florida Law, 1980|
|Judge Paul G. Byron||1959||Queens, New York||Obama||6/24/2014-Present||James S. Moody||University of Michigan, 1983||LSU Law, 1986|
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 Patricia Fawsett||Reagan||6/9/1986-8/25/2008||2003-2008||8/25/2008-Present||University of Florida, 1965||Florida Law School, 1973|
|Senior Judge Howell Melton||Carter||4/26/1977-2/1/1991||2/1/1991-Present||University of Florida, 1943||University of Florida College of Law, 1948|
|Senior Judge William Castagna||Carter||7/24/1979 - 6/29/1992||6/29/1992 - Present||University of Florida, 1949||University of Florida, 1967|
|Senior Judge John Moore (Florida)||Reagan||12/1/1981 - 12/31/1995||1992 - 1995||12/31/1995 - Present||Syracuse University, B.S., 1952||University of Florida College of Law, J.D., 1961|
|Senior Judge William Hodges||Nixon||12/15/1971 - 5/2/1999||1982 - 1989||5/2/1999 - Present||University of Florida, B.S.B.A., 1956||University of Florida College of Law, J.D., 1958|
|Senior Judge George Sharp||Reagan||11/16/1983 - 1/1/2000||1/1/2000 - Present||Yale University, B.A., 1957||University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1963|
|Senior Judge Harvey Schlesinger||H.W. Bush||7/2/1991 - 6/5/2006||6/5/2006 - Present||The Citadel, B.A., 1962||T.C. Williams School of Law, J.D., 1965|
|Senior Judge Susan Bucklew||Clinton||11/24/1993 - 8/1/2008||8/1/2008 - Present||Florida State University, B.A., 1964||Stetson University College of Law, J.D., 1977|
|Senior Judge Henry Adams||Clinton||11/24/1993 - 4/8/2010||4/8/2010 - Present||Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, B.A., 1966||Howard University School of Law, J.D., 1969|
|Senior Judge Richard Lazzara||Clinton||9/27/1997 - 12/17/2011||12/17/2011 - Present||Loyola U.-New Orleans, B.A., 1967||University of Florida Law, J.D., 1970|
|Senior Judge John Antoon||5/31/2000-6/3/2013||6/3/2013-Present||Florida Southern College, 1968||Florida State University Law, 1971|
|Senior Judge James S. Moody||Clinton||7/28/2000-3/31/2014||University of Florida, 1969||University of Florida Law, 1972|
|Senior Judge Gregory Presnell||Clinton||7/31/2000 - 4/1/2012||4/1/2012 - Present||College of William and Mary, 1964||University of Florida Law, 1966|
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 Thomas G. Wilson||04/1979 - Present||Michigan State U., B.A., 1961||Duke U. Law, L.L.B., 1964|
|Magistrate Judge Thomas McCoun, III||02/01/1994 - Present||Georgia Tech U., B.S., 1973||Stetson U. Law, J.D., 1977|
|Magistrate Judge David A. Baker||1991 - Present||University of North Carolina, B.A., 1973||University of Virginia Law, J.D., 1976|
|Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Jenkins||1985 - Present||Vanderbilt U., B.A., 1971||University of Florida Law, J.D., 1976|
|Magistrate Judge Mark Pizzo||05/1995 - Present||Loyola U., B.A., 1974||Loyola U. Law, JD., 1977|
|Magistrate Judge Karla Spaulding||12/1997 - Present||Western Michigan U., B.A., 1975||Northwestern U. Law, J.D., 1980|
|Magistrate Judge Doug Frazier||01/08/2000 - Present||U.S. Naval Academy, B.A., 1972||University of Mississippi Law, J.D., 1979|
|Magistrate Judge Greg Kelley||01/14/2008 - Present||SUNY at Buffalo, B.S., 1984||University of Toledo Law, J.D., 1988|
|Magistrate Judge James Klindt||10/31/2007 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Monte Richardson||06/02/2003 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Thomas B. Smith||7/25/2011 - Present||University of Florida College of Law, 1977|
|Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli||08/08/2009 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Joel Toomey||7/6/2010 - Present||Duke Law School, 1982|
|Magistrate Judge Philip Lammens||07/02/2012 - Present||University of Florida||University of Florida|
|Magistrate Judge Carol Mirando||1/21/2014-Present|
|Magistrate Judge Patricia D. Barksdale||11/1/2013-Present|
The Middle District of Florida has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
It holds court in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando and Tampa Bay.
There are five court divisions, each covering the following counties:
|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 Opinions of the Middle District of Florida.
| • Welfare drug testing case (2011-2013)|
Judge(s):Mary Scriven (Lebron v. Wilkins, 6:11-cv-01473-MSS-DAB)
|Click for summary→|
|On October 25, 2011, Judge Mary Scriven issued a temporary injunction against a Florida state law that required mandatory drug testing for all applicants to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The law, which was in effect briefly from July 1, 2011, until October 24, 2011, stated that if an applicant were to test positive for drugs, he would be "ineligible to receive TANF benefits for one year after the date of the positive test" unless he could establish that a substance abuse treatment program had been satisfactorily completed; in that case, the prospective applicant would be able to reapply for TANF six months after the positive drug test. The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Luis Lebron, a man who sought welfare assistance for his family but refused to take the drug test. In issuing the temporary injunction, Scriven described the law as "an unconstitutional invasion of privacy," noting that the state couldn't "condition [citizens from] getting some benefit from the government by surrendering [their] constitutional rights." Additional information about the ruling can be found here.
In December 2013, almost one year after the Eleventh Circuit decided to extend the drug-testing injunction following the government's appeal, Scriven issued a final ruling in this case, granting Lebron's motion for summary judgment on remand -- meaning that the case would be decided in Lebron's favor without a trial on its merits. Scriven found that Florida's drug-testing requirement for TANF welfare applicants and recipients was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, issuing a permanent injunction against the law. In the ruling, Scriven wrote:
| • Florida drug law challenge (2011)|
Judge(s):Mary Scriven (Mackle Vincent Shelton v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, et. al., Case No. 6:07-cv-839-Orl-35-KRS)
|Click for summary→|
|On July 27, 2011, Judge Scriven declared Florida's Drug Abuse Prevention and Control law unconstitutional after it was challenged for not including an intent requirement. According to the ruling, Florida is the only state to have eliminated the intent requirement from its drug laws, which means that in Florida a "person is guilty of a drug offense if he delivers a controlled substance without regard to whether he does so purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently," according to Judge Scriven. She went on to say, "Other states have rejected such a draconian and unreasonable construction of the law that would criminalize the ‘unknowing’ possession of a controlled substance," and found Florida’s drug law to be unconstitutional "on its face."|
The District of Florida was established by Congress on March 3, 1845, with one post to cover the entire state. On July 30, 1962, Congress established the Middle District of Florida with four seats, transferring posts from the then Southern District of Florida and assigning the judges of the Northern and Southern districts to help cover the Middle District of Florida. Over time, eleven additional judicial posts were added for a total of fifteen current posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Middle District of Florida:
|March 3, 1845||5 Stat. 788||1(District of Florida)|
|July 30, 1962||76 Stat. 247||4|
|March 18, 1966||80 Stat. 75||5|
|June 2, 1970||84 Stat. 294||6|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||9|
|December 1, 1990||104 Stat. 5089||11|
|November 29, 1999||113 Stat. 1501||15|
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 about the judges of the Middle District of Florida, see former federal judges of the Middle District of Florida.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- News: Federal Courts, Empty Benches:The Wednesday Vacancy Count 3/7/2012, March 7, 2012
- U.S. District Court-Middle District of Florida
- U.S. Attorney's Office-Middle District of Florida
- List of judges of the Middle District of Florida
- Opinions of the Middle District of Florida
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- CNN, "Federal judge temporarily bars Florida's welfare drug-test law," October 25, 2011
- MSNBC, "Judge shoots down Rick Scott's welfare drug testing," January 2, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Courthouse News Service, "Welfare Drug Testing in Florida Given the Boot," January 17, 2014
- Wall Street Journal, "Florida Judge Declares State’s Drug Law Unconstitutional," July 27, 2011
- History of the Districts of Florida on the Federal Judicial Center website
- United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
Chief Judge: Anne Conway • Elizabeth Kovachevich • Steven Merryday • James Whittemore • John Steele • Tim Corrigan • Virginia Covington • Marcia Howard • Mary Scriven • Sheri Chappell • Charlene Honeywell • Roy Bale Dalton, Jr. • Carlos E. Mendoza • Brian J. Davis • Paul G. Byron
Patricia Fawsett • Howell Melton • William Castagna • John Moore (Florida) • William Hodges • George Sharp • Harvey Schlesinger • Susan Bucklew • Henry Adams • Richard Lazzara • John Antoon • James S. Moody • Gregory Presnell •
|Magistrate judges||Thomas G. Wilson • Thomas McCoun, III • David A. Baker • Elizabeth Jenkins • Mark Pizzo • Karla Spaulding • Doug Frazier • Greg Kelley • James Klindt • Monte Richardson • Thomas B. Smith • Anthony E. Porcelli • Joel Toomey • Philip Lammens • Carol Mirando • Patricia D. Barksdale •|
|Former Article III judges||
George C. Young • Gerald Tjoflat • Susan Black (Eleventh Circuit) • George Carr • Isaac Krentzman • Joseph Lieb • William McRae • Ralph Nimmons • John Reed • Charles Scott (Florida) • John Bryan Simpson •
|Former Chief judges||
Patricia Fawsett • George C. Young • John Moore (Florida) • William Hodges • Elizabeth Kovachevich • Susan Black (Eleventh Circuit) • George Carr • Isaac Krentzman • Joseph Lieb • William McRae • John Bryan Simpson •
State of Florida
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Chief Financial Officer | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services | Commissioner of Insurance Regulation | Secretary of Environmental Protection | Director of Economic Opportunity | Chair of Public Service Commission |