United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

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Southern District of Florida
Eleventh Circuit
Judges: 17
Posts: 18
Vacancies: 1
Active judges
Chief: Federico Moreno
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida is one of 94 United States district courts. The district operates our of courthouses in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce, Fla. Appeals from the court are directed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Wifredo A. Ferrer.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida's vacancy warning level is blue. The court currently has one vacancy. There are no pending appointments.

Pending nominations

Mary Barzee FloresUniversity of Miami School of Music, 1985University of Miami School of Law, 1988

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief judge Federico Moreno1952Caracas, VenezuelaH.W. Bush 7/16/1990 - Present2007 - PresentAlcee HastingsUniversity of Notre Dame, B.A., 1974University of Miami Law School, J.D., 1978
Judge Jose Martinez1941Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicW. Bush 9/17/2002 - PresentEdward DavisUniversity of Miami, B.A., 1962University of Miami, J.D., 1965
Judge Marcia Cooke1954Sumter, SCW. Bush 5/18/2004 - PresentWilkie FergusonGeorgetown U., B.A., 1975Wayne State U., J.D., 1977
Judge Cecilia Altonaga1962Baltimore, MDW. Bush 5/7/2003 - PresentShelby HighsmithFlorida International U., B.A., 1983Yale Law, 1986
Judge Ursula Ungaro1951Miami Beach, FLH.W. Bush 10/9/1992 - PresentNew Seat|104 Stat. 5089University of Miami-Florida, B.A., 1973University of Florida Law, J.D., 1975
Judge Kevin M. Moore1951Coral Gables, FLH.W. Bush 2/10/1992 - PresentEugene SpellmanFlorida State U., B.A., 1972Fordham U. Law, J.D., 1976
Judge William Zloch1944Fort Lauderdale, FLReagan 11/4/1985 - Present2000 - 2007New Seat|98 Stat. 333University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1966University of Notre Dame Law, J.D., 1974
Judge Joan Lenard1952Amityville, NYClinton 12/26/1995 - PresentJames KingRoger Williams University, B.A., 1973Antioch Law (U. of the District of Columbia), J.D., 1976
Judge Donald Middlebrooks1946Orlando, FLClinton 5/27/1997 - PresentJames KehoeUniversity of Florida, B.A., 1968University of Florida Law, J.D., 1972
Judge William Dimitrouleas1951Lynn, MAClinton 5/22/1998 - PresentNorman RoettgerFurman University, B.A., 1973University of Florida College of Law, J.D., 1975
Judge Kenneth Marra1951Queens, NYW. Bush 09/13/2002 - PresentNew Seat|114 Stat. 2762Stonybrook SUNY, 1973Stetson U. Law, 1977
Judge James Cohn1948Montgomery, ALW. Bush 8/1/2003 - PresentNew Seat|116 Stat. 1758University of Alabama, B.A., 1971Samford U. Law, 1974
Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr.Obama 10/19/2011 - PresentPaul HuckBrown U., B.A., 1977Boston College Law, J.D., 1980
Judge Robin L. Rosenberg1962West Palm Beach, FloridaObama 7/22/2014-PresentAdalberto JordanPrinceton University, 1983Duke University School of Law, 1989
Judge Beth BloomJune 24, 1962Bronx, NYObama 6/24/2014-PresentUniversity of Florida, 1984University of Miami School of Law, 1988
Judge Darrin P. Gayles1966Peoria, IllinoisObama 6/17/2014-PresentPatricia SeitzHoward University, 1990George Washington University Law School, 1993
Judge Kathleen M. Williams1956Derby, CTObama 8/2/2011 - PresentDaniel HurleyDuke U., B.A., 1978U. of Miami Law, J.D., 1982

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 James L. KingNixon 10/19/1970 - 12/20/19921984 - 199112/20/1992 - PresentUniversity of Florida, B.A., 1949University of Florida Law, J.D., 1953
Senior Judge William HoevelerCarter 4/26/1977 - 1/31/19911/31/1991 - PresentBucknell University, B.A., 1947Harvard Law School, J.D., 1950
Senior Judge Jose Gonzalez (Florida)Carter 7/28/1978 - 11/30/199611/30/1996 - PresentUniversity of Florida, B.A., 1952University of Florida, J.D., 1957
Senior Judge Kenneth RyskampReagan 4/24/1986 - 1/1/20001/1/2000- PresentCalvin College, B.A., 1955University of Miami School of Law, J.D., 1956
Senior Judge Shelby HighsmithH.W. Bush 9/16/1991 - 3/15/20023/15/2002 - PresentUniversity of Kansas, LL.B., 1958
Senior Judge Donald GrahamH.W. Bush 9/16/1991-12/15/201312/15/2013-PresentWest Virginia State College, 1971Ohio State U. Law, 1974
Senior Judge Daniel HurleyClinton 3/11/1994 - 2/24/20092/24/2009 - PresentSt. Anselm`s College, B.A., 1964George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1968
Senior Judge Paul HuckClinton 7/11/2000 - 8/31/20108/31/2010 - PresentUniversity of Florida, B.A., 1962University of Florida School of Law, J.D., 1965
Senior Judge Patricia SeitzClinton 10/1/1998-11/16/201211/16/2012-PresentKansas State U., 1968Georgetown U. Law, 1973

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

Chief Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer
Magistrate Judge Frank Lynch, Jr.
Magistrate Judge Andrea Simonton04/01/1999 - PresentFlorida International U., B.S.W., 1973University of Miami Law, J.D., 1978
Magistrate Judge John O'Sullivan (Florida)04/01/1999 - Present
Magistrate Judge Patrick White (Florida)2002 - PresentColgate U.Howard U. Law, J.D.
Magistrate Judge James Hopkins10/15/2003 - Present
Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres06/2003 - Present
Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley03/25/2004 - PresentTufts U., B.A., 1979New York U. Law, J.D., 1983
Magistrate Judge Peter Palermo1971 - Present
Magistrate Judge Barry Garber10/30/2009 - Present
Magistrate Judge William C. Turnoff1986 - PresentFranklin and Marshall College, A.B., 1970Cornell Law, J.D., 1973
Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow03/10/1986 - Present
Magistrate Judge Dave Lee Brannon02/24/2012 - PresentU.S. Coast Guard AcademyUniversity of Miami School of Law
Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman07/23/2010 - Present
Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes04/12/2012 - PresentUniversity of Miami, B.A.University of Miami Law, J.D.
Magistrate Judge William Matthewman07/02/2012 - PresentFlorida International UniversityUniversity of Florida
Magistrate Judge Alicia O. Valle2013-PresentRutgers UniversityHarvard Law School
Magistrate Judge Patrick M. Hunt1/28/2013-Present


The Counties of the Southern District of Florida (click for larger map)

The Southern 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.

The district includes the South Florida metropolitan area of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Miami and West Palm Beach. It comprises 15,197 square miles and approximately 6.3 million people. Court offices are in Miami, Florida.[2]

The following counties are in the Southern District of Florida:




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 7028112861831411215 70995.74.994 (1.9%)22.422
2012 6725110931781810733 70855.7584 (1.8%)16.924
2011 6578117351831311711 66025.34.880 (1.8%)30.622
2010 6422118521827411732 65425.23.963 (1.3%)1326
2009 6824114201824411662 65825.54.373 (1.6%)7.129
2008 6271108671713810395 67435.44.6474 (10%)027
200765389973165111032561865.55618 (13.7%)022
*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 Southern District of Florida (dead link).

Famous cases that have been heard in the district include Bush v. Gore, United States v. Noriega (the prosecution of Manuel Noriega), González v. Reno (the Elián González case) and United States v. José Padilla (the prosecution of José Padilla).


The District of Florida was established by Congress on March 3, 1845, with one post to cover the entire state. On February 23, 1847, Congress divided the district into the Northern District of Florida and the Southern District of Florida with one judicial post for each district. Over time, 17 additional judicial posts were added for a total of 18 posts.[10]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Southern District of Florida:[10]

Year Statute Total Seats
March 3, 1845 5 Stat. 788 1
February 23, 1847 9 Stat. 131 1
September 14, 1922 42 Stat. 837 2(Temporary)
January 17, 1929 45 Stat. 1081 3
1930 Temporary Post Expired 2
June 27, 1930 46 Stat. 820 3
May 24, 1940 54 Stat. 219 4(Temporary)
1947 Temporary Post Expired 3
August 3, 1949 63 Stat. 493 4
February 10, 1954 68 Stat. 8 5
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 7
July 30, 1962 76 Stat. 247 4
March 18, 1966 80 Stat. 75 5
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 7
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 12
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 15
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 16
December 21, 2000 114 Stat. 2762 17
November 2, 2002 116 Stat. 1758 18

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.[11][12]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the Southern District of Florida, see former federal judges of the Southern District of Florida.

See also

External links