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United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

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Middle District of Pennsylvania
Third Circuit
Judges: 6
Posts: 6
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Christopher Conner
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: Martin Carlson
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is one of ninety-four United States district courts. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Philadelphia at the James Byrne Courthouse.

The United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Peter J. Smith.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies for its six posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Yvette Kane1953Donaldsonville, LAClinton 10/22/1998 - Present2006 - 2013Edwin KosikNicholls State U., B.A., 1973Tulane Law, J.D., 1976
Chief Judge Christopher Conner1957Harrisburg, PAW. Bush 07/29/2002 - Present2013 - PresentSylvia RamboCornell, 1979Dickinson Law, 1982
Judge John E. Jones1955Pottsville, PAW. Bush 07/31/2002 - PresentJames McClureDickinson College, B.A., 1977Dickinson Law, J.D., 1980
Judge Malachy Mannion1953Montreal, CanadaObama 12/21/2012 - PresentA. Richard CaputoUniversity of Scranton, B.S., 1976Pace U. Law, J.D., 1979
Judge Robert David Mariani1950Scranton, PAObama 10/19/2011 - PresentJames M. MunleyVillanova U., A.B., 1972Syracuse U. Law, J.D., 1976
Judge Matthew Brann1965Elmira, NYObama 12/21/2012 - PresentThomas VanaskieNotre Dame, B.A., 1987Pennsylvania State U. Law, J.D., 1990

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 Richard CaputoClinton 11/12/1997 - 03/30/200903/31/2009 - PresentBrown, A.B., 1960University of Pennsylvania Law School, LL.B., 1963
Senior Judge James MunleyClinton 10/22/1998 - 01/29/200901/30/2009 - PresentUniversity of Scranton, B.S., 1958Temple U. Law, LL.B., 1963
Senior Judge William Nealon 12/13/1962 - 01/01/19891976 - 198912/31/1988 - PresentVillanova U., 1947Catholic U. of America Law, 1950
Senior Judge Richard ConaboyCarter 07/24/1979 - 08/31/19921989 - 199209/01/1992 - PresentUniversity of Scranton, B.A., 1945Catholic U. of America Law, LL.B., 1950
Senior Judge Sylvia RamboCarter 07/24/1979 - 04/17/20011992 - 199904/18/2001 - PresentDickinson College, B.A., 1958Dickinson Law, J.D., 1962
Senior Judge William CaldwellReagan 03/19/1982 - 05/30/199405/31/1994 - PresentDickinson College, A.B., 1948Dickinson Law, LL.B., 1951
Senior Judge Edwin KosikReagan 06/16/1986 - 07/14/199607/15/1996 - PresentWilkes College, B.A., 1949Dickinson Law, LL.B., 1951

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

Magistrate Judge Thomas Blewitt02/21/1992 - PresentUniversity of Scranton, B.A., 1972Temple U. Law, J.D., 1983
Magistrate Judge William Arbuckle07/29/2008 - PresentGrove City College, B.A., 1971Akron U. Law, J.D., 1974
Chief Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson08/15/2009 - PresentPennsylvania State U., B.A., 1977University of Pennsylvania Law, J.D., 1980
Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab12/03/2012 - PresentWilkes UniversityWidener University School of Law, 1992
Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick2013-PresentPennsylvania State UniversityTulane University School of Law


The Counties of the Middle District of Pennsylvania (click for larger map)

The Western District of Pennsylvania has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

Because Harrisburg, the state capital, is located within the district's jurisdiction, most suits against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are filed in the Middle District. Similarly, because York County Prison served as the largest Immigration and Naturalization Service facility in the Northeast, the Middle District previously adjudicated a large number of immigration cases. The courts of appeal are now responsible for most judicial review of immigration decisions, bypassing the Middle District and other district courts.

The geographic jurisdiction of the Middle District of Pennsylvania consists of approximately one-half of Pennsylvania. The following counties form the Middle District:




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 3196377069663418 354813.87.0227 (8.2%)027
2012 3073323663093117 319212.47.8226 (9.3%)24.626
2011 3104319262963206 309012.16.8211 (9.4%)3624
2010 2982356165433388 315511.35.5104 (4.6%)29.330
2009 3010318661963129 306712.76.981 (3.7%)1435
2008 2952323561873202 298510.67.6144 (6.8%)029
20072557320557623169259311.57.6131 (6.4%)035
*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 Middle District of Pennsylvania.


Court history

The District of Pennsylvania was established by Congress on September 24, 1789, with one post to cover the entire state. On April 20, 1818, Congress divided the district into the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Western District of Pennsylvania with one post each. On March 2, 1901, Congress again redefined the boundaries of the district, transitioning a portion of both districts to the newly formed Middle District of Pennsylvania. Over time, five additional judicial posts were added to the Middle District of Pennsylvania for a total of six current posts.[22]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania:[22]

Year Statute Total Seats
September 24, 1789 1 Stat. 73 1 (Whole state)
March 2, 1901 31 Stat. 880 1
February 28, 1929 45 Stat. 1344 2
July 24, 1946 60 Stat. 654 3(1 shared temporary)
February 10, 1954 68 Stat. 8 2
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 3
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 4(1 Temporary)
1976 Post Expired 3
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 5
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 6

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.[23][24]

Former judges

For more information on the judges of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, see former federal judges of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Federal courthouse

There are three federal courthouses that serve the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

  • Harrisburg - Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse.
  • Scranton - William J. Nealon Federal Building and Courthouse.
  • Williamsport - Herman T. Schneebeli Federal Building and Courthouse
  • Wilkes-Barre - Max Rosenn U.S. Courthouse

See also

External links


  1. Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
  2., "Harrisburg man sentenced to 19 1/2 years in federal prison in gun case," April 22, 2014
  3. U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania, "Press Release: Harrisburg Man Sentenced To Prison On Firearms Charges As Part Of On-Going Partnership To Prosecute Violent Crime," April 22, 2014
  4., "Leader of 'Felony Lane Gang' gets federal prison for thefts from park patrons," March 19, 2014
  5. Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Leader of Million-Dollar Felony Lane Gang Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Prison," March 19, 2014
  6. Courthouse News Service, "Truck Driver Gets the Hammer for Fatal Crash," November 18, 2013
  7. Courthouse News Service, "Rookie Trucker Owes Millions for Fatal Crash," January 13, 2014
  8. Courthouse News Service, "Regional Bank Settles Overdraft Issue for $2.5M," December 4, 2013
  9., "Federal judge rules same-sex marriage ban in Pennsylvania is unconstitutional," May 20, 2014
  10. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  11. The New York Times, "Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania's Gay Marriage Ban," May 20, 2014 accessed on May 22, 2014
  12. ABC 6 Action News, "Pennsylvania Attorney General won't defend gay marriage ban," July 11, 2013
  13. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania gay marriage ban to face court test," November 15, 2013
  14. Philadelphia Inquirer, "Judge clears way for trial on Pa. gay marriage ban," November 17, 2013
  15. Associated Press, "Judge in Pa. gay marriage suit nixes state appeal," December 17, 2013
  16. Courthouse News Service, "Just Judge Seeks Reinstatement After 'Kids for Cash' Corruption," February 8, 2013
  17. Citizens' Voice, "Judge removes defendants from Lokuta suit," October 11, 2013
  18. Courthouse News Service, "'Kids for Cash' Informant Can't Sue Court Officials," October 21, 2013
  19. Pennsylvania Record, "Federal judge dismisses suit by Pa. judges challenging mandatory judicial retirement age," September 25, 2013 (timed out)
  20. Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, "PA Judges Lose Federal Challenge to Mandatory Retirement," September 25, 2013
  21., "U.S. Appeals Court backs Pa. judge retirement mandate," April 29, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 History of the Districts of Pennsylvania on the Federal Judicial Center website
  23. United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
  24. United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009