MARYLAND & THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


[photo, Thurgood Marshall statue, by Reuben Kramer, Garmatz Federal Courthouse (view from West Pratt St.), 101 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland] The United States District Courts are federal courts with general trial jurisdiction in both criminal and civil cases. Each state has at least one federal district court. Under jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court are the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. Magistrate Judges, probation officers, court reporters, and their staffs.


Thurgood Marshall statue by Reuben Kramer, Garmatz Federal Courthouse (view from West Pratt St.), 101 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland, December 2001. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Garmatz Federal Courthouse, 101 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland] The United States District Court for the District of Maryland was established in 1789 by the federal Judiciary Act of 1789. The Court convened for the first time in 1790 at Baltimore and alternated sessions between Baltimore and Easton until 1822, when it moved to the New Masonic Hall on St. Paul Street, Baltimore. The Court moved to its present Baltimore site on West Lombard Street in 1976.


Garmatz Federal Courthouse, 101 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland, April 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


In 1988, Congress authorized a Southern Division of the Court. When the U.S. Courthouse in Greenbelt opened in October 1994, the Court divided into a Northern Division in Baltimore and a Southern Division in Greenbelt.

Judges of the U.S. District Court are appointed for a life-term by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. Presently, sixteen judges sit on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Five senior judges still hear cases but no longer assume full-time duties.

The Chief Judge serves a seven-year term. By law, the judge with most seniority who also is under 65 years of age, has served at least one year on the Court, and has not served previously as Chief Judge becomes the Chief Judge.

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