ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS
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.
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 site on West Lombard Street in 1976. 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.
Garmatz Federal Courthouse, 101 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland, April 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
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.
© Copyright February 11, 2009 Maryland State Archives
Maryland Manual On-Line, 2009
July 1, 2009
Note: In this past edition of Maryland Manual, some links are to external sites. View the current Manual