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United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
(D. Mass.)
Massachusetts Locator Map.PNG
Appeals to First Circuit
Established September 24, 1789
Judges assigned 13
Chief judge Mark Lawrence Wolf
Official site

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (in case citations, D. Mass.) is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA. The first court session was held in Boston in 1789. The second term was held in Salem in 1790 and until 1813 court session locations alternated between the two cities. That year, Boston became the court's permanent home. A western division was opened in Springfield in 1979 and a central division was opened in Worcester in 1987. The court's main building is the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse on Fan Pier in South Boston.

Appeals from the District of Massachusetts are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, also headquartered in Boston (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current U.S. Attorney is Carmen Ortiz.




Current composition of the court

As of 2009, the judges on the court are:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
31 Chief Judge Mark Lawrence Wolf Boston, MA 1946 1985–present 2006–present Reagan
24 District Judge Joseph Louis Tauro Boston, MA 1931 1972–present 1992–1999 Nixon
30 District Judge Rya Weickert Zobel Boston, MA 1931 1979–present Carter
32 District Judge William G. Young Boston, MA 1940 1985–present 1999–2005 Reagan
33 District Judge Douglas Preston Woodlock Boston, MA 1947 1986–present Reagan
35 District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton Boston, MA 1938 1992–present G.H.W. Bush
37 District Judge Patti B. Saris Boston, MA 1951 1993–present Clinton
38 District Judge Richard Gaylore Stearns Boston, MA 1944 1993–present Clinton
39 District Judge Nancy Gertner Boston, MA 1946 1994–present Clinton
40 District Judge Michael Ponsor Springfield, MA 1946 1994–present Clinton
41 District Judge George A. O'Toole, Jr. Boston, MA 1947 1995–present Clinton
42 District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV Worcester, MA 1955 2004–present G.W. Bush
(n/a) District Judge (Seat Vacant) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
34 Senior District Judge Edward Francis Harrington Boston, MA 1933 1988–2001 2001–present Reagan

Pending nominations

  • There is currently one vacant seat, left open by the death of Reginald C. Lindsay on March 12, 2009. There has not yet been a nomination to fill this seat.

Magistrate Judges

  • Rudolph F. Pierce (1976-1979)
  • Patti B. Saris (1985-1989)
  • Peter W. Prince (1971-1981)
  • Charles B. Swartwood (1973-2006)
  • Robert P. DeGiacomo (1980-1985)
  • Mihchael A. Ponsor (1984-1994)
  • Willie J. Davis (1971-1976)
  • Lawrence P. Cohen (1976-2005)
  • Zachary R. Karol (1993-1999)
  • Joyce London Alexander (1979-2009)
  • Mariane B. Bowler (1990-present)
  • Robert B. Collings (1982-present)
  • Judith G, Dein (2000-present)
  • Leo T. Sorokin (2005-present)
  • Timothy S. Hillman (2006-present)

Notable cases

  • Ghen v. Rich (1881) (a whale is the property of the whaler who killed it, and not the person who found it dead on the beach).


External links


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