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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia: Wikis


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The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (in case citations, E.D. Va.) is one of two United States district courts serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has jurisdiction over the Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and Richmond metro areas and surrounding locations.

Appeals from the Eastern District of Virginia are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (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 District Court for the District of Virginia was one of the original 13 courts established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, on September 24, 1789.[1][2]

On February 13, 1801, the Judiciary Act of 1801, 2 Stat. 89, divided Virginia into three judicial districts: the District of Virginia, which included the counties west of the Tidewater and south of the Rappahannock River; the District of Norfolk, which included the Tidewater counties south of the Rappahannock; and the District of Potomac, which included the counties north and east of the Rappahannock as well as Maryland counties along the Potomac.[2] Just over a year later, on March 8, 1802, the Judiciary Act of 1801 was repealed and Virginia became a single District again, 2 Stat. 132, effective July 1, 1802.[2]

The District of Virginia was subdivided into Eastern and Western Districts on February 4, 1819, by 3 Stat. 478.[1][2] At that time, West Virginia was still part of Virginia, and was encompassed in Virginia's Western District, while the Eastern District essentially covered what is now the entire state of Virginia. With the division of West Virginia from Virginia during the American Civil War, the Western District of Virginia became the District of West Virginia, and those parts of the Western District that were not part of West Virginia were combined with the Eastern District to again form a single District of Virginia on June 11, 1864, by 13 Stat. 124.[2] Congress again divided Virginia into Eastern and the Western Districts on February 3, 1871, by 16 Stat. 403.[2]

During the 1960s, Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. ran the Alexandria court, often ruled cases on the spot after motions were argued. The court earned the nickname, the "rocket docket", for the speed and efficiency for which it processes its cases. Since 1997, the court has processed civil cases the fastest of the 94 federal districts, and eighth fastest in dealing with criminal cases. [3]


Map of the United States District Courts in Virginia, showing the boundaries of the Eastern and Western Districts, and their divisions.

The Eastern District of Virginia has within its jurisdiction the following counties: Accomack, Amelia, Arlington, Brunswick, Caroline, Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Essex, Fairfax, Fauquier, Gloucester, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Loudoun, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, New Kent, Northampton, Northumberland, Nottoway, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Prince William, Richmond, Southampton, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Surry, Sussex, Westmoreland, York County.[4] The district also has jurisdiction over independent municipalities that are geographically located with these counties, but that are not politically part of them.[5]

The Eastern District of Virginia court's jurisdiction covers slightly over six million people, comprising approximately 85% of the state's population.

United States Attorney

Neil H. MacBride [6] is the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, serving as prosecution for criminal cases brought by the Federal government, and representing the United States in civil cases in the court. The U.S. Attorney's office also manages the Project Safe Neighborhoods program within the district to reduce gun violence (part of a nationwide program), and is involved with federal initiatives on drug trafficking, terrorism, cybercrime, and the prevention/combating of elder care abuse. [7] Chuck Rosenberg previously served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.


  • As of May 7, 2007, a vacancy exists in the Eastern District of Virginia due to Judge Robert E. Payne's decision to assume senior status. No replacement nomination is pending at this time.
  • Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 3,[8] the district is grouped into four divisions, which include the following active and senior judges:


District Judge Leonie Brinkema
District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee
District Judge Liam O'Grady
District Judge Anthony J. Trenga
Senior District Judge James C. Cacheris
Senior District Judge T.S. Ellis, III
Senior District Judge Claude M. Hilton
Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson
Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan
Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones, Jr.
Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis

Newport News

Newport News


District Judge Mark Davis
District Judge Jerome B. Friedman
District Judge Raymond A. Jackson
District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith
Senior District Judge Robert G. Doumar
Senior District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr.
Magistrate Judge James E. Bradberry
Magistrate Judge Tommy E. Miller
Magistrate Judge William T. Prince
Magistrate Judge F. Bradford Stillman


Chief District Judge James R. Spencer
District Judge Henry E. Hudson
Senior District Judge Robert E. Payne
Senior District Judge Richard Leroy Williams
Magistrate Judge Dennis Dohnal
Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck

Notable cases

The Eastern District of Virginia has handled many notable cases, including:


External links


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