J. Frederick Motz, Chief Judge


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.

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.

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. The judge with seniority who also is under 65 years old is designated Chief Judge. Presently, sixteen judges sit on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The Chief Judge and nine judges serve full-time. Five senior judges still hear cases but no longer assume full-time duties.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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