44°28′51″N 73°12′51″W / 44.480727°N 73.214117°W / 44.480727; -73.214117

United States District Court for the District of Vermont
(D. Vt.)
More locations
Appeals toSecond Circuit
EstablishedMarch 2, 1791
Chief JudgeGeoffrey W. Crawford
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyNikolas P. Kerest
U.S. MarshalBradley Jay LaRose

The United States District Court for the District of Vermont (in case citations, D. Vt.) is the federal district court whose jurisdiction is the federal district of Vermont. The court has locations in Brattleboro, Burlington, and Rutland. The court was created by a March 2, 1791 amendment (1 Stat. 197) to the Judiciary Act of 1789 and assigned to the eastern circuit. Under the Midnight Judges Act, the Circuits were reorganized and this court was assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit where it has remained since. Originally created with one judgeship, in 1966 a second judgeship was added.

Appeals from the District of Vermont are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second 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 Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. As of December 10, 2021 the United States attorney is Nikolas P. Kerest.[1]

Current judges

As of December 21, 2017:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
20 Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford Rutland 1954 2014–present 2017–present Obama
19 District Judge Christina Reiss Burlington 1962 2009–present 2010–2017 Obama
17 Senior Judge John Garvan Murtha inactive 1941 1995–2009 1995–2002 2009–present Clinton
18 Senior Judge William K. Sessions III Burlington 1947 1995–2014 2002–2010 2014–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Prior judge's duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
2 Rutland Geoffrey W. Crawford Senior status August 9, 2024[2] Mary Kay Lanthier June 4, 2024

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Nathaniel Chipman VT 1752–1843 1791–1793 Washington resignation
2 Samuel Hitchcock VT 1755–1813 1793–1801[Note 1] Washington elevation to 2d Cir.
3 Elijah Paine VT 1757–1842 1801–1842 J. Adams resignation
4 Samuel Prentiss VT 1782–1857 1842–1857 Tyler death
5 David Allen Smalley VT 1809–1877 1857–1877 Pierce death
6 Hoyt Henry Wheeler VT 1833–1906 1877–1906 Hayes retirement
7 James Loren Martin VT 1846–1915 1906–1915[Note 2] T. Roosevelt death
8 Harland Bradley Howe VT 1873–1946 1915–1940 1940–1945 Wilson retirement
9 James Patrick Leamy VT 1892–1949 1940–1949 F. Roosevelt death
10 Ernest W. Gibson Jr. VT 1901–1969 1949–1969 1966–1969 Truman death
11 Bernard Joseph Leddy VT 1910–1972 1966–1972 1969–1972 L. Johnson death
12 James L. Oakes VT 1924–2007 1970–1971 Nixon elevation to 2d Cir.
13 James Stuart Holden VT 1914–1996 1971–1984 1972–1983 1984–1996 Nixon death
14 Albert Wheeler Coffrin VT 1919–1993 1972–1989 1983–1988 1989–1993 Nixon death
15 Franklin S. Billings Jr. VT 1922–2014 1984–1994 1988–1991 1994–2014 Reagan death
16 Fred I. Parker VT 1938–2003 1990–1994 1991–1994 G.H.W. Bush elevation to 2d Cir.
  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 27, 1793, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 30, 1793, and received commission on January 28, 1794
  2. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 3, 1906, confirmed by the Senate on December 11, 1906, and received commission the same day

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Gibson 1966–1969
Leddy 1969–1972
Holden 1972–1983
Coffrin 1983–1988
Billings 1988–1991
Parker 1991–1994
Murtha 1995–2002
Sessions 2002–2010
Reiss 2010–2017
Crawford 2017–present

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge.

A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years, or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire, on what has since 1958 been known as senior status, or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats

U.S. attorneys

U.S. attorneys for Vermont since it attained statehood in 1791 include:[3][4]

U.S. Attorney Term started Term ended Presidents served under
Stephen Jacob 1791 1794 George Washington
Amos Marsh 1794 1796 George Washington
Charles Marsh 1797 1801 John Adams
David Fay 1801 1809 Thomas Jefferson
Cornelius P. Van Ness 1810 1813 James Madison
Titus Hutchinson 1813 1821 James Madison, James Monroe
William A. Griswold 1821 1829 James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams
Daniel Kellogg 1829 1841 Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and William Henry Harrison
Charles Davis 1841 1845 John Tyler
Charles Linsley 1845 1849 James K. Polk
Abel Underwood 1849 1853 Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore
Lucius B. Peck 1853 1857 Franklin Pierce
Henry E. Stoughton 1857 1860 James Buchanan
George Howe 1861 1864 Abraham Lincoln
Dudley C. Denison 1864 1869 Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson
Benjamin F. Fifield 1869 1880 Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes
Kittredge Haskins 1880 1887 Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, and Grover Cleveland
Clarence H. Pitkin 1887 1889 Grover Cleveland
Frank Plumley 1889 1894 Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland
John H. Senter 1894 1898 Grover Cleveland and William McKinley
James L. Martin 1898 1906 William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt
Alexander Dunnett 1906 1915 Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson
Vernon A. Bullard 1915 1923 Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding
Harry B. Amey 1923 1933 Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover
Joseph A. McNamara 1933 1953 Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman
Louis G. Whitcomb 1953 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Joseph F. Radigan 1961 1969 John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
George Cook 1969 1977 Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford
William B. Gray 1977 1981 Jimmy Carter
Jerome O'Neill 1981 1981 Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan
George Cook 1981 1987 Ronald Reagan
George J. Terwilliger III 1987 1991 Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush
Charles Caruso 1991 1993 George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton
Charles Tetzlaff 1993 2001 Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
Peter Hall 2001 2004 George W. Bush
David Kirby 2005 2006 George W. Bush
Tom Anderson 2006 2009 George W. Bush
Tristram J. Coffin 2009 2015 Barack Obama
Eric Miller 2015 2017 Barack Obama and Donald Trump
Christina Nolan 2017 2021 Donald Trump
Nikolas P. Kerest
2021 present Joe Biden

U.S. marshals

Duties and responsibilities

The United States Marshal for the District of Vermont oversees all Marshals Service operations in Vermont.[5] The Vermont district maintains offices in Burlington and Rutland, enabling the Marshals Service to carry out its role with respect to public safety in Vermont.[5] The U.S. Marshal for Vermont is responsible for federal law enforcement activities within the state, including apprehending fugitives and sex offenders, managing transport of federal prisoners, and protecting federal courthouses.[5]


The offices of U.S. Marshal and Deputy Marshal were created by the 1st U.S. Congress when it passed the Judiciary Act of 1789.[6] Marshals were presidential appointees and their duties included supporting the federal courts within their districts and executing the orders of the president, Congress and federal judges.[6] Support of the courts included serving subpoenas, summonses, writs, and warrants, making arrests, and handling prisoners.[6] Marshals were also responsible for the finances and administration of the courts, including paying fees, expenses, and salaries for court clerks, U.S. Attorneys, jurors, and witnesses.[6] Marshals serve at the pleasure of the president, and when the positions were created, Congress created a time limit on Marshals' service.[7] Marshals are limited to four-year, renewable terms that expire unless they are reappointed.[7]

In the country's early years, Marshals rented courtroom and jail space, and hired and supervised bailiffs, criers, and janitors.[6] They also handled the day-to-day activities of court proceedings, including ensuring that defendants were present, jurors were available, and witnesses appeared as required.[6] Marshals were also called upon to carry out federal death sentences and investigate counterfeiting.[8] Because they were paid on a fee system, the positions were lucrative and highly sought after.[8]

Marshals also filled a gap in the federal government as it was originally designed, executing numerous tasks because no other agency was available to do them.[6] These duties included taking the national census every 10 years until 1870, distributing Presidential proclamations, collecting statistical data for use by federal agencies, and supplying data on federal employees for including in a national register, deporting foreigners who entered the country illegally, and capturing fugitive slaves.[6]

Over time, the duties of Marshals grew to include activities such as enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment, the prohibition of the sale and transport of alcoholic beverages.[8] In the modern era, the duties and responsibilities of U.S. Marshals include witness protection and apprehension of federal fugitives.[8]

U.S. marshals and dates of appointment

Vermont's U.S. marshals have included:[9][10]

See also


  1. ^ "Nikolas P. Kerest sworn in as U.S. Attorney" (Press release). U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont. December 10, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  2. ^ "Future Judicial Vacancies | United States Courts". www.uscourts.gov.
  3. ^ Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "The Political Graveyard: U.S. District Attorneys in Vermont". politicalgraveyard.com.
  4. ^ Davis, Mark (2017-06-07). "Will Vermont's Federal Prosecutors Get Tougher on Drug Crimes?". sevendaysvt.com.
  5. ^ a b c "U.S. Senate confirms Vermont's next U.S. Marshal". VT Digger. Montpelier, VT. January 3, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "George Washington Appoints First Marshals - 1789". U.S. Marshals: History. United States Marshals Service. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  7. ^ a b "History - Broad Range of Authority". US Marshals.gov. Washington, DC: U.S. Marshals Service. 15 June 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "Historical Timeline". US Marshals.gov. Washington, DC: U.S. Marshals Service. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  9. ^ "District of Vermont History; List of Marshals". USmarshals.gov. United States Marshals Service. 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  10. ^ "Senate confirms former Essex Police Chief Brad LaRose as Vermont's US Marshal". Vermont Business Magazine. South Burlington, VT. January 3, 2019.