United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
(S.D. Ill.)
Map indicating the changing Districts of Illinois
LocationMelvin Price Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
More locations
Appeals toSeventh Circuit
EstablishedFebruary 13, 1855
Chief JudgeNancy J. Rosenstengel
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyRachelle Crowe
U.S. MarshalDavid C. Davis

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (in case citations, S.D. Ill.) is a federal district court covering approximately the southern third of the state of Illinois.

Appeals from the Southern District of Illinois are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

It has three courthouses, at Benton, Cairo, and East St. Louis. At present, four judges are assigned to this district.


The Benton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is located a block from the town square and approximately 300 miles south of Chicago. Constructed in 1959, the two-story building houses U.S. District and Bankruptcy courts. The Benton Courthouse was constructed in 1959 from steel and block with brick veneer and clip-on aluminum panels.

The United States District Court for the District of Illinois was established by a statute passed by the United States Congress on March 3, 1819, 3 Stat. 502.[1][2] The act established a single office for a judge to preside over the court. Initially, the court was not within any existing judicial circuit, so the district court exercised the jurisdiction of both a district court and a circuit court, with appeals and writs of error taken directly to the United States Supreme Court. In 1837, Congress placed the District of Illinois within the newly created Seventh Circuit, and the district court resumed its normal jurisdiction, 5 Stat. 176.[2]

The Southern District itself was created by a statute passed on February 13, 1855, 10 Stat. 606, which subdivided the District of Illinois into the Northern and the Southern Districts.[2] The boundaries of the District and the seats of the courts were set forth in the statute:

The counties of Hancock, McDonough, Peoria, Woodford, Livingston, and Iroquois, and all the counties in the said State north of them, shall compose one district, to be called the northern district of Illinois, and courts shall be held for the said district at the city of Chicago; and the residue of the counties of the said State shall compose another district, to be called the southern district of Illinois, and courts shall be held for the same at the city of Springfield.

The district has since been re-organized several times. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois was created on March 3, 1905 by 33 Stat. 992,[2] by splitting counties out of the Northern and Southern Districts. It was later eliminated in a reorganization on October 2, 1978 which replaced it with a Central District, 92 Stat. 883,[2] formed primarily from parts of the Southern District, and returning some counties to the Northern District.


The jurisdiction of the Southern District of Illinois comprises the following counties: Alexander, Bond, Calhoun, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Cumberland, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, St. Clair, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White, and Williamson. The district was created in 1979. It has jurisdiction over the eastern suburbs of St. Louis and the city of Carbondale.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is Rachelle Crowe, who was sworn in on June 21, 2022.[3]

Current judges

As of September 23, 2020:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
21 Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel East St. Louis 1968 2014–present 2019–present Obama
22 District Judge Staci M. Yandle Benton 1961 2014–present Obama
23 District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn East St. Louis 1962 2020–present Trump
24 District Judge David W. Dugan East St. Louis 1960 2020–present Trump
16 Senior Judge John Phil Gilbert Benton 1949 1992–2014 1993–2000 2014–present G.H.W. Bush

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Samuel Hubbel Treat Jr. IL 1811–1887 1855–1887 Pierce death
2 William J. Allen IL 1829–1901 1887–1901[Note 1] Cleveland death
3 J. Otis Humphrey IL 1850–1918 1901–1918 McKinley death
4 Louis FitzHenry IL 1870–1935 1918–1933 Wilson elevation to 7th Cir.
5 Charles Guy Briggle IL 1883–1972 1932–1958 1948–1958 1958–1972 Hoover death
6 James Earl Major IL 1887–1972 1933–1937[Note 2] F. Roosevelt elevation to 7th Cir.
7 J. Leroy Adair IL 1887–1956 1937–1956 F. Roosevelt death
8 Frederick Olen Mercer IL 1901–1966 1956–1966 1958–1966 Eisenhower death
William George Juergens IL 1904–1988 1979–1988[Note 3] Eisenhower/Operation of law death
9 Omer Poos IL 1902–1976 1958–1973 1966–1972 1973–1976 Eisenhower death
10 Robert Dale Morgan IL 1912–2002 1967–1979 1972–1979 L. Johnson reassignment to C.D. Ill.
11 James L. Foreman IL 1927–2012 1979–1992[Note 3] 1979–1992 1992–2012 Nixon/Operation of law death
12 Harlington Wood Jr. IL 1920–2008 1973–1976 Nixon elevation to 7th Cir.
13 James Waldo Ackerman IL 1926–1984 1976–1979 Ford reassignment to C.D. Ill.
14 William Louis Beatty IL 1925–2001 1979–1992 1992–2001 Carter death
15 William Donald Stiehl IL 1925–2016 1986–1996 1992–1993 1996–2016 Reagan death
17 Paul E. Riley IL 1942–2001 1994–2001 Clinton death
18 G. Patrick Murphy IL 1948–present 1998–2013 2000–2007 Clinton retirement
19 David R. Herndon IL 1953–present 1998–2019 2007–2014 Clinton retirement
20 Michael Joseph Reagan IL 1954–present 2000–2019 2014–2019 Clinton retirement
  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 20, 1887, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 19, 1888, and received commission the same day.
  2. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 8, 1934, confirmed by the Senate on January 23, 1934, and received commission on January 26, 1934.
  3. ^ a b Reassigned from the Eastern District of Illinois.

Chief judges

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

United States Attorneys for the Southern District of Illinois

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The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois is the federal prosecuting office for cases arising in 38 counties in Southern Illinois. The Office is headquartered in Fairview Heights and also has branch offices in Benton and East St. Louis.

(*) Presidential appointment

See also


  1. ^ Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 393.
  2. ^ a b c d e U.S. District Courts of Illinois, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  3. ^ "Meet the U.S. Attorney - Rachelle Aud Crowe". United States Department of Justice. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 2023-01-06.

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