United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
(S.D. W. Va.)
More locations
Appeals toFourth Circuit
EstablishedJanuary 22, 1901
Chief JudgeThomas E. Johnston
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyWilliam S. Thompson
U.S. MarshalMichael Baylous

The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (in case citations, S.D. W. Va.) is a federal court in 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 District was established on June 22, 1901.[1]

As of October 13, 2021, the United States attorney for the District is William S. Thompson.[2]

Organization of the court

The Southern District spans the counties colored blue on this map.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia is one of two federal judicial districts in West Virginia.[3] Court for the Southern District is held at Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, and Huntington.

Beckley Division comprises the following counties: Greenbrier, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming.

Bluefield Division comprises the following counties: Mercer, McDowell, and Monroe.

Charleston Division comprises the following counties: Boone, Clay, Fayette, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Nicholas, Roane, Wirt, and Wood.

Huntington Division comprises the following counties: Cabell, Mason, Putnam, and Wayne.

Current judges

As of October 17, 2019:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
17 Chief Judge Thomas E. Johnston Charleston 1967 2006–present 2017–present G.W. Bush
15 District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin Charleston 1942 1995–present 2007–2012 Clinton
16 District Judge Robert Charles Chambers Huntington 1952 1997–present 2012–2017 Clinton
18 District Judge Irene Berger Charleston 1954 2009–present Obama
19 District Judge Frank W. Volk Beckley 1965 2019–present Trump
10 Senior Judge John Thomas Copenhaver Jr. Charleston 1925 1976–2018 2018–present Ford
14 Senior Judge David A. Faber Bluefield 1942 1991–2008 2002–2007 2008–present G.H.W. Bush

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Benjamin Franklin Keller WV 1857–1921 1901–1921 McKinley death
2 George Warwick McClintic WV 1866–1942 1921–1941 1941–1942 Harding death
3 Harry Evans Watkins WV 1898–1963 1937–1963[Note 1] F. Roosevelt death
4 Ben Moore WV 1891–1958 1941–1958 1948–1958 F. Roosevelt death
5 John A. Field Jr. WV 1910–1995 1959–1971 1959–1971 Eisenhower elevation to 4th Cir.
6 Sidney Lee Christie WV 1903–1974 1964–1974[Note 1] 1971–1973 L. Johnson death
7 Dennis Raymond Knapp WV 1912–1998 1970–1983 1973–1982 1983–1998 Nixon death
8 Kenneth Keller Hall WV 1918–1999 1971–1976 Nixon elevation to 4th Cir.
9 Charles Harold Haden II WV 1937–2004 1975–2004[Note 2] 1982–2002 Ford death
11 Robert Jackson Staker WV 1925–2008 1979–1994 1994–2005 Carter retirement
12 William Matthew Kidd WV 1918–1998 1979–1983 Carter reassignment to N.D. W. Va.
13 Elizabeth Virginia Hallanan WV 1925–2004 1983–1996 1996–2004 Reagan death
  1. ^ a b Jointly appointed to the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia
  2. ^ From 1975 to 1983, Judge Haden was jointly appointed to the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia.

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

See also


  1. ^ https://www.fjc.gov/history/courts/u.s.-district-courts-districts-west-virginia-legislative-history U.S. District Courts of West Virginia, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center
  2. ^ "William S. Thompson Sworn In as United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia". www.justice.gov. 2021-10-13. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
  3. ^ 28 U.S.C. § 129

38°21′9.1″N 81°38′20.1″W / 38.352528°N 81.638917°W / 38.352528; -81.638917