United States District Court for the Western District of New York
LocationRobert H. Jackson U.S. Courthouse
More locations
Appeals toSecond Circuit
EstablishedMay 12, 1900
Chief JudgeElizabeth A. Wolford
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyTrini E. Ross
U.S. MarshalCharles Salina

The United States District Court for the Western District of New York (in case citations, W.D.N.Y.) is the federal district court whose jurisdiction comprises the western parts of Upstate New York.

Appeals are taken to 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 Western District of New York includes the following counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates. Cities within its jurisdiction include Buffalo, Rochester, and Elmira. From 1904 to 1916, the court met at the United States Post Office (Lockport, New York).

The United States government is represented in the district by the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York. As of October 11, 2021 the U.S. attorney is Trini E. Ross.[1]

Current judges

As of April 1, 2023:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
16 Chief Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford Rochester 1966 2013–present 2021–present Obama
17 District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo Buffalo 1955 2015–present Obama
18 District Judge John Sinatra Buffalo 1972 2019–present Trump
19 District Judge vacant
11 Senior Judge David G. Larimer Rochester 1944 1987–2009 1996–2002 2009–present Reagan
12 Senior Judge Richard Arcara Buffalo 1940 1988–2015 2003–2010 2015–present Reagan
13 Senior Judge William M. Skretny Buffalo 1945 1990–2015 2010–2015 2015–present G.H.W. Bush
14 Senior Judge Charles J. Siragusa Rochester 1947 1997–2012 2012–present Clinton
15 Senior Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. Rochester 1951 2013–2023 2015–2021 2023–present Obama

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Prior judge's duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
4 Rochester Frank P. Geraci Jr. Senior status April 1, 2023[2] Meredith Vacca May 14, 2024

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 John R. Hazel NY 1860–1951 1900–1931 McKinley retirement
2 Simon L. Adler NY 1867–1934 1927–1934[Note 1] Coolidge death
3 John Knight NY 1871–1955 1931–1955[Note 2] 1948–1955 Hoover death
4 Harlan W. Rippey NY 1874–1946 1934–1936 F. Roosevelt resignation
5 Harold P. Burke NY 1895–1981 1937–1981 1955–1967 1981 F. Roosevelt death
6 Justin C. Morgan NY 1900–1959 1956–1959 Eisenhower death
7 John Oliver Henderson NY 1909–1974 1959–1974 1967–1974 Eisenhower death
8 John Thomas Curtin NY 1921–2017 1967–1989 1974–1989 1989–2017 L. Johnson death
9 John T. Elfvin NY 1917–2009 1974–1987 1987–2009 Ford death
10 Michael Anthony Telesca NY 1929–2020 1982–1996 1989–1995 1996–2020 Reagan death
  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 6, 1927, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 16, 1928, and received commission the same day.
  2. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 15, 1931, confirmed by the Senate on January 6, 1932, and received commission on January 9, 1932.

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Knight 1948–1955
Burke 1955–1967
Henderson 1967–1974
Curtin 1974–1989
Telesca 1989–1995
Larimer 1996–2002
Arcara 2003–2010
Skretny 2010–2015
Geraci 2015–2021
Wolford 2021–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

See also


  1. ^ "U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross". www.justice.gov. October 7, 2021. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  2. ^ Andreatta, David (February 22, 2023). "Opening on WNY federal bench coming soon". WXXI-TV.