District of Arizona Federal Court
The District of Arizona is one of 94 federal judicial districts in the United States. It covers the entire state of Arizona. The District was established in 1863, shortly after Arizona became an official U.S. territory. The District is part of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
History and Establishment
The District of Arizona was established by a United States Congress act on February 24, 1863, while Arizona was still a territory. It became an official judicial district of the federal court system at that time. The District originally covered the entire Arizona and New Mexico territories. When New Mexico became a state in 1912, the District of New Mexico was established and carved out, reducing the District of Arizona to cover only Arizona.
The District of Arizona covers the entire state of Arizona geographically. This includes all 15 counties in the state. It has jurisdiction over any federal cases arising within the boundaries of Arizona.
Counties in the District
The counties fully within the District of Arizona’s jurisdiction include:
- La Paz
- Santa Cruz
Courthouses and Locations
The District of Arizona operates courthouses in four cities around the state. The main courthouse is in Phoenix.
Sandra Day O’Connor Courthouse in Phoenix
The Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix is the main federal courthouse in the district. It is located at:
Address: 401 West Washington Street, Suite 270, Phoenix, AZ 85003-2126 Phone: (602) 382-8768
Most of the district’s administrative offices are located in this courthouse. It also hosts proceedings for cases arising in Maricopa County.
Courthouses in Tucson, Flagstaff, and Yuma
Additional federal courthouses in the District of Arizona are located in Tucson, Flagstaff, and Yuma. These host proceedings for cases arising in the surrounding areas and counties near each city. Having courthouses spread geographically allows the District to hold trials and hearings closer to where cases originate.
Federal Court Organization
The District of Arizona is part of the federal court system under the U.S. Constitution. It has jurisdiction over federal cases arising in Arizona.
U.S. District Court Judges
The District currently has 13 full-time District Court judges who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They oversee both civil and criminal federal cases in the District. Trials and proceedings are often held before U.S. Magistrate judges as well.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
The U.S. Attorney’s Office handles federal criminal prosecutions within the District of Arizona. The U.S. Attorney is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Their office prosecutes a wide range of federal crimes.
U.S. Marshal’s Office
The U.S. Marshal oversees court security and law enforcement related functions for the District. They transport federal prisoners and operate the Witness Security Program, among other duties. The U.S. Marshal is a presidential appointee as well. That position is currently vacant.
Caseloads and Types of Cases
The District of Arizona sees a heavy and varied caseload each year. Like all federal courts, it handles both civil and criminal cases within its jurisdiction.
The civil caseload includes lawsuits between citizens from different states, civil rights cases, intellectual property disputes, and claims against the federal government. Prisoner petitions make up a large portion of civil cases as well.
On the criminal side, the District prosecutes crimes that violate federal laws, from drug trafficking and financial fraud to public corruption and immigration offenses. Violent crime prosecutions are also conducted in high profile circumstances.
Notable Cases and Events
The District of Arizona has presided over many high profile proceedings during its long history. Several major cases have stood out.
High Profile Trials
Some notable criminal trials in the District include the prosecution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and the murder trial of Jared Loughner. Both were moved to Arizona from where the crimes were committed.
The District has made several noteworthy rulings on civil rights, voting rights, and immigration issues over the years that have drawn public attention and debate.
The District of Arizona has a long history and important role as part of the federal judicial system. It oversees a heavy caseload out of courthouses located throughout the state. The District’s rulings and cases have often been influential in shaping broader federal law and policy beyond Arizona. Its judges and offices continue to handle their duties to uphold justice and the Constitution. The District of Arizona will maintain its vital place in the legal landscape for years to come.
- How many federal judges are in the District of Arizona?
There are currently 13 full-time federal District Court judges in the District of Arizona.
- What types of cases are heard in the District of Arizona?
The court handles a full range of federal civil and criminal cases that arise within the state of Arizona. This includes lawsuits between citizens, federal prosecutions, and civil rights disputes.
- Where is the main federal courthouse located?
The Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse in downtown Phoenix serves as the main courthouse and administrative headquarters of the District.
- When was the District of Arizona established?
It was established in 1863 when Arizona was still a U.S. territory.
- What appellate court is the District of Arizona under?
The District is part of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals circuit. Appeals from the District go to the Ninth Circuit.