Southern District of Florida
Overview and history
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida is one of the 94 federal judicial districts in the United States. It was established on March 3, 1821 and covers the southern part of the state of Florida. The Southern District of Florida encompasses a population of over 6 million people and covers 9 counties along the southeastern tip of Florida. Some of the major cities located in the Southern District include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and the Florida Keys.
The Southern District of Florida covers the following counties: Broward, Dade, Highlands, Indian River, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie.
Major cities and population
Some of the major cities located within the district’s jurisdiction include Miami (population 470,914), Fort Lauderdale (182,595), West Palm Beach (110,403) and the Florida Keys. The total population for the Southern District is over 6 million residents.
Courthouses and facilities
Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse (Miami)
Address and contact information
The Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse is located in Miami at:
400 North Miami Avenue, 6th Floor
Miami, FL 33128-7715
Phone: (786) 988-6655
This is the main courthouse for the Southern District and houses courtrooms, judges’ chambers, the Clerk’s office, and other facilities.
Services and departments
The Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse provides services and space for the U.S. District Court, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Probation, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and other federal agencies. Courtrooms, mediation rooms, naturalization facilities, and office space accommodate these occupants.
The U.S. Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale is located at 299 E Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. It provides courtrooms and office space for the district.
The Fort Pierce courthouse is located at 101 South US Highway 1, Fort Pierce, FL 34950. It serves the northern counties of the district.
The Key West courthouse is located at 301 Simonton Street, Key West, FL 33040. It is the southernmost courthouse in the continental United States.
West Palm Beach
The courthouse in West Palm Beach is located at 701 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. It serves Palm Beach County.
Judicial officers and staff
The U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Florida is Gadyaces S. Serralta. The Marshal is responsible for federal law enforcement duties and protecting the federal judiciary.
The U.S. Attorney represents the United States government in civil and criminal cases in the district. The current U.S. Attorney is Juan Antonio Gonzalez.
There are 18 federal district judges who preside over trials and hearings in the Southern District of Florida. They are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
There are 5 federal magistrate judges in the district who handle preliminary criminal matters, prisoner cases, and some civil trials.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has 7 bankruptcy judges who preside over bankruptcy cases under federal law.
Probation officers and pretrial services
The U.S. Probation Office in the Southern District has over 140 officers who conduct presentence investigations, supervise persons on probation/supervised release, and provide pretrial services.
Caseloads and noteworthy cases
In 2021, over 18,000 civil cases were filed in the Southern District of Florida. These involved federal matters including civil rights, intellectual property, labor, banking, and more. High-profile civil cases are often tried in the district.
Over 5,000 criminal cases were filed in the Southern District in 2021. Drug offenses, immigration violations, white collar crime, and other federal crimes comprise the criminal docket.
With 7 bankruptcy judges, this district handles over 26,000 bankruptcy cases each year. Consumer liquidations and business reorganizations make up the bankruptcy caseload.
Some famous cases tried in the Southern District of Florida include the drug trial of Panama’s Manuel Noriega, the Elián González custody battle, and the Medicare fraud case against Columbia/HCA Healthcare.
In summary, the Southern District of Florida is a federal judicial district established in 1821 that covers 9 counties in southeast Florida. With courthouses in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Key West, it serves over 6 million residents. The district has 18 district judges, 5 magistrate judges, and over 250 staff who handle thousands of federal civil, criminal, and bankruptcy cases each year.
Importance of the Southern District of Florida
As home to Miami and other major cities, the Southern District of Florida plays a vital role in the federal judicial system. Its rulings affect millions of residents and businesses in southeast Florida. The Southern District has shaped the law nationally through its handling of important civil rights, commercial, immigration, and other high-profile federal cases. It will continue to administer justice in this influential region of the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many federal judges serve in the Southern District of Florida?
A: There are currently 18 district judges, 5 magistrate judges, and 7 bankruptcy judges in the Southern District of Florida.
Q: What is the population of the Southern District of Florida?
A: The district covers over 6 million residents across its 9 counties in southeast Florida.
Q: Where are the courthouses located in the Southern District of Florida?
A: The main courthouse is in Miami, with additional courthouses located in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce, and Key West.
Q: What types of cases are handled in the Southern District of Florida?
A: The district handles federal civil, criminal, and bankruptcy cases involving issues from the 9 counties in its jurisdiction.
Q: When was the Southern District of Florida established?
A: The Southern District of Florida was established by Congress on March 3, 1821. It is one of the oldest federal judicial districts.