Southern District of Georgia
Overview of the Southern District of Georgia
The Southern District of Georgia is one of three federal judicial districts in the state of Georgia. It covers the southern portion of the state.
Location and Establishment
The Southern District of Georgia was established on August 11, 1848 by an act of Congress. The district is headquartered in Savannah, with divisional offices in several other cities.
U.S. Marshal and Courthouses
The U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Georgia is David L. Lyons. The main courthouse for the district is the U.S. Courthouse Annex located at 1124 Barnard Street in Savannah.
The Southern District of Georgia serves 48 counties in southern Georgia. These include:
Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Coffee, Columbia, Dodge, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Liberty, Lincoln, Long, McDuffie, McIntosh, Montgomery, Pierce, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Ware, Warren, Wayne, Wheeler, Wilkes
In addition to Savannah, court is held in several divisional cities including Augusta, Dublin, Waycross, Brunswick, and Statesboro.
History and Jurisdiction
The Southern District of Georgia has a long and notable history since its establishment in 1848. Its jurisdiction has expanded over time.
Establishment and Early History
The Southern District of Georgia was one of the original two districts, along with the Northern District, created when Georgia was divided into districts in 1848. At that time, the Southern District consisted of 22 counties in the southeastern part of the state. The first judge appointed was William Law.
Expansion of Jurisdiction
Over the years, the number of counties served by the Southern District grew through division and reorganization. It now covers the vast majority of southern Georgia from the Atlantic coast to the Alabama border. Population growth led to more cases and judges being added.
Notable Cases and Judges
The Southern District has handled many high-profile cases through the years, including early civil rights cases. Notable judges include B. Avant Edenfield, a distinguished jurist who served as chief district judge prior to his death in 2012.
Court Operations and Procedure
The Southern District of Georgia has standard practices and procedures for filing cases, selecting juries, and following local rules.
Judges and Staff
The court currently has four district judges and five magistrate judges. The clerk of court oversees court staff including deputies and administrative personnel across all divisional offices.
Civil and criminal cases are filed with the clerk of court in the proper divisional office. Electronic filing through CM/ECF is mandatory for attorneys. Pro se litigants may file in person or by mail.
Local Rules and Fees
The Southern District follows the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure along with its own Local Rules. Court fees apply according to the fee schedule.
Petit and Grand Juries
The court empanels petit juries for trials and grand juries to hear evidence and issue indictments. Jurors are randomly selected from voter rolls in each division. Grand juries sit for 18 month terms.
Court Resources and Information
The Southern District provides a wealth of resources for attorneys, jurors, media, and the public.
Contact info for the Clerk’s office and all divisional offices can be found on the court’s contact page.
Docket sheets and documents filed in cases can be viewed through the online PACER system.
The court website offers a variety of resources for attorneys including the local rules, CM/ECF procedures, and jury instructions.
In summary, the Southern District of Georgia has a long history of serving the southern part of the state. Its jurisdiction, operations, and resources have expanded and evolved to efficiently handle the federal judicial caseload in the region. The court provides accessibility and information to attorneys, media, and the public through its websites and divisional offices.
How many judges serve on the Southern District of Georgia?
The Southern District of Georgia currently has four district court judges and five magistrate judges.
What are the requirements for serving on a jury?
Jurors must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old, fluent in English, have no disqualifying criminal convictions, and be mentally and physically capable of serving.
How can I find records for cases filed in the court?
Case documents and docket sheets can be viewed online through the PACER system with a registered account.
Where are grand juries empaneled?
Grand juries sit in each of the district’s five divisional cities: Savannah, Augusta, Waycross, Brunswick, and Statesboro.
What district court hears appeals from the Southern District of Georgia?
Decisions from the Southern District of Georgia may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.