The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has a rich history that dates back to 1855 when Congress created the court. Since then, the court has undergone significant changes and growth to meet the needs of the community it serves.
Early Days of the Northern District Court
The Northern District Court began its operations in Chicago’s city hall, with the first judge appointed being Thomas Drummond. The court initially had jurisdiction over the state, but this changed in 1901 when the state was divided into three judicial districts.
It was not until 1905 that the federal government created the Court for the Eastern District of Illinois.
The Creation of the Northern District of Illinois
The Northern District of Illinois was created in 1901 and included 18 counties in Northern Illinois. This division was made to ease the growing caseload of the Northern District Court and to ensure the efficient administration of justice.
Organization of the Northern District Court
The Northern District Court is organized into several key positions, including District Court Judges, Chief Judge, and Magistrate Judges. Each of these positions plays a crucial role in the administration of justice in the Northern District of Illinois.
District Court Judges
The Northern District Court has 13 active District Court Judges serving lifetime appointments. These judges are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.
District Court Judges preside over civil and criminal court cases and are responsible for issuing rulings and sentencing.
Eastern and Western Divisions
The Northern District Court is divided into Eastern and Western Divisions, with several judges assigned to each division. The Eastern Division covers Cook, Lake, and DuPage counties, while the Western Division covers the remaining 15 counties in Northern Illinois.
Currently, there are two pending nominations for the Northern District Court judgeship. Once confirmed, each judge will fill the two vacancies on the court and ensure the efficient administration of justice.
The Chief Judge is responsible for overseeing the administration of the court, managing the court’s caseload, and ensuring that court rules and procedures are followed. The United States District Court Chief Judge serves for seven years and is appointed by the President of the United States.
Active Service and Previously Served Chief Judges
The current Northern District Court Chief Judge is Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, who has been in active service since 1998. Previous Chief Judges include Judge Ruben Castillo and Judge James B. Moran.
The Northern District Court also has Magistrates appointed by the District Court Judges. These judges serve eight-year terms and are responsible for conducting trials and issuing rulings in civil cases.
Magistrates in the Northern District Court
The Magistrates in the Northern District Court are:
- Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole
- Magistrate Judge Jeffrey I. Cummings
- Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes
- Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox
- Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan
- Magistrate Judge Sunil R. Harjani
These judges ensure that civil court cases are handled efficiently and fairly.
Jurisdiction of the Northern District Court
The Northern District Court has jurisdiction over criminal and civil court cases in the Northern District of Illinois.
The Northern District Court has jurisdiction over all federal criminal court cases filed in the Northern District of Illinois. It includes cases involving drug offenses, white-collar crimes, and other federal crimes.
District Court Judges and Magistrates preside over criminal court cases in the Northern District Court.
Sentencing and Appeals
District Court Judges in the Northern District Court are responsible for sentencing individuals convicted of federal crimes. Appeals of these sentences can be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The Northern District Court also has jurisdiction over civil court cases filed in the Northern District of Illinois. It includes cases involving breach of contract, employment discrimination, and other civil disputes.
District Court Judges and Magistrate Judges preside civil court cases in the Northern District Court.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
The Rules of Civil Procedure govern civil court cases in the Northern District Court. These rules govern everything from filing a case to the conduct of discovery to the trial.
Attorneys in the Northern District Court must be familiar with these rules to ensure their cases are handled efficiently and fairly.
Types of Cases Heard in the Northern District Court
The Northern District Court hears various cases from both civil and criminal spheres. The court is responsible for ensuring that cases brought before it are resolved fairly and justly.
The Northern District Court hears various civil court cases, including disputes between individuals, businesses, and government agencies. These cases can range from employment disputes to personal injury claims and breach of contract cases.
The court also hears cases involving intellectual property, such as patent disputes and copyright infringement.
Some cases that may be heard in the Northern District Court include:
- Employment disputes: Cases involving discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination
- Personal injury claims: Cases involving injuries caused by accidents or negligence
- Breach of contract cases: Cases involving a breach of contract between two parties
- Intellectual property disputes: Cases involving patent, trademark, or copyright infringement
The Northern District Court also hears criminal court cases involving offenses against the law. These cases may involve serious crimes such as drug trafficking, fraud, and violent crimes, as well as lesser offenses such as traffic violations.
Here are some examples of criminal court cases that may be heard in the Northern District Court:
- Drug trafficking cases involving the sale or distribution of illegal drugs
- Fraud cases involving financial fraud or embezzlement
- Violent crime cases involving assault, murder, or other violent offenses
- White-collar crime cases involving non-violent crimes such as securities fraud or insider trading
Appeals From the Northern District Court
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over cases from the Northern District Court of Illinois. The Seventh Circuit Court is located in Chicago, Illinois, and hears appeals from federal courts in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
The court has 11 active judges and additional senior judges who are called upon as needed. The Seventh Circuit Court is the second-highest in the country, after the Supreme Court.
Filing and Argument of Appeals
When a party files an appeal, they must file a notice of appeal with the district court within 30 days of the entry of judgment. Once the notice of appeal is filed, the district court clerk will transmit the necessary documents to the Seventh Circuit Court.
The party filing the appeal will be required to file a brief outlining the issues raised in the appeal and the legal arguments supporting those issues. The opposing party may then file a responsive brief, and the party who filed the initial brief may file a reply brief.
After the briefs have been filed, the Seventh Circuit Court may schedule oral arguments. During oral arguments, the parties can present their arguments to a panel of judges who will ask questions and seek clarification on specific points.
After oral argument, the Seventh Circuit Court will issue a ruling. If the party who filed the appeal is unhappy with the ruling, they may seek further review from the United States Supreme Court.
However, the Supreme Court is not required to hear every case and only takes a small percentage each year.
Practicing In the Northern District Court
Attorneys play a vital role in the Northern District Court. They represent their clients in both criminal and civil court cases. To practice in this court, an attorney must be licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois and must be a member of the bar of the Northern District Court.
Attorneys are subject to the Local Rules of the court and must adhere to ethical standards set by the court and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Court Rules and Procedures
The Court for the Northern District of Illinois has local rules and procedures that attorneys and litigants must follow. These rules cover a wide range of issues, including the filing of documents, the conduct of proceedings, and the presentation of evidence.
Attorneys practicing law in the Northern District Court must know these rules and procedures to handle their cases correctly.
Roszkowski United States Courthouse
The Roszkowski US Courthouse is the main courthouse for the Northern District Court. It is located in downtown Chicago and houses district and magistrate judges.
The courthouse is named after U.S. District Judge Stanley J. Roszkowski, who served on the Northern District Court for over 30 years. The courthouse is open to the public, and anyone can attend court proceedings unless they are specifically closed to the public by the court.
The courthouse is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to facilitate remote hearings and trials.
Future of the Northern District Court
The Northern District Court of Illinois is an important institution that has served the citizens of Chicago and the surrounding areas for many years. As with any institution, the court must adapt and change to meet the needs of the communities it serves.
The Northern District in Congress
The Northern District Court is subject to the laws and regulations passed by Congress. In recent years, Congress has taken an interest in reforming the criminal justice system, and the Northern District Court has played a crucial role in these efforts.
One example of this reform is the First Step Act, which was passed in 2018 with bipartisan support. This law significantly changed federal sentencing laws, reducing mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses.
The Northern District Court has played an essential role in implementing these changes and will continue to do so as Congress considers further reforms.
Changes and Updates to Court Procedures
As technology advances and the needs of the community change, the Northern District Court must also adapt its procedures to meet these new challenges.
One example is the Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system, which allows attorneys to file and access court documents electronically. This system has dramatically streamlined the court’s operations and has made it easier for attorneys to access the court’s records.
Another example of changes to court procedures is the increased use of videoconferencing for court appearances. It has become especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the court to continue its operations while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Represent Clients in Federal Civil Court
Our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, represent clients in federal civil court. If you or a loved one were harmed by others, we help hold them financially accountable.
We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay unless we win. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 to discuss your case.