United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

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United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Seal of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Appeals to Fourth Circuit
Established June 4, 1872
Judges assigned 4
Chief judge James C. Dever III
Official site

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (in case citations, E.D.N.C.) is the United States District Court that serves the eastern 44 counties in North Carolina. Appeals from the Eastern District of North Carolina are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

Jurisdiction and offices

The District has three staffed offices and holds court in six cities: Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington. Its main office is in Raleigh. It is broken down into four divisions. The eastern division is headquartered in Greenville and handles cases from Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Pamlico, and Pitt counties.

The southern division is based in Wilmington and serves the counties of: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, and Sampson. Its cases are heard in Wilmington.

The northern and western divisions are based in Raleigh. The western covers: Cumberland, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Nash, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne, and Wilson counties. Its cases are heard in Fayetteville, Greenville, and New Bern. The northern division presides over cases from: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties. Its cases are heard in Elizabeth City.


The United States District Court for the District of North Carolina was established on June 4, 1790, by 1 Stat. 126.[1][2] On June 9, 1794 it was subdivided into three districts by 1 Stat. 395,[2] but on March 3, 1797, the three districts were abolished and the single District restored by 1 Stat. 517,[2] until April 29, 1802, when the state was again subdivided into three different districts by 2 Stat. 156.[1][2]

In both instances, these districts, unlike those with geographic designations that existed in other states, were titled by the names of the cities in which the courts sat. After the first division, they were styled the District of Edenton, the District of New Bern, and the District of Wilmington; after the second division, they were styled the District of Albemarle, the District of Cape Fear, and the District of Pamptico. However, in both instances, only one judge was authorized to serve all three districts, causing them to effectively operate as a single district.[2] The latter combination was occasionally referred to by the cumbersome title of the United States District Court for the Albemarle, Cape Fear & Pamptico Districts of North Carolina.

On June 4, 1872, North Carolina was re-divided into two Districts, Eastern and Western, by 17 Stat. 215.[2] The presiding judge of the District of North Carolina, George Washington Brooks, was then reassigned to preside over only the Eastern District. The Middle District was created from portions of the Eastern and Western Districts on March 2, 1927, by 44 Stat. 1339.[2]

Current judges

  • A vacancy exists in the Eastern District of North Carolina due to Judge Malcolm J. Howard's decision to assume senior status on December 31, 2005. There is currently no nominee to fill this vacancy.
# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
15 Chief Judge James C. Dever III Raleigh 1962 2005–present 2011–present G.W. Bush
12 District Judge Terrence Boyle Elizabeth City 1945 1984–present 1997–2004 Reagan
14 District Judge Louise W. Flanagan New Bern 1962 2003–present 2004–2011 G.W. Bush
16 District Judge vacant
10 Senior District Judge William Earl Britt Raleigh 1932 1980–1997 1983–1990 1997–present Carter
11 Senior District Judge James Carroll Fox Wilmington 1928 1982–2001 1990–1997 2001–present Reagan
13 Senior District Judge Malcolm Jones Howard Greenville 1939 1988–2005 2005–present Reagan

Former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Brooks, George WashingtonGeorge Washington Brooks NC 1821–1882 1865–1882[3][4] Johnson, A.A. Johnson death
2 Seymour, Augustus SherrillAugustus Sherrill Seymour NC 1836–1897 1882–1897 Arthur, Arthur death
3 Purnell, Thomas RichardThomas Richard Purnell NC 1847–1908 1897–1908 McKinley, McKinley death
4 Connor, Henry G.Henry G. Connor NC 1852–1924 1908–1924 Taft, Taft death
5 Meekins, Isaac MelsonIsaac Melson Meekins NC 1875–1946 1925–1945 1945–1946 Coolidge, Coolidge death
6 Gilliam, DonnellDonnell Gilliam NC 1889–1960 1945–1959 1959–1960 Truman, Truman death
7 Butler, Algernon LeeAlgernon Lee Butler NC 1905–1978 1959–1975 1961–1975 1975–1978 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
8 Larkins, Jr., John DavisJohn Davis Larkins, Jr. NC 1909–1990 1961–1979 1975–1979 1979–1990 Kennedy, Kennedy death
9 Dupree Jr., Franklin TaylorFranklin Taylor Dupree Jr. NC 1913–1995 1970–1983 1979–1983 1983–1995 Nixon, Nixon death

Succession of seats

U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern District

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 389.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 U.S. District Courts of North Carolina, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  3. Recess appointment; Johnson appointed him on August 19, 1865. He was confirmed by the Senate on January 22, 1866, and received commission on January 22, 1866.
  4. Seat reassigned from the Districts of North Carolina on June 4, 1872.

External links