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Magistrate Judges

A U.S. magistrate judge is a judicial officer of the district court and is appointed by majority vote of the active district judges of the court. A U.S. magistrate judge is typically selected based upon the recommendations of a merit selection panel composed of local attorneys and citizen representatives. A U.S. magistrate judge exercises jurisdiction over matters assigned by statute as well as those delegated by the district judges. A full-time magistrate judge serves a term of eight years. Duties assigned to magistrate judges by district court judges may vary considerably from court to court. The office is authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 631.

The current magistrate judge system was begun by Congress in 1968 expanding on the 175 year old United States commissioner system. In 2002, in addition to the 486 full-time magistrate judge positions authorized, there were 51 part-time judges and 3 combination clerk of court/magistrate judges who served four year terms.

Magistrate judges perform a wide range of duties in civil and criminal cases.  In civil cases, they will hear pre-trial motions, conduct settlement and pre-trial conferences, and may, on assignment, handle dispostive motions and, with the consent of the parties, may conduct a trial.  In criminal cases, they will handle most pre-trial matters, including the initial appearance of a defendant before a judge, arraignment on charges, including taking a plea of guilty or not guilty, and determining whether the defendant should be detained or released pending trial. Magistrate judges handle all  petty offense cases and most misdemeanor cases.  Magistrate judges also handle appeals from social security decisions and most petitions by prisoners for review of their convictions, and conditions of confinement.

Below are the Magistrate Judges from the Eastern District of Louisiana, listed in order of their appointment dates.

 

  Magistrate Judge Appointment Date Exit Date
1 Harry Lee January 21, 1971 July 31, 1975
2 Ingard O. Johannesen January 25, 1971 June 30, 1984
3 Morey L. Sear May 11, 1971 May 12, 1976
4 James D. Carriere September 5, 1975 September 14, 1980
5 Kenneth C. Hughes August 5, 1976 March 15, 1983
6 Veronica D. Wicker August 10, 1977 September 28, 1979
7 Marcel Livaudais, Jr. 1977 1984
8 Eileen Gleason Shaver February 13, 1981 August 1, 1983
9 Michaelle Pitard Wynne January 4, 1982 April 22, 1994
10 Ronald A. Fonseca August 1, 1983 May 20, 1998
11 Jacob J. Meyer August 22, 1983 October 1, 1989
12 Ivan L.R. Lemelle October 3, 1984 April 12, 1998
13 Alma L. Chasez September 24, 1984 February 28, 2014
14 Louis Moore, Jr. May 20, 1985 June 13, 2012
15 Lance M. Africk April 11, 1990 April 17, 2002
16 Joseph C. Wilkinson, Jr. March 27, 1995  
17 Sally Shushan February 1, 1999 August 31, 2016
18 Karen Wells Roby February 22, 1999  
19 Daniel E. Knowles, III January 6, 2003 January 5, 2019
20 Michael B. North March 1, 2014  
21 Janis van Meerveld September 1, 2016  
22 Dana M. Douglas January 6, 2019