The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York encompasses the counties of New York, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan and draws jurors from those counties. The Court hears cases in Manhattan, White Plains, and Poughkeepsie, New York.
The District of New York held its first session on the first Tuesday of November 1789 at the Old Royal Exchange in lower Manhattan presided over by Judge James Duane, who was appointed by President Washington. It was the first court to sit under the new United States Constitution, preceding the United States Supreme Court by a few months. The District and its successor, the Southern District of New York, have sat continuously in New York, NY, since 1789. Those who have served as judges of the Court include Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, Sr., former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh. Among the cases of historical interest heard in the Court have been claims arising from the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania, the Cold War espionage cases of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Alger Hiss, and the government's challenges to the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses and the New York Times's Pentagon Papers.
For a listing of current U. S. District Judges and U.S. Magistrate Judges, click on Judges. Prior to appearing before the Court, parties should be familiar with the Individual Practices of the judge who has been assigned to their case.