District Courts – Journalist’s Guide
District courts hear nearly all categories of federal civil and criminal cases.
The United States district courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal civil and criminal cases.
The vast majority of all civil and criminal cases are filed in state courts. Sometimes a case can be filed under similar statutes in either state or federal court.
There are 94 federal judicial districts. All but three of these districts have lifetime-appointed Article III judges. Judges serve 10-year terms in three territorial districts: the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Find a list of all federal court districts and their geographical boundaries.