As of this week, the Western District of Texas has both a new Chief Judge and new U.S. Attorney. The Western District encompasses 68 counties and over six million residents throughout Austin, Waco, San Antonio, Del Rio, Midland, Pecos, Alpine, and El Paso. The Western District is one of the four federal judicial districts in Texas and the 94 such districts in the United States. Together, these federal judicial districts are the trial courts of the federal system, enabling a plaintiff to bring a federal lawsuit involving a federal issue or a defendant from another state.
United States District Judge Orlando Garcia stepped down from his leadership role as Chief Judge of the Western District last month, enabling United States District Judge Alia Moses to step into the chiefship. Chief Judge Alia Moses made history as the first woman to be named chief over the Western District of Texas. Chief Judge Moses currently handles 100% of the civil docket and 100% of the criminal docket in the Del Rio Division of the Western District.
One of Judge Garcia’s last acts as chief appears to have included rendering this Districtwide Standing Order assigning the business of the court. Two United States District Judges will continue to share responsibility for the Austin Division’s complex docket. However, local litigants are often encouraged to consent to the authority of a United States Magistrate Judge, which can help lessen the waiting time for calendaring hearings and trial.
And in recent, related news, Chief Judge Moses has sworn in Jaime Esparza as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. U.S. Attorney Esparza was nominated by President Biden in October 2022 and confirmed by the Senate in December 2022. In the role, U.S. Attorney Esparza is responsible for prosecuting violations of federal law and representing the government in civil litigation where the United States is a party. He previously served Texans as District Attorney for the 34th Judicial District in Culberson, Hudspeth, and El Paso Counties from 1993 to 2020.
GDHM congratulates Chief Judge Moses and U.S. Attorney Esparza for their new leadership roles over our home here in the Western District.
Author: Daniela Peinado Welsh
Daniela is a litigator and former federal law clerk who helps clients navigate complex disputes.