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General FAQs

  • What is the United States District Court for the District of Kansas?

    It is one of our nation’s federal trial courts. The country is divided into 94 judicial districts, each with a trial court that processes civil and criminal cases that come under federal jurisdiction. The District of Kansas covers the entire state of Kansas.

  • What types of cases are heard in the federal district courts?

    Both civil and criminal cases that fall under federal jurisdiction are heard in federal district courts.

    Civil cases involve disputes between people, corporations or governments, in which one or more parties sues one or more parties for compensation for personal or economic damages (i.e. breach of contract involving the U.S. Government, civil rights violations, disputes between citizens or businesses of different states, patent and trademark infringement). Federal jurisdiction is determined when cases involve federal laws, the U.S. Government (or any of its agencies), more than one state within the country, and disputes between citizens or businesses of different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00.

    Criminal Cases involve the violation of a federal law (i.e. smuggling drugs into the country, bank robbery, fraud or theft from federally insured institutions, counterfeiting U.S. currency, etc.).

  • What is the difference between U.S. (federal) District Courts and state courts?

    Federal courts are established by the U.S. Constitution to hear cases that pertain to the nation as a whole or involve more than one state. Federal courts handle about one million cases per year. This includes a substantial number of bankruptcy filings, while criminal cases account for approximately 10% of the total filings in federal courts. State courts, on the other hand, are established by each state, or by a county or city within the state. They hear cases pertaining to local, county or statewide matters. State courts handle approximately 30 million civil and criminal cases per year.

  • What is the difference between a federal District Court Judge and a Magistrate Judge?

    A District Court Judge, also known as an Article III Judge, is a federal judge who is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate to a lifetime appointment.  The primary function of the federal judges is to resolve matters brought before the United States federal courts. Most federal courts in the United States are courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning that they hear only cases for which jurisdiction is authorized by the United States constitution or federal statutes.

    A Magistrate Judge is a judicial officer who is appointed by the Court for an 8-year, renewable term and has some, but not all, of the powers of a district judge. A magistrate judge may handle civil cases from start to finish if all parties consent. In non-consent cases, a magistrate judge may hear motions and other pretrial matters assigned by a district judge.  In criminal proceedings, magistrate judges preside over misdemeanor and petty offense cases, and as to all criminal cases (felony and misdemeanor) may issue search warrants, arrest warrants, and summonses, accept criminal complaints, conduct initial appearance proceedings and detention hearings, set bail or other conditions of release or detention, hold preliminary hearings and examinations, administer oaths, conduct extradition proceedings, and conduct evidentiary hearings on motions to suppress evidence in felony cases for issuance of reports and recommendations to the district judge.

  • Can I apply for a marriage license in federal court?

    No.  You may obtain a Kansas marriage license through Kansas State Courts.  Click here for more information.

  • What is “Senior Status”, or what is a Senior Judge?

    When federal district judges reach an age that, when combined with their years of service totals eighty, they have the option of taking “senior status.” Taking “senior status” allows them to draw a lighter caseload while remaining active in the court, although many continue to carry a full caseload.

  • What types of advice can the Clerk’s Office personnel give?

    Clerk’s Office staff cannot give “legal advice” or “practice law” as they are prohibited under Title 28 U.S.C. Section 955. Therefore, Clerk’s Office personnel cannot:

    • Explain the meaning of a specific rule
    • Make an interpretation of case law
    • Explain the result of taking or not taking an action in a case
    • Answer whether jurisdiction is proper in a case
    • Answer whether a complaint properly presents a claim
    • Provide advice on the best procedure to accomplish a particular objective

    Clerk’s Office staff CAN provide procedural information such as:

    • Instructions on how to execute a task (e.g. number of copies, use of forms etc.)
    • Provide information as to compliance with this Court’s policies
  • What are the fees for filing documents in federal court?

    For a complete list of current fees, click here. Note: when paying fees by check or money order, please make them payable to the Clerk, U.S. District Court.

  • Where can I obtain a copy of the Local Rules?

    Copies of the Local Rules can be accessed on our website at or a book version is also available from the Clerk’s Office in Kansas City, Topeka or Wichita.

  • What are the phone numbers for state court?

    For state court numbers listed by county, visit

  • Did I receive a federal ticket? Or how do I know if I received a federal ticket?

    If the ticket you received does not say “U.S. District Court Violation Notice” across the top, then you did not receive a federal ticket. Federal tickets are issued by law enforcement personnel from agencies such as the U.S. Military Base in Fort Leavenworth or Fort Riley, KS. Other agencies include the U.S. Park Police, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Department of Defense Police, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Provost Marshal, Air Force, Marines & Navy Security Forces, U.S. Postal Police, U.S. Customs, U.S. Border Police, and V.A. Police. Click here to see example of federal ticket.

  • What is the difference between a Central Violations Bureau ticket and a ticket requiring me to appear before a Magistrate Judge?

    Petty offenses are sometimes called infractions and are minor crimes that include such things as speeding, simple assault and other minor traffic violations. These are more than likely violations given with a ticket. Sometimes a court appearance is required. Your ticket will indicate if you can pay a fine by a certain date or whether you will be notified about a court appearance. Misdemeanors are more serious than petty offenses, but not as serious as a felony. These may include theft or possession charges. Misdemeanors are put into categories A, B and C and many, but not all, will have a charging document called “an Information” filed along with the violation notice. These cases require an appearance by a U.S. Magistrate Judge and you will be notified by the clerk’s office.

  • What is the Central Violations Bureau?

    The Central Violations Bureau is a national center responsible for processing violation notices (tickets) issued and payments received for many federal petty offenses cases. This includes violations that occur on federal property such as military installations, federal buildings, national parks, Veteran Affairs medical centers, national wildlife refuges, and national forests. The Central Violations Bureau processes violation notices for violations of federal law that occur outside federal property as well. For example, migratory bird offenses that occur on private property.

  • How do I know if I have a Central Violations Case (CVB) or a case where I appear before a Magistrate Judge?

    If you are to appear before a United States Magistrate Judge, box A on your violation notice should be checked. It may or may not have a date but the United States District Court will contact you with a notice to appear on a specific date and time, usually the 2nd Wednesday of the month for Ft. Leavenworth. The dates of the Ft. Riley docket varies based on judges’ schedules, but is always held on Thursday.

    If the ticket is to be paid through the Central Violations Bureau it will be indicated in Box B or on the back of the ticket. Go to for more details regarding payment. If you fail to pay the fine you will be required to appear and notification will be sent to you.

  • Who is my contact at the Central Violations Bureau? will be your best contact. They give online instructions for payment and general instructions regarding this kind of ticket. Their phone number is 800-827-2982.

    Payment Address:
    Central Violations Bureau
    P.O. Box 71363
    Philadelphia, PA 19176-1363
    Correspondence Address:
    Central Violations Bureau
    P.O. Box 780549
    San Antonio, TX 78278-0549
  • Who is my contact at the courthouse (Non-CVB)


    Fort Leavenworth
    Yolanda Holman
    Fort Riley
    Lisa Catlin