S. 1379 (112th): D.C. Courts and Public Defender Service Act of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Jul 18, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1379

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 18, 2011

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

A BILL

To amend title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, to revise certain administrative authorities of the District of Columbia courts, and to authorize the District of Columbia Public Defender Service to provide professional liability insurance for officers and employees of the Service for claims relating to services furnished within the scope of employment with the Service.

1.

Short Title

This Act may be cited as the D.C. Courts and Public Defender Service Act of 2011.

2.

Authorities of District of Columbia Courts

(a)

Permitting Judicial Conference on Biennial Basis; Attendance of Magistrate Judges

Section 11–744, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended—

(1)

in the first sentence, by striking annually and inserting biennially or annually;

(2)

in the first sentence, by striking active judges and inserting active judges and magistrate judges;

(3)

in the third sentence, by striking Every judge and inserting Every judge and magistrate judge; and

(4)

in the third sentence, by striking Courts of Appeals and inserting Court of Appeals.

(b)

Emergency Authority To Toll or Delay Judicial Proceedings

(1)

Proceedings in Superior Court

(A)

In general

Subchapter III of Chapter 9 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

11–947.

Emergency authority to toll or delay proceedings.

(a)

Tolling or delaying proceedings

(1)

In general

In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency situation requiring the closure of Superior Court or rendering it impracticable for the United States or District of Columbia Government or a class of litigants to comply with deadlines imposed by any Federal or District of Columbia law or rule that applies in the Superior Court, the chief judge of the Superior Court may exercise emergency authority in accordance with this section.

(2)

Scope of authority

(A)

The chief judge may enter such order or orders as may be appropriate to delay, toll, or otherwise grant relief from the time deadlines imposed by otherwise applicable laws or rules for such period as may be appropriate for any class of cases pending or thereafter filed in the Superior Court.

(B)

The authority conferred by this section extends to all laws and rules affecting criminal and juvenile proceedings (including, pre-arrest, post-arrest, pretrial, trial, and post-trial procedures) and civil, family, domestic violence, probate and tax proceedings.

(3)

Unavailability of chief judge

If the chief judge of the Superior Court is absent or disabled, the authority conferred by this section may be exercised by the judge designated under section 11–907(a) or by the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration.

(4)

Habeas corpus unaffected

Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

(b)

Criminal Cases

In exercising the authority under this section for criminal cases, the chief judge shall consider the ability of the United States or District of Columbia Government to investigate, litigate, and process defendants during and after the emergency situation, as well as the ability of criminal defendants as a class to prepare their defenses.

(c)

Issuance of Orders

The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia or the Attorney General for the District of Columbia or the designee of either may request issuance of an order under this section, or the chief judge may act on his or her own motion.

(d)

Duration of Orders

An order entered under this section may not toll or extend a time deadline for a period of more than 14 days, except that if the chief judge determines that an emergency situation requires additional extensions of the period during which deadlines are tolled or extended, the chief judge may, with the consent of the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration, enter additional orders under this section in order to further toll or extend such time deadline.

(e)

Notice

Upon issuing an order under this section, the chief judge—

(1)

shall make all reasonable efforts to publicize the order, including, when possible, announcing the order on the District of Columbia Courts Web site; and

(2)

shall send notice of the order, including the reasons for the issuance of the order, to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives.

(f)

Required Reports

Not later than 180 days after the expiration of the last extension or tolling of a time period made by the order or orders relating to an emergency situation, the chief judge shall submit a brief report to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, and the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration describing the orders, including—

(1)

the reasons for issuing the orders;

(2)

the duration of the orders;

(3)

the effects of the orders on litigants; and

(4)

the costs to the court resulting from the orders.

(g)

Exceptions

The notice under subsection (e)(2) and the report under subsection (f) are not required in the case of an order that tolls or extends a time deadline for a period of less than 14 days.

.

(B)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents of chapter 9 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end of the items relating to subchapter III the following:

11–947. Emergency authority to toll or delay proceedings.

.

(2)

Proceedings in Court of Appeals

(A)

In general

Subchapter III of chapter 7 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

11–745.

Emergency authority to toll or delay proceedings.

(a)

Tolling or delaying proceedings

(1)

In general

In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency situation requiring the closure of the Court of Appeals or rendering it impracticable for the United States or District of Columbia Government or a class of litigants to comply with deadlines imposed by any Federal or District of Columbia law or rule that applies in the Court of Appeals, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals may exercise emergency authority in accordance with this section.

(2)

Scope of authority

The chief judge may enter such order or orders as may be appropriate to delay, toll, or otherwise grant relief from the time deadlines imposed by otherwise applicable laws or rules for such period as may be appropriate for any class of cases pending or thereafter filed in the Court of Appeals.

(3)

Unavailability of chief judge

If the chief judge of the Court of Appeals is absent or disabled, the authority conferred by this section may be exercised by the judge designated under section 11–706(a) or by the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration.

(4)

Habeas corpus unaffected

Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

(b)

Issuance of Orders

The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia or the Attorney General for the District of Columbia or the designee of either may request issuance of an order under this section, or the chief judge may act on his or her own motion.

(c)

Duration of Orders

An order entered under this section may not toll or extend a time deadline for a period of more than 14 days, except that if the chief judge determines that an emergency situation requires additional extensions of the period during which deadlines are tolled or extended, the chief judge may, with the consent of the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration, enter additional orders under this section in order to further toll or extend such time deadline.

(d)

Notice

Upon issuing an order under this section, the chief judge—

(1)

shall make all reasonable efforts to publicize the order, including, when possible, announcing the order on the District of Columbia Courts Web site; and

(2)

shall send notice of the order, including the reasons for the issuance of the order, to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives.

(e)

Required Reports

Not later than 180 days after the expiration of the last extension or tolling of a time period made by the order or orders relating to an emergency situation, the chief judge shall submit a brief report to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, and the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration describing the orders, including—

(1)

the reasons for issuing the orders;

(2)

the duration of the orders;

(3)

the effects of the orders on litigants; and

(4)

the costs to the court resulting from the orders.

(f)

Exceptions

The notice under subsection (d)(2) and the report under subsection (e) are not required in the case of an order that tolls or extends a time deadline for a period of less than 14 days.

.

(B)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents of chapter 7 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end of the items relating to subchapter III the following:

11–745. Emergency authority to toll or delay proceedings.

.

(c)

Authorization for Program of Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments

(1)

In general

Chapter 17 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by inserting after section 11–1726 the following new section:

11–1726A.

Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments

The Joint Committee on Judicial Administration may, by regulation, establish a program substantially similar to the program established under subchapter II of chapter 35 of title 5, United States Code, for nonjudicial employees of the District of Columbia courts.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents of chapter 17 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 11–1726 the following new item:

11–1726A. Voluntary separation incentive payments.

.

(d)

Permitting Agreements To Provide Services on a Reimbursable Basis to Other District Government Offices

(1)

In general

Section 11–1742, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(d)

To prevent duplication and to promote efficiency and economy, the Executive Officer may enter into agreements to provide the Mayor of the District of Columbia with equipment, supplies, and services and credit reimbursements received from the Mayor for such equipment, supplies, and services to the appropriation of the District of Columbia Courts against which they were charged.

.

(2)

Effective date

The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply with respect to fiscal year 2010 and each succeeding fiscal year.

3.

Liability Insurance for Public Defender Service

Section 307 of the District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970 (sec. 2–1607, D.C. Official Code) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(e)

The Service shall, to the extent the Director considers appropriate, provide representation for and hold harmless, or provide liability insurance for, any person who is an employee, member of the Board of Trustees, or officer of the Service for money damages arising out of any claim, proceeding, or case at law relating to the furnishing of representational services or management services or related services under this Act while acting within the scope of that person’s office or employment, including but not limited to such claims, proceedings, or cases at law involving employment actions, injury, loss of liberty, property damage, loss of property, or personal injury, or death arising from malpractice or negligence of any such officer or employee.

.

4.

Reduction in term of service of judges on family court of the superior court

(a)

Reduction in term of service

Section 11–908A(c)(1), District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by striking 5 years and inserting 3 years.

(b)

Effective date

The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to any individual serving as a judge on the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.