[Senate Report 112-178]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


112th Congress  }                                            {   Report
  2d Session    }             SENATE                         {  112-178
_______________________________________________________________________                                     
                                                       Calendar No. 436
 
          D.C. COURTS AND PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICE ACT OF 2011 

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 1379

   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

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                 June 25, 2012.--Ordered to be printed

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Washington, DC 20402-0001 


        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

               JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut, Chairman
CARL LEVIN, Michigan                 SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii              TOM COBURN, Oklahoma
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware           SCOTT P. BROWN, Massachusetts
MARK L. PRYOR, Arkansas              JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana          RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
JON TESTER, Montana                  RAND PAUL, Kentucky
MARK BEGICH, Alaska                  JERRY MORAN, Kansas

                  Michael L. Alexander, Staff Director
       Beth M. Grossman, Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel
                        Kenya N. Wiley, Counsel
  Christine K. West, Counsel, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government 
                              Management,
          the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
               Nicholas A. Rossi, Minority Staff Director
                Mark B. LeDuc, Minority General Counsel
          Richard H. Houghton, Minority Deputy General Counsel
                  Trina Driessnack Tyrer, Chief Clerk

                                                       Calendar No. 436
112th Congress  }                                             {  Report
  2d Session    }            SENATE                           { 112-178
=======================================================================

              D.C. COURTS AND PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICE ACT 
                                OF 2011

                                _______
                                

                 June 25, 2012.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Lieberman, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1379]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1379) 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, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.



                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................6
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................7
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................7
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................8
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............8

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of S. 1379 is to grant the District of Columbia 
(DC) Courts and Public Defender Service (PDS) greater 
administrative flexibility in several discrete areas. The bill 
authorizes the DC Superior Court and Court of Appeals to hold 
judicial conferences either annually or biennially, eliminating 
the current mandate that they always hold such conferences 
every year; requires magistrate judges to attend these judicial 
conferences; authorizes the DC Courts to toll or delay judicial 
deadlines in certain emergency situations such as natural 
disasters; and allows the DC Courts to be reimbursed by the DC 
Government for certain office expenses. It also gives the DC 
PDS authority to purchase liability insurance for its attorneys 
and changes the term for Family Court judges from five years to 
three years.

              II. Background and Need for the Legislation


                          JUDICIAL CONFERENCES

    Current law requires the DC Courts to hold a judicial 
conference annually ``for the purpose of advising as to the 
means of improving the administration of justice within the 
District of Columbia.''\1\ This requirement stands in contrast 
to that applying to the Federal courts, which must hold a 
conference only every two years.\2\ The DC Courts have 
estimated that, in addition to the time spent by judicial 
personnel planning and attending the conference, they will 
spend approximately $50,000 on the 2012 judicial conference.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\A bill to establish the Judicial Conference of the District of 
Columbia, Public Law No. 94-193, 89 Stat. 1102, codified at D.C. Code 
Sec. 11-744.
    \2\Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, Public Law No. 101-650, 104 
Stat. 5089, section 320, codified at 28 U.S.C. Sec. 333.
    \3\Letter from Julio A. Castillo, Clerk of the D.C. Court of 
Appeals, to Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Chairman, Subcommittee on 
Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the 
District of Columbia (Dec. 9, 2011) (on file with the Subcommittee on 
Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the 
District of Columbia (``Subcommittee'')).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The DC Courts are charged with evaluating expenditures to 
determine whether they are ``necessary to execute efficiently 
the functions vested in the Courts.''\4\ In making this 
evaluation with respect to the annual judicial conference, the 
DC Courts have determined that the funds, resources, and time 
required to prepare for and conduct such conferences would be 
more effectively used if the judicial conference were conducted 
biennially rather than annually. With the significant 
improvement in the dissemination and exchange of information in 
the years since the annual conference requirement was enacted 
in 1975, the DC Courts' judicial conference is no longer the 
primary means of obtaining advice pertaining to the 
administration of justice within DC. Specifically, the Courts 
have determined that electronic and other forms of 
communication, including the Courts' websites, enable them to 
regularly communicate with the DC bench and bar with more 
frequency.\5\ In addition, numerous organizations and 
committees with related objectives provide the DC Courts with 
input concerning improving the administration of justice in DC. 
Such organizations include the Courts' Strategic Planning 
Leadership Council, the Standing Committee on Fairness and 
Access to the DC Courts, the Criminal Justice Coordinating 
Committee, the Access to Justice Commission, and the Council on 
Court Excellence.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\See Public Law No. 105-33, 111 Stat. 753, section 11243, 
``Budgeting and Financing Requirements for Courts under Home Rule 
Act,'' codified at D.C. Code Sec. 11-1743.
    \5\``Additional Information to Support S. 1379 the D.C. Courts and 
Public Defender Service Act of 2011,'' D.C. Superior Court, (Dec. 1, 
2011) (on file with the Subcommittee).
    \6\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After reviewing the DC Courts' comments on the annual 
conference requirement, the Committee has concluded that giving 
the DC Courts flexibility to hold their judicial conference 
biennially would enable the Courts to allocate funds towards 
strategic goals like providing fair and timely case resolution 
and maintaining a sound infrastructure, without compromising 
the purposes for which the conference requirement exists.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\District of Columbia Courts, Delivering Justice: Strategic Plan 
of the District of Columbia Courts 2008-2012, at 3-5 (2008), available 
at http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/documents/StrategicPlan2008-
2012.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The bill also would require magistrate judges to attend the 
conferences. Despite their important role in the DC judicial 
system, magistrate judges currently are not required to attend 
the DC Courts' judicial conference. DC Court magistrate judges 
hear a myriad of cases, including misdemeanor and traffic 
cases, criminal arraignments, small claims, child support 
orders, and protection orders.\8\ Additionally, they set the 
conditions of release for criminal defendants before trial, and 
conduct preliminary examinations in all probation revocation 
hearings.\9\ Subject to certain limitations, magistrate judges 
may make findings and enter final orders or judgments in civil, 
criminal, and Family Court cases, excluding jury trials and 
felony criminal trials.\10\ The DC Courts requested that 
magistrate judges be required to attend judicial 
conferences.\11\ In light of magistrates' overlapping functions 
with DC Court judges and their central role in the DC Court 
system, and to accommodate the DC Courts' input, section 2(a) 
of S. 1379 would require magistrate judges to attend judicial 
conferences.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\District of Columbia Courts, State of the Judiciary 39 (2011), 
available at http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/documents/State-of-
Judiciary-2011.pdf.; see also D.C. CODE Sec. 11-1732.
    \9\D.C. Code Sec. 11-1732 (j).
    \10\Id.
    \11\``District of Columbia Courts Legislative Priorities,'' D.C. 
Superior Court, at 1 (2011) (on file with the Subcommittee).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

       EMERGENCY AUTHORITY TO TOLL OR DELAY JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS

    The DC Courts have expressed concern with their inability 
to toll or delay judicial deadlines in the event of an 
emergency or terrorist attack.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Id. at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Recent events illustrate why such authority may be needed. 
In December 2009 and February 2010, the DC metropolitan area 
experienced record amounts of snowfall.\13\ For the December 
2009 snowstorm, Reagan National, Dulles International, and BWI 
Marshall Airports all recorded the largest single December 
snowfall in history.\14\ In February 2010, DC recorded two 
separate double digit snowfalls in the same month for the first 
time since snowfall records were kept in 1884.\15\ The record 
snowfall crippled the DC Metropolitan area, forcing the 
District and Federal Governments to close for several days in 
February 2010.\16\ Throughout the past decade, state courts 
have been confronted with a series of natural and manmade 
disasters that have hindered their ability to function and 
required them to plan for court closures.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Jared Klein, Mid-Atlantic Winters, National Weather Service, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, available at http://
www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/winter/DC-Winters.htm.
    \14\Id.
    \15\Id.
    \16\Office of Personnel Management, Federal Government Operating 
Status February 8-11, 2010, available at http://www.opm.gov/whatsnew/
archive_2010_2.aspx. See also Carol Morello and Ashley Halsey III, 
Historic snowstorm in D.C. leaves a mess to be reckoned with, Wash. 
Post, February 7, 2010, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/article/2010/02/06/AR2010020600683_2.html?sid=ST2010021903762.
    \17\William E. Raftery, Tolling or Suspensions of Time Limits by 
State Courts Amid Emergencies or Disasters, National Center for State 
Courts Technical Assistance Report, July 13, 2010, at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While authority exists to transfer judicial proceedings to 
remote locations in the event of emergencies, circumstances 
like natural disasters or terrorist attacks may make relocation 
impossible.\18\ The judicial officials or courts of nine states 
have similar authority to toll or delay judicial proceedings 
after a state of emergency or disaster is declared.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\D.C. Code Sec. Sec. 11-710, 11-911. Similar authority has been 
given to the Federal courts. See Federal Judiciary Emergency Special 
Sessions Act of 2005, Pub. Law No. 109-63, 119 Stat. 1993 (2005).
    \19\Supra note 18, at 3, 15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 2(b) of S. 1379 authorizes the Chief Judges of the 
DC Court of Appeals and the DC Superior Court to toll or delay 
judicial proceedings in the event of natural disasters or 
emergency situations. The provision specifically states that it 
does not allow for a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. 
Examples of natural disasters are hurricanes, tornadoes, 
floods, earthquakes, severe snowstorms, and fires. Examples of 
emergency situations are explosions, acts of terrorism, enemy 
attacks, sabotage, disease, or another manmade cause that 
results in an imminent threat, severe damage, or injury to life 
or property. S. 1379 states that if the Chief Judge of the DC 
Court of Appeals or the DC Superior Court is unavailable, the 
associate judge designated in writing under section 11-907(a) 
of the DC Code to perform the Chief Judge's other duties has 
authority to issue emergency toll or delay orders.
    The Committee intends this emergency authority to be used 
sparingly and only in extraordinary circumstances. Therefore, 
S. 1379 requires that if the emergency authority is used for 14 
days or more, the Joint Judicial Committee must approve each 
extension and the courts must give Congress a written 
justification no later than 180 days after the expiration of 
the last extension granted.

           REIMBURSEMENT FOR CERTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES

    The DC Courts and DC government are involved in a number of 
collaborative efforts that sometimes involve the sharing of 
administrative resources such as office space and supplies. For 
example, there currently is a project to develop electronic 
interfaces between the Family Court and the DC Child and Family 
Services Agency (CFSA) to allow CSFA to initiate cases through 
direct electronic filing from CFSA's case management 
system.\20\ This project will save time by eliminating the need 
for agency staff to go to the courthouse to file cases and also 
will improve the quality of court data by eliminating the need 
to manually input agency data into the court's database.\21\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\D.C. Superior Court, Family Court 2010 Annual Report to 
Congress 32 (2010), available at http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/
documents/Family_AnnualReport2010.pdf.
    \21\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, there is currently no statutory authority that 
allows the DC Courts to enter into reimbursable agreements with 
the DC government. The DC Home Rule Act prevents the obligation 
of funds without approval by an Act of Congress.\22\ This means 
that absent explicit authority from Congress, the DC Courts 
cannot enter into reimbursable agreements with anyone, 
including the DC Government. The DC Home Rule Act further 
prevents the DC Courts from entering into reimbursement 
agreements by requiring all money received by the Courts to be 
deposited into the U.S. Treasury or the Crime Victims Fund.\23\ 
The inability to enter into reimbursable agreements may provide 
a disincentive for efficiency-enhancing collaborative efforts 
like the one discussed above.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \22\Pub. Law No. 93-198, Sec. Sec. 446, 602(c); D.C. Code Sec. 1-
204.46.
    \23\Pub. Law No. 93-198, Sec. 450; D.C. Code Sec. 1-204.50.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In contrast, statutory authority is available for 
reimbursable agreements between Federal agencies for the inter- 
and intra-departmental transfer of materials or performance of 
work or services.\24\ Under the Economy Act, a performing 
agency is authorized to credit reimbursements to the 
appropriation or fund charged in executing its performance 
rather than requiring its redeposit in the Treasury.\25\ 
Authority is also provided for reimbursable agreements when the 
United States Government performs services for the District of 
Columbia government and vice versa.\26\ The Committee has 
concluded that providing similar authority for reimbursable 
agreements between the DC Courts and the DC government would 
promote the administrative efficiency of both the DC Courts and 
the DC government.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \24\31 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 1533-36.
    \25\Government Accountability Office, Principles of Federal 
Appropriations Law, Third Ed. (Jan. 2004), at 6-202, available at 
http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/d06382sp.pdf.
    \26\31 U.S.C. Sec. 1537.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Accordingly, section 2(c) of S. 1379 amends section 11-1742 
of the DC Code to allow the DC Courts to enter into 
reimbursable agreements for certain office expenses.

   LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC DEFENDER 
                                SERVICE

    Individuals who provide professional advice and services, 
such as attorneys, typically carry liability insurance to 
offset the risks of costs associated with lawsuits initiated by 
clients for damages arising as a result of the advice or 
services rendered. Client lawsuits can cover a range of issues 
and sometimes result in costly legal fees and judgments.
    Unlike Federal public defender service organizations,\27\ 
DC PDS does not have explicit authority to purchase liability 
insurance for its attorneys, leaving its attorneys without a 
means to protect themselves from potential lawsuits arising 
during the course of their official duties.\28\ Moreover, DC 
PDS cannot rely on other statutory means of protection afforded 
to other types of public servants. For example, unlike most 
executive branch attorneys, DC PDS attorneys do not enjoy 
qualified immunity because DC PDS represents individual clients 
and not governmental entities. In addition, because DC PDS and 
its employees are not part of the DC government,\29\ DC PDS 
employees cannot use the DC Government Liability Reform Act to 
secure coverage.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \27\18 U.S.C. Sec. 3006A(g)(3).
    \28\Letter from Avis E. Buchanan, Director, D.C. Public Defender 
Service, to Senators Richard Durbin and Susan Collins at 4 (Mar. 29, 
2010) (on file with the Subcommittee).
    \29\Chase v. Public Defender Serv., 956 A.2d 67, 72-75 (D.C. 2008).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 3 of S. 1379 provides DC PDS explicit statutory 
authority to purchase professional liability insurance, 
providing a means for DC PDS to shield its staff from the risk 
of potential lawsuits by clients, employees, and others for 
conduct DC PDS employees perform in the course of their 
official duties.

                      FAMILY COURT JUDICIAL TERMS

    The District of Columbia Family Court Act of 2001 
established a five-year term for judges on the Family Court, 
which was newly created by that Act.\30\ According to the 
Committee report accompanying that legislation, some witnesses 
submitted testimony expressing concern that the five-year term 
was too long for the emotionally taxing work of Family Court. 
Those witnesses worried that the lengthy term could lead judges 
to ``burnout'' and could deter strong candidates from seeking 
judgeships there.\31\ The Committee report specifically 
referenced the five-year term as an unresolved issue that it 
would continue to monitor.\32\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \30\Public Law No. 107-114, 115 Stat. 2100, section 3(a), codified 
at D.C. Code Sec. 11-908A(c)(1).
    \31\S. Rep. No. 107-108, at 8 (2001), available at http://
www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-107srpt108/pdf/CRPT-107srpt108.pdf.
    \32\Id. at 10.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unfortunately, the concerns about the five-year term appear 
to have been justified. In 2010, Chief Judge Lee Satterfield 
wrote the House of Representatives, outlining the recruitment 
and retention challenges posed by a five-year term.\33\ In his 
letter, Chief Judge Satterfield noted that the Family Court 
handles emotionally challenging issues and cases that can place 
stress on judges assigned there. Chief Judge Satterfield felt 
that the difference in length of terms contributed to judges' 
reluctance to volunteer for a Family Court rotation, especially 
new judges who may want diverse judicial experiences during 
their early years.\34\ No other assignment at DC Superior Court 
requires a set commitment, and judges often spend only two 
years on a particular calendar assignment before rotating to a 
new one. According to Chief Judge Satterfield, a change in the 
term requirement would not have any impact on how the Family 
Court handles cases, in part because of the integral and 
extensive role that magistrate judges, who serve on average 
four-year terms in Family Court, play in the Family Court's 
``one-family/one-judge'' case management approach. Chief Judge 
Satterfield recommended adopting a three-year term for Family 
Court Judges.\35\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\Letter from Lee F. Satterfield, Chief Judge, D.C. Superior 
Court, to Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (Mar. 30, 2010) (on file with 
the Subcommittee).
    \34\Id.
    \35\Id.; see also District of Columbia Courts Legislative 
Priorities, supra note 12, at 8 (also recommending a three-year term 
for Family Court judges).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee concludes that a three-year term is 
sufficiently long to promote the development of expertise among 
Family Court judges and to provide stability for children and 
families involved in Family Court proceedings, while mitigating 
the recruitment and retention concerns Chief Judge Satterfield 
identified. Accordingly, section 4 of S. 1379 changes the term 
of Family Court judges from five years to three years.

                        III. Legislative History

    On July 18, 2011, S. 1379 was introduced by Senator Daniel 
K. Akaka. The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs and was considered by the 
Committee on October 19, 2011. Senator Akaka offered an 
amendment that struck Section 2(c) of the bill, which 
authorized voluntary separation incentive payments. The 
Committee adopted the amendment by voice vote and then ordered 
the bill, as amended, reported favorably, also by voice vote. 
Senators Lieberman, Akaka, Carper, Pryor, McCaskill, Begich, 
Collins, Brown, Johnson, and Moran were present for both votes.

                    IV. Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1--Short title

    This section titles the bill the ``DC Courts and Public 
Defender Service Act of 2011.''

Section 2--Authorities of District of Columbia Courts

    Subsection (a)--Permitting Judicial Conferences on Biennial 
Basis; Attendance of Magistrate Judges. This subsection 
authorizes the DC Courts to hold judicial conferences 
biennially or annually, and requires magistrate judges and 
active judges to attend.
    Subsection (b)--Emergency Authority to Toll or Delay 
Judicial Proceedings. This subsection gives the Chief Judge of 
the DC Superior Court and the Chief Judge of the DC Court of 
Appeals emergency authority to toll or delay judicial 
proceedings in the event of a natural disaster or emergency 
situations. It also requires that if the emergency authority is 
used for 14 days or more, the Joint Judicial Committee must 
approve each extension and the courts must give Congress a 
written justification no later than 180 days after the 
expiration of the last extension granted.
    Subsection (c)--Permitting Agreements to Provide Services 
on a Reimbursable Basis to Other District Government Offices. 
This subsection authorizes the DC Courts to be reimbursed by 
the DC government for equipment, supplies, and services.

Section 3--Liability Insurance for Public Defender Service

    This section gives the DC Public Defender Service authority 
to purchase liability insurance for its attorneys.

Section 4--Reduction in term of service of Judges on Family Court of 
        the Superior Court

    This section changes the term for Family Court judges from 
five years to three years.

                    V. Estimated Cost of Legislation

                                                  November 2, 2011.
Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1379, the D.C. 
Courts and Public Defender Service Act of 2011.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Martin von 
Gnechten.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 1379--D.C. Courts and Public Defender Service Act of 2011

    S. 1379 would change the District of Columbia Official Code 
that governs the D.C. Courts system and the office of the 
public defender. Based on information provided by the court 
system, CBO estimates that the proposed changes would not have 
a significant effect on the federal budget. Enacting the bill 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    Under current law, the budget of the D.C. Courts system, 
including the Public Defender Service, is funded by federal 
appropriations, and its expenditures are recorded on the 
federal budget. Among other changes, the bill would authorize 
the D.C. Courts to accept reimbursement from the District of 
Columbia government for certain equipment, services, and 
supplies. Such reimbursements would be credited to the 
appropriation for the D.C. Courts system, and CBO estimates 
that any net effect on the federal budget would be negligible.
    S. 1379 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von 
Gnechten. This estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                  VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirement of paragraph 11(b)(1) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill. The Committee 
agrees with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which states 
that there are no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates 
as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and no costs on 
State, local, or tribal governments. The legislation contains 
no other regulatory impact.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the following changes in existing 
law made by the bill, as reported, are shown as follows: 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OFFICIAL CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


DIVISION I--GOVERNMENT OF DISTRICT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE 2--GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 16--PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 2-1607. Appropriation; public grants and private contributions

    (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.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


DIVISION II--JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE 11--ORGANIZATION AND JURISDICTION OF THE COURT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 7--DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subchapter III--Miscellaneous Provisions

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 11-744. Judicial conference

    The chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of 
Appeals shall summon [annually] biennially or annually the 
active associate judges of the District of Columbia Court of 
Appeals and the [active judges] active judges and magistrate 
judges of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to a 
conference at a time and place that the chief judge designates, 
for the purpose of advising as to means of improving the 
administration of justice within the District of Columbia. The 
chief judge shall preside at such conference which shall be 
known as the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia. 
[Every judge] Every judge and magistrate judge summoned shall 
attend, and, unless excused by the chief judge of the District 
of Columbia [Courts of Appeals] Court of Appeals, shall remain 
throughout the conference. The District of Columbia Court of 
Appeals shall provide by its rules for representation of and 
active participation by members of the District of Columbia Bar 
and other persons active in the legal profession at such 
conference.

Sec. 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.

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CHAPTER 9--SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

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Subchapter I--Continuation and Organization

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Sec. 11-908A. Special rules regarding assignment and service of judges 
                    of Family Court

    (c) Term of Service.--
         (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), 
        an individual assigned to serve as a judge of the 
        Family Court of the Superior Court shall serve for a 
        term of [5 years] 3 years.

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Subchapter III--Miscellaneous Provisions

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Sec. 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.

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CHAPTER 17--ADMINISTRATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURTS

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Subchapter III--Duties And Responsibilities

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    (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.