[House Report 117-58]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


117th Congress }                                          { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session   }                                          { 117-58

======================================================================
 
              CRIMINAL JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION ACT OF 2021

                                _______
                                

 June 11, 2021.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Nadler, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2694]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 2694) to amend title 18, United States Code, to 
provide for transportation and subsistence for criminal justice 
defendants, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures and Congressional 
  Budget Office Cost Estimate....................................     4
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 2694, the ``Criminal Judicial Administration Act of 
2021,'' would amend current law to give courts the discretion, 
in the interest of justice, to order the U.S. Marshals Service 
(USMS) to furnish, when financially necessary, transportation 
and subsistence expenses (lodging and food) for released 
defendants to return home from court proceedings, and 
subsistence while attending such proceedings. The bill would 
also amend current law to grant magistrate judges the authority 
to rule on post-judgment motions in cases for which they had 
trial jurisdiction.

                Background and Need for the Legislation


A. Amendments re. Transportation and Subsistence Funding

    Section 4285 of Title 18 currently authorizes courts to 
order the U.S. Marshals Service to provide a released defendant 
with non-custodial transportation and subsistence expenses 
during travel to the court where the defendant's appearance is 
required, when the interests of justice would be served and the 
defendant is financially unable to pay his or her 
transportation costs.\1\ At the present time, the statute does 
not clearly provide for subsistence expenses during a court 
proceeding or cover the cost of the defendant's return trip 
home.\2\ H.R. 2694 would give the court discretion to order the 
USMS to furnish, when financially necessary, roundtrip 
transportation and subsistence expenses (i.e., lodging and 
food) to out-of-custody defendants attending court proceedings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\18 U.S.C. Sec. 4285.
    \2\See id.
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    When a defendant is detained, the USMS is responsible for 
the cost of housing and the cost of transporting defendants to 
and from court. The cost to the USMS (and to taxpayers) of 
furnishing transportation and subsistence expenses related to 
court proceedings for an out-of-custody defendant is 
significantly less than what the cost would be of incarcerating 
that defendant from the time of their arrest through the 
disposition of their case.
    Most pretrial defendants are incarcerated pending the 
outcome of their cases. And the vast majority of those who are 
released either have funds available or live sufficiently close 
to the federal courthouse where their case is being heard, such 
that they do not need reimbursement for transportation or 
subsistence expenses. But for indigent or financially needy 
non-custodial defendants who do not live near the courthouse 
where their case is being heard, courts have long struggled 
with the practical problem of how to provide lodging, meals, 
and transportation home during and after court appearances.
    In some instances, courts have directed the use of funds 
from U.S. Pretrial Services or the Criminal Justice Act, but, 
as at least one court has stated, the justification for use of 
such funds is ``admittedly tortured.''\3\ In fact, the Judicial 
Conference of the United States has been calling for an 
amendment such as H.R. 2694 for years, given that there is no 
``clear statutory authority'' for courts to order lodging and 
return transportation for out-of-custody defendants, in 
connection with their court proceedings and having ``to pay for 
[return] travel and subsistence . . . has resulted in 
substantial hardships to certain defendants.''\4\ The proposed 
amendment to section 4285 would take up a long-standing 
recommendation of the Judicial Conference and clarify the 
assignment of responsibility for the costs at issue; costs 
would be paid by the USMS, but only if a judge determines it is 
necessary in the interest of justice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\United States v. Mendoza, 734 F.Supp.2d 281, 286 (E.D.N.Y. 
2010).
    \4\See Mendoza, 734 F.Supp.2d 287 (quoting a March 1993 Report of 
the Judicial Conference of the United States on Federal Defender 
Program) (alterations in original).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Amendments re. Effective Use of Magistrate Judges

    Under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 636(a)(3) and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3401, 
magistrate judges have authority to preside over cases 
involving persons accused of misdemeanors, through trial and 
sentencing.\5\ In a case involving a Class A misdemeanor, a 
defendant has a right to trial by jury before a district judge 
and, therefore, the defendant's consent is required for a 
magistrate judge to exercise trial jurisdiction, either in 
writing or orally and on the record.\6\ In petty offense cases 
(Class B and Class C misdemeanors, and infractions), no such 
consent is required.\7\
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    \5\See 28 U.S.C. Sec. 636(a)(3) & 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3401.
    \6\See 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3401(b).
    \7\See 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3401(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although section 3401 allows a magistrate judge to preside 
over trials and impose sentences in misdemeanor cases upon a 
defendant's consent, under current law, a magistrate judge does 
not have authority to rule on post-conviction motions that 
pertain to such cases--even if they presided over the trial and 
sentencing. A magistrate judge also cannot rule on motions 
related to mental competency in these same cases, absent a 
referral from a district judge. Nor can a magistrate judge 
order the preparation of presentence reports in cases over 
which they exercise trial jurisdiction without first seeking 
permission from a district judge. Plainly, this is inefficient.
    Practical considerations favor amending section 3401 and 
the Judicial Conference of the United States is supportive of 
this change. Judicial economy is best served by allowing a 
magistrate judge to adjudicate any proceedings in which that 
magistrate judge was also the trial and sentencing judge. This 
would enable district courts to manage caseloads in a more 
efficient and economical manner. In the same way that district 
judges generally rule on motions to vacate a sentence under 28 
U.S.C. Sec. 2255 and other related motions where they handled 
the underlying felony case, magistrate judges should be able to 
rule on section 2255 and other motions where they handled the 
underlying misdemeanor case.

                                Hearings

    The Committee has not held any hearings relating to this 
legislation.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 18, 2021, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill, H.R. 2694, favorably reported by voice vote, 
a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    No recorded votes occurred during the Committee's 
consideration of H.R. 2694.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of House rule XIII, the 
Committee advises that the findings and recommendations of the 
Committee, based on oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) 
of House rule X, are incorporated in the descriptive portions 
of this report.

  New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures and Congressional Budget 
                          Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of House 
rule XIII and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, and with respect to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of 
House rule XIII and section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has requested but not received from the 
Director of Congressional Budget Office a budgetary analysis 
and a cost estimate of this bill.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of House rule XIII, no provision 
of H.R. 2694 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
federal government known to be duplicative of another federal 
program.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
House rule XIII, H.R. 2694 would improve the administration of 
justice by ensuring that released indigent federal defendants 
who must attend court receive funding for return transportation 
and subsistence expenses and by authorizing magistrate judges 
to decide post-judgment motions in cases over which they 
exercised trial jurisdiction.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of House rule XXI, H.R. 2694 
does not contain any congressional earmarks, limited tax 
benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 
9(e), or 9(f) of House rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Section 1. Short Title. Section 1 sets forth the short 
title of the bill, the ``Criminal Justice Administration Act of 
2021.''
    Sec. 2. Transportation and Subsistence for Criminal Justice 
Act Defendants. Section 2 of the bill would amend Section 4285 
of Title 18, which pertains to procedures concerning persons 
released pending further judicial proceedings. Section 2 would 
do three new things: (1) enable the court to determine, based 
only upon the fact that a defendant has been determined to be 
indigent by virtue of appointment of counsel under the Criminal 
Justice Act, that they are financially unable to afford their 
own transportation for a court appearance; (2) ensure that 
defendants are provided funding both to the place where their 
appearance is required and back to the place of their arrest, 
or to their bona fide residence; and (3) clarify that 
``subsistence expenses'' includes ``money for both lodging and 
food, during travel to the person's destination and during any 
proceeding at which the person's appearance is required.'' 
Section 2 would also still enable the court to determine 
``after appropriate inquiry,'' that a defendant is financially 
unable to provide necessary transportation on their own, even 
if the defendant does not have appointed counsel.
    Sec. 3. Effective Use of Magistrate Judges to Decide 
Postjudgment Motions. Section 3 of the bill would amend Section 
3401 of Title 18 to enable magistrate judges to rule on 
postjudgment motions when they exercise trial jurisdiction in 
petty offense cases or in misdemeanor cases in which the 
defendant has consented to a magistrate judge. Magistrate 
judges would be authorized to rule on all post-judgment motions 
in such cases, including, but not limited to, petitions for 
writs of habeas corpus, writs of coram nobis, motions to vacate 
a sentence under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2255, and motions related to 
the mental competency of defendants. Section 3 would also 
authorize a magistrate judge who exercises trial jurisdiction 
in a particular case to order a presentence investigation of 
the defendant in the case and preparation of a report of the 
investigation, without first having to obtain the approval of a 
district court judge.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, 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 italics, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE




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PART II--CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

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CHAPTER 219--TRIAL BY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGES

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Sec. 3401. Misdemeanors; application of probation laws

  (a) When specially designated to exercise such jurisdiction 
by the district court or courts he serves, any United States 
magistrate judge shall have jurisdiction to try persons accused 
of, and sentence persons convicted of, misdemeanors committed 
within that judicial district.
  (b) Any person charged with a misdemeanor, other than a petty 
offense may elect, however, to be tried before a district judge 
for the district in which the offense was committed. The 
magistrate judge shall carefully explain to the defendant that 
he has a right to trial, judgment, [and] sentencing, and 
rulings on all post-judgment motions by a district judge and 
that he may have a right to trial by jury before a district 
judge or magistrate judge. The magistrate judge may not proceed 
to try the case unless the defendant, after such explanation, 
expressly consents to be tried before the magistrate judge and 
expressly and specifically waives trial, judgment, [and] 
sentencing, and rulings on all post-judgment motions by a 
district judge. Any such consent and waiver shall be made in 
writing or orally on the record.
  (c) A magistrate judge who exercises trial jurisdiction under 
this section, and before whom a person is convicted or pleads 
either guilty or nolo contendere, may[, with the approval of a 
judge of the district court,] direct the probation service of 
the court to conduct a presentence investigation on that person 
and render a report to the magistrate judge prior to the 
imposition of sentence.
  (d) The probation laws shall be applicable to persons tried 
by a magistrate judge under this section, and such officer 
shall have power to grant probation and to revoke, modify, or 
reinstate the probation of any person granted probation by a 
magistrate judge.
  (e) Proceedings before United States magistrate judges under 
this section shall be taken down by a court reporter or 
recorded by suitable sound recording equipment. For purposes of 
appeal a copy of the record of such proceedings shall be made 
available at the expense of the United States to a person who 
makes affidavit that he is unable to pay or give security 
therefor, and the expense of such copy shall be paid by the 
Director of the Administrative Office of the United States 
Courts.
  (f) The district court may order that proceedings in any 
misdemeanor case be conducted before a district judge rather 
than a United States magistrate judge upon the court's own 
motion or, for good cause shown, upon petition by the attorney 
for the Government. Such petition should note the novelty, 
importance, or complexity of the case, or other pertinent 
factors, and be filed in accordance with regulations 
promulgated by the Attorney General.
  (g) The magistrate judge may, in a petty offense case 
involving a juvenile, exercise all powers granted to the 
district court under chapter 403 of this title. The magistrate 
judge may, in the case of any misdemeanor, other than a petty 
offense, involving a juvenile in which consent to trial before 
a magistrate judge has been filed under subsection (b), 
exercise all powers granted to the district court under chapter 
403 of this title. For purposes of this subsection, proceedings 
under chapter 403 of this title may be instituted against a 
juvenile by a violation notice or complaint, except that no 
such case may proceed unless the certification referred to in 
section 5032 of this title has been filed in open court at the 
arraignment.
  (h) The magistrate judge shall have power to modify, revoke, 
or terminate supervised release of any person sentenced to a 
term of supervised release by a magistrate judge.
  (i) A district judge may designate a magistrate judge to 
conduct hearings to modify, revoke, or terminate supervised 
release, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to the 
judge proposed findings of fact and recommendations for such 
modification, revocation, or termination by the judge, 
including, in the case of revocation, a recommended disposition 
under section 3583(e) of this title. The magistrate judge shall 
file his or her proposed findings and recommendations.
  (j) A magistrate judge who exercises trial jurisdiction under 
this section, in either a petty offense case or a misdemeanor 
case in which the defendant has consented to a magistrate 
judge, may also rule on all post-judgment motions in that case, 
including but not limited to petitions for writs of habeas 
corpus, writs of coram nobis, motions to vacate a sentence 
under section 2255 of title 28, and motions related to mental 
competency under chapter 313 of this title.

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PART III--PRISONS AND PRISONERS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 315--DISCHARGE AND RELEASE PAYMENTS

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Sec. 4285. Persons released pending further judicial proceedings

  Any judge or magistrate judge of the United States, when 
ordering a person released under chapter 207 on a condition of 
his subsequent appearance before that court, any division of 
that court, or any court of the United States in another 
judicial district in which criminal proceedings are pending, 
may, [when the interests of justice would be served thereby and 
the United States judge or magistrate judge is satisfied, after 
appropriate inquiry, that the defendant is financially unable 
to provide the necessary transportation to appear before the 
required court on his own] when the United States judge or 
magistrate judge is satisfied that the defendant is indigent 
based on appointment of counsel pursuant to section 3006A, or, 
after appropriate inquiry, that the defendant is financially 
unable to provide necessary transportation on his own, direct 
the United States marshal to arrange for that person's means of 
noncustodial transportation or furnish the fare for such 
transportation [to the place where his appearance is required,] 
(1) to the place where each appearance is required and (2) to 
return to the place of the person's arrest or bona fide 
residence,  and in addition may direct the United States 
marshal to furnish that person with an amount of money for 
subsistence expenses [to his destination,] which includes money 
for both lodging and food, during travel to the person's 
destination and during any proceeding at which the person's 
appearance is required not to exceed the amount authorized as a 
per diem allowance for travel under section 5702(a) of title 5, 
United States Code. When so ordered, such expenses shall be 
paid by the marshal out of funds authorized by the Attorney 
General for such expenses.

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