Summary: S.1101 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1101. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (08/01/1995)


Title I: Criminal Law

Title II: Judicial Financial Administration

Title III: Judicial Process Improvements

Title IV: Judiciary Personnel Administration, Benefits, and


Title V: Federal Courts Study Committee Recommendations

Title VI: Criminal Justice Amendments

Title VII: Places of Holding Courts

Title VIII: Miscellaneous

Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1995 - Title I: Criminal Law - Amends the Federal criminal code to authorize probation and pretrial services officers, if approved by the district court, to carry firearms under such rules as the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts may prescribe.

(Sec. 102) Authorizes any U.S. judge or magistrate, when ordering a person released on a condition of his subsequent appearance before that court or any Federal court in another judicial district in which criminal proceedings are pending, to direct the U.S. marshal to arrange or furnish: (1) transportation expenses to enable a defendant who is financially unable to provide transportation to get to the place where his appearance is required, to consult with his attorney, or to return to the place of his arrest or bona fide residence; and (2) lodging and subsistence expenses during the defendant's travel to his destination during any proceedings at which an appearance is required or while consulting with counsel, not to exceed the amount authorized as a per diem travel allowance.

(Sec. 103) Amends the Contract Services for Drug Dependent Federal Offenders Treatment Act of 1978 to reauthorize appropriations.

Title II: Judicial Financial Administration - Amends the Federal judicial code to provide that in FY 1995 and each fiscal year thereafter a specified amount shall be transferred annually to the judiciary into a special fund of the Treasury (special fund) for specified expenses incurred in: (1) adjudication of civil and criminal forfeiture proceedings; (2) representation of offenders whose assets have been seized in forfeiture proceedings; and (3) supervision by U.S. probation officers of offenders under home detention or other forms of confinement outside of Bureau of Prisons facilities.

(Sec. 202) Increases: (1) the fee for filing a civil action; and (2) the amount taken from such fees, or as part of a judgment for costs, to be deposited into the special fund.

(Sec. 203) Provides that: (1) beginning in FY 1995 and each fiscal year thereafter, of each fee collected for admission of an attorney to practice, $30 of that portion of the fee exceeding $20 shall be deposited into the special fund; and (2) any portion exceeding five dollars of the fee for a duplicate certificate of admission or certificate of good standing shall be deposited into the special fund.

(Sec. 204) Directs that, upon an election by a bankruptcy judge or magistrate judge, all of the accrued employer contributions and accrued interest on those contributions made on behalf of the bankruptcy judge or magistrate judge to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund shall be transferred to the special fund, with exceptions.

(Sec. 205) Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the use of unclaimed funds deposited in court; and (2) interpreter performance examination fees.

Title III: Judicial Process Improvements - Amends the Federal judicial code to expand the duties of a magistrate on an emergency assignment.

(Sec. 302) Authorizes: (1) only a person charged with a misdemeanor that is not a petty offense to elect to be tried before a judge of the district court for the district in which the offense was committed; and (2) the magistrate judge, in a petty offense case involving a juvenile, to exercise powers granted to the district court. Prohibits a magistrate judge from proceeding to try a case unless specified conditions are met.

(Sec. 303) Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) removal of cases under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act; (2) elimination of in-State plaintiffs in diversity jurisdiction cases; and (3) extension of statutory authority for magistrate judge positions to be established in the district courts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

(Sec. 306) Repeals a provision authorizing any civil action, not of a local nature, against defendants residing in different districts in the same State to be brought in any of such districts.

(Sec. 307) Specifies that a judgment in an action for the recovery of money or property entered in any court of appeals, bankruptcy court, or in the Court of International Trade, as well as any district court, may be registered by filing a certified copy of the judgment, subject to specified requirements.

(Sec. 308) Provides that: (1) when the office of clerk of court is vacant, the deputy clerks shall perform the duties of the clerk in the name of the last person who held that office; and (2) when the clerk is incapacitated, absent, or otherwise unavailable to perform official duties, the deputy clerks shall perform such duties. Authorizes the court to designate a deputy clerk to act temporarily as clerk of the court. Repeals a provision allowing the compensation of a deceased Supreme Court clerk to be paid to his personal representatives until his successor is appointed and qualifies.

(Sec. 309) Increases the threshold amount in controversy (from $50,000 to $75,000) to qualify for diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. Provides for annual increases in that amount based on the percent change in the Consumer Price Index, effective January 1, 2000.

Title IV: Judiciary Personnel Administration, Benefits, and Protections - Amends Federal judicial retirement provisions to list age and service requirements for retaining office but retiring from regular active service for persons age 60 through 64.

(Sec. 402) Authorizes: (1) retroactive credit for resumption of a significant workload by a judge under specified circumstances; and (2) aggregation by a justice or judge for partial years worked.

(Sec. 403) Revises provisions regarding: (1) the contribution rate for senior judges under the judicial survivors' annuities system; (2) the refund of contributions for deceased deferred annuitants under the judicial survivors' annuities system; (3) disability retirement and cost-of-living adjustments of annuities for territorial judges; (4) Federal Judicial Center personnel compensation; and (5) creditable service for judicial administrative officials' retirement.

(Sec. 408) Amends the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 to provide that: (1) when filling vacancies, the court of appeals may consider reappointing incumbent bankruptcy judges under specified procedures; and (2) all incumbent nominees seeking reappointment may be considered for such a reappointment, pursuant to a majority vote of the judges of the appointing court of appeals under such procedures.

(Sec. 409) Authorizes a judicial officer of the United States to carry firearms under regulations promulgated by the Judicial Conference. Grants immunity to any such officer who possesses or uses a firearm carried under the authority of this section and such regulations from any civil suit arising out of such possession or usage to the maximum extent provided by common law.

(Sec. 410) Provides that the first vacancy in the office of district judge in each of specified judicial districts, except the Western District of Michigan, occurring five years or more after the confirmation date of the judge named to fill a temporary judgeship created by this Act, shall not be filled.

(Sec. 411) Amends the Federal judicial code to consider a court reporter to be a full-time employee during any pay period for which the reporter receives a salary at the annual salary rate fixed for a full-time reporter.

(Sec. 412) Repeals a provision barring from jury service members of fire and police departments and public officers actively engaged in the performance of official duties.

(Sec. 413) Expands workers' compensation coverage for jurors to cover traveling to or from the courthouse pursuant to a jury summons or sequestration order, or as otherwise necessitated by court order.

(Sec. 414) Authorizes: (1) the Director of the Administrative Office to pay a claim by a person summoned to serve or serving as a grand juror or petit juror for loss of, or damage to, personal property that occurs incident to that person's performance of duties; and (2) the presiding judicial officer to appoint a certified or otherwise qualified sign language interpreter to provide services to a participant in a judicial proceeding upon determining that such participant suffers from a hearing impairment.

(Sec. 416) Includes the Northern Mariana Islands within the ninth judicial circuit.

(Sec. 417) Makes provisions regarding annual and sick leave of Federal employees applicable to positions in the judicial branch designated as court unit executive positions by the Judicial Conference.

Title V: Federal Courts Study Committee Recommendations - Amends the Federal judicial code to revise bankruptcy provisions to allow a bankruptcy judge to hear a proceeding that is not a core proceeding but that is otherwise related to a case under title 11. Directs the bankruptcy judge, in such proceeding, to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the district court. Directs that any final order or judgment be entered by the district judge after considering the bankruptcy judge's proposed findings and conclusions and after reviewing de novo those matters to which any party has timely and specifically objected. Specifies that: (1) a party shall be deemed to consent to the findings of fact and conclusions of law submitted by a bankruptcy judge unless the party files a timely objection; and (2) if a timely objection is not filed, the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law submitted by the bankruptcy judge shall become final and the bankruptcy judge shall enter an appropriate order thereon.

(Sec. 502) Amends the National Labor Relations Act to authorize the National Labor Relations Board, if any person violates a final order issued by the Board with respect to an unfair labor practice, to petition any U.S. district court in which the practice occurred, or in which such person resides or transacts business, for imposition of a monetary penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each day such person violates the order. Grants the district courts jurisdiction to impose such penalty.

(Sec. 503) Amends the Federal judicial code to require the chief judge of the Court of International Trade to be the judge of the court in regular active service who is senior in commission of those judges who: (1) are 64 years of age or under; (2) have served for one year or more as a judge of the court; and (3) have not served previously as chief judge. Sets forth provisions regarding the precedence of judges in acting as chief judge.

(Sec. 504) Repeals a provision prohibiting the obligation or expenditure of funds to increase the salary of any Federal judge or U.S. Supreme Court justice, except as specifically authorized by Act of the Congress.

Title VI: Criminal Justice Amendments - Amends the Federal criminal code to require that a Federal defender organization be established for any district, part of a district, or combination of districts in which more than 200 persons annually require the appointment of counsel, or where the Judicial Conference determines that: (1) such an organization would be cost effective; or (2) the interests of effective representation otherwise require establishment of such an organization.

Authorizes two adjacent districts or parts of districts to establish a defender organization to serve both areas.

(Sec. 602) Permits the plan for any district which has not established a Federal defender organization to provide for the establishment of a panel attorney support office to assist the court in managing the panel of attorneys who provide representation pursuant to such plan. Requires such office to provide advice to appointed counsel, maintain a list of members of the panel, review vouchers for compensation before submission to judicial officers for approval, coordinate training of members of the panel, and perform any other duties in administering the plan for the district which the court may delegate.

Requires the district court to appoint an administrator to direct such office. Specifies that: (1) the Administrator may be employed on a part-time or full-time basis and may appoint such number of employees as may be approved by the Director of the Administrative Office; and (2) such employees shall be subject to removal by the Administrator.

(Sec. 603) Provides for the Judicial Conference to determine: (1) compensation for attorneys appointed by the court; and (2) maximum amounts of compensation for services other than counsel.

(Sec. 605) Specifies that the services of paralegals and qualified law students shall be compensated or reimbursed at hourly rates established by the Judicial Conference.

(Sec. 606) Amends the Federal judicial code to make provisions of the Tort Claims Act applicable to any claim for money damages for injury, loss of liberty, loss of property, or personal injury or death arising from malpractice or negligence of an officer or employee of a Federal Public Defender Organization in furnishing representational services.

Title VII: Places of Holding Court - Amends the Federal judicial code to: (1) direct that court for the Southern District of New York be held at New York and White Plains (as under current law) and in the Middletown-Wallkill area of Orange County or in an appropriate nearby location, and that court for the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas be held at Sherman (as under current law) and Plano; and (2) authorize the Texarkana Divisions of the Western Division of Arkansas and the Eastern Division of Texas to be held anywhere within the Federal courthouse in Texarkana that is located astride the Texas-Arkansas State line.

Title VIII: Miscellaneous - Makes technical amendments relating to: (1) the selection of district judges to attend the annual judicial conference; (2) the Director and Deputy Director of the Administrative Office as Federal officers; (3) the filing of a notice of removal of a criminal proceeding from a State court; and (4) Federal Judicial Center retirement provisions.