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Pub.L. 107-115 Making appropriations for foreign operations, export financing, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2002, and for other purposes. <> ...


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[[Page 2099]]

              DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FAMILY COURT ACT OF 2001

[[Page 115 STAT. 2100]]

Public Law 107-114
107th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend title 11, District of Columbia Code, to redesignate the Family 
Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia as the Family 
     Court of the Superior Court, to recruit and retain trained and 
experienced judges to serve in the Family Court, to promote consistency 
 and efficiency in the assignment of judges to the Family Court and in 
 the consideration of actions and proceedings in the Family Court, and 
       for other purposes. <<NOTE: Jan. 8, 2002 -  [H.R. 2657]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: District of Columbia Family 
Court Act of 2001.>> assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``District of Columbia Family Court Act 
of 2001''.

SEC. 2. REDESIGNATION OF FAMILY DIVISION AS FAMILY COURT OF THE SUPERIOR 
            COURT.

    (a) In General.--Section 11-902, District of Columbia Code, is 
amended to read as follows:

``Sec. 11-902. Organization of the court

    ``(a) In General.--The Superior Court shall consist of the 
following:
            ``(1) The Civil Division.
            ``(2) The Criminal Division.
            ``(3) The Family Court.
            ``(4) The Probate Division.
            ``(5) The Tax Division.

    ``(b) Branches.--The divisions of the Superior Court may be divided 
into such branches as the Superior Court may by rule prescribe.
    ``(c) Designation of Presiding Judge of Family Court.--The chief 
judge of the Superior Court shall designate one of the judges assigned 
to the Family Court of the Superior Court to serve as the presiding 
judge of the Family Court of the Superior Court.
    ``(d) Jurisdiction Described.--The Family Court shall have original 
jurisdiction over the actions, applications, determinations, 
adjudications, and proceedings described in section 11-1101. Actions, 
applications, determinations, adjudications, and proceedings being 
assigned to cross-jurisdictional units established by the Superior 
Court, including the Domestic Violence Unit, on the date of enactment of 
this section may continue to be so assigned after the date of enactment 
of this section.''.

[[Page 115 STAT. 2101]]

    (b) Conforming Amendment to Chapter 9.--Section 11-906(b), District 
of Columbia Code, is amended by inserting ``the Family Court and'' 
before ``the various divisions''.
    (c) Conforming Amendments to Chapter 11.--(1) The heading for 
chapter 11 of title 11, District of Columbia, is amended by striking 
``Family Division'' and inserting ``Family Court''.
    (2) The item relating to chapter 11 in the table of chapters for 
title 11, District of Columbia, is amended by striking ``Family 
Division'' and inserting ``Family Court''.
    (d) Conforming Amendments to Title 16.--
            (1) Calculation of child support.--Section 16-916.1(o)(6), 
        District of Columbia Code, is amended by striking ``Family 
        Division'' and inserting ``Family Court of the Superior Court''.
            (2) Expedited judicial hearing of cases brought before 
        hearing commissioners.--Section 16-924, District of Columbia 
        Code, is amended by striking ``Family Division'' each place it 
        appears in subsections (a) and (f) and inserting ``Family 
        Court''.
            (3) General references to proceedings.--Chapter 23 of title 
        16, District of Columbia Code, is amended by inserting after 
        section 16-2301 the following new section:

``Sec. 16-2301.1. References deemed to refer to Family Court of the 
                        Superior Court

    ``Any reference in this chapter or any other Federal or District of 
Columbia law, Executive order, rule, regulation, delegation of 
authority, or any document of or pertaining to the Family Division of 
the Superior Court of the District of Columbia shall be deemed to refer 
to the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of 
Columbia.''.
            (4) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections for 
        subchapter I of chapter 23 of title 16, District of Columbia, is 
        amended by inserting after the item relating to section 16-2301 
        the following new item:

``16-2301.1. References deemed to refer to Family Court of the Superior 
           Court.''.

SEC. 3. APPOINTMENT AND ASSIGNMENT OF JUDGES; NUMBER AND QUALIFICATIONS.

    (a) Number of Judges for Family Court; Qualifications and Terms of 
Service.--Chapter 9 of title 11, District of Columbia Code, is amended 
by inserting after section 11-908 the following new section:

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

    ``(a) Number of Judges.--
            ``(1) In general.--The number of judges serving on the 
        Family Court of the Superior Court shall be not more than 15.
            ``(2) Emergency reassignment.--If the chief judge determines 
        that, in order to carry out the intent and purposes of the 
        District of Columbia Family Court Act of 2001, an emergency 
        exists such that the number of judges needed on the Family Court 
        of the Superior Court at any time is more than 15--

[[Page 115 STAT. 2102]]

                    ``(A) the chief judge may temporarily reassign 
                judges from other divisions of the Superior Court to 
                serve on the Family Court who meet the requirements of 
                paragraphs (1) and (3) of subsection (b) or senior 
                judges who meet the requirements of those paragraphs, 
                except such reassigned judges shall not be subject to 
                the term of service requirements set forth in subsection 
                (c); and
                    ``(B) the chief judge shall, within 30 days of 
                emergency temporary reassignment pursuant to 
                subparagraph (A), submit a report to the President and 
                Congress describing--
                          ``(i) the nature of the emergency;
                          ``(ii) how the emergency was addressed, 
                      including which judges were reassigned; and
                          ``(iii) whether and why an increase in the 
                      number of Family Court judges authorized in 
                      subsection (a)(1) may be necessary to serve the 
                      needs of families and children in the District of 
                      Columbia.
            ``(3) Composition.--The total number of judges on the 
        Superior Court may exceed the limit on such judges specified in 
        section 11-903 to the extent necessary to maintain the 
        requirements of this subsection if--
                    ``(A) the number of judges serving on the Family 
                Court is less than 15; and
                    ``(B) the Chief Judge of the Superior Court--
                          ``(i) is unable to secure a volunteer judge 
                      who is sitting on the Superior Court outside of 
                      the Family Court for reassignment to the Family 
                      Court;
                          ``(ii) obtains approval of the Joint Committee 
                      on Judicial Administration; and
                          ``(iii) reports to Congress regarding the 
                      circumstances that gave rise to the necessity to 
                      exceed the cap.

    ``(b) Qualifications.--The chief judge may not assign an individual 
to serve on the Family Court of the Superior Court or handle a Family 
Court case unless--
            ``(1) the individual has training or expertise in family 
        law;
            ``(2) the individual certifies to the chief judge that the 
        individual intends to serve the full term of service, except 
        that this paragraph shall not apply with respect to individuals 
        serving as senior judges under section 11-1504, individuals 
        serving as temporary judges under section 11-908, and any other 
        judge serving in another division of the Superior Court who is 
        reassigned on an emergency temporary basis pursuant to 
        subsection (a)(2);
            ``(3) the individual certifies to the chief judge that the 
        individual will participate in the ongoing training programs 
        carried out for judges of the Family Court under section 11-
        1104(c); and
            ``(4) the individual meets the requirements of section 11-
        1501(b).

    ``(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.
            ``(2) Special rule for judges serving on superior court on 
        date of enactment of family court act of 2001.--

[[Page 115 STAT. 2103]]

                    ``(A) In general.--An individual assigned to serve 
                as a judge of the Family Court of the Superior Court who 
                is serving as a judge of the Superior Court on the date 
                of the enactment of the District of Columbia Family 
                Court Act of 2001 shall serve for a term of not fewer 
                than 3 years.
                    ``(B) Reduction of period for judges serving in 
                family division.--In the case of a judge of the Superior 
                Court who is serving as a judge in the Family Division 
                of the Court on the date of the enactment of the 
                District of Columbia Family Court Act of 2001, the 3-
                year term applicable under subparagraph (A) shall be 
                reduced by the length of any period of consecutive 
                service as a judge in such Division immediately 
                preceding the date of the enactment of such Act.
            ``(3) Assignment for additional service.--After the term of 
        service of a judge of the Family Court (as described in 
        paragraph (1)) expires, at the judge's request and with the 
        approval of the chief judge, the judge may be assigned for 
        additional service on the Family Court for a period of such 
        duration (consistent with section 431(c) of the District of 
        Columbia Home Rule Act) as the chief judge may provide.
            ``(4) Permitting service on family court for entire term.--
        At the request of the judge and with the approval of the chief 
        judge, a judge may serve as a judge of the Family Court for the 
        judge's entire term of service as a judge of the Superior Court 
        under section 431(c) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act.

    ``(d) Reassignment to Other Divisions.--The chief judge may reassign 
a judge of the Family Court to any division of the Superior Court if the 
chief judge determines that in the interest of justice the judge is 
unable to continue serving in the Family Court.''.
    (b) Plan for Family Court Transition.--
            (1) In <<NOTE: Deadline.>> general.--Not later than 90 days 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act, the chief judge of 
        the Superior Court of the District of Columbia shall prepare and 
        submit to the President and Congress a transition plan for the 
        Family Court of the Superior Court, and shall include in the 
        plan the following:
                    (A) The chief judge's determination of the role and 
                function of the presiding judge of the Family Court.
                    (B) The chief judge's determination of the number of 
                judges needed to serve on the Family Court.
                    (C) The chief judge's determination of the number of 
                magistrate judges of the Family Court needed for 
                appointment under section 11-1732, District of Columbia 
                Code.
                    (D) The chief judge's determination of the 
                appropriate functions of such magistrate judges, 
                together with the compensation of and other personnel 
                matters pertaining to such magistrate judges.
                    (E) A plan for case flow, case management, and 
                staffing needs (including the needs for both judicial 
                and nonjudicial personnel) for the Family Court, 
                including a description of how the Superior Court will 
                handle the one family, one judge requirement pursuant to 
                section 11-1104(a) for all cases and proceedings 
                assigned to the Family Court.

[[Page 115 STAT. 2104]]

                    (F) A plan for space, equipment, and other physical 
                plant needs and requirements during the transition, as 
                determined in consultation with the Administrator of 
                General Services.
                    (G) An analysis of the number of magistrate judges 
                needed under the expedited appointment procedures 
                established under section 6(d) in reducing the number of 
                pending actions and proceedings within the jurisdiction 
                of the Family Court (as described in section 11-902(d), 
                District of Columbia, as amended by subsection (a)).
                    (H) Consistent with the requirements of paragraph 
                (2), a proposal for the disposition or transfer to the 
                Family Court of child abuse and neglect actions pending 
                as of the date of enactment of this Act (which were 
                initiated in the Family Division but remain pending 
                before judges serving in other Divisions of the Superior 
                Court as of such date) in a manner consistent with 
                applicable Federal and District of Columbia law and best 
                practices, including best practices developed by the 
                American Bar Association and the National Council of 
                Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
                    (I) An estimate of the number of cases for which the 
                deadline for disposition or transfer to the Family 
                Court, specified in paragraph (2)(B), cannot be met and 
                the reasons why such deadline cannot be met.
            (2) Implementation of the plan for transfer or disposition 
        of actions and proceedings to family court.--
                    (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (C), the chief judge of the Superior Court and the 
                presiding judge of the Family Court shall take such 
                steps as may be required as provided in the proposal for 
                disposition of actions and proceedings under paragraph 
                (1)(H) to ensure that each child abuse and neglect 
                action of the Superior Court (as described in section 
                11-902(d), District of Columbia Code, as amended by 
                subsection (a)) is transferred to the Family Court or 
                otherwise disposed of as provided in subparagraph (B).
                    (B) Deadline.--
                          (i) In general.--Notwithstanding any other 
                      provision of this Act or any amendment made by 
                      this Act and except as provided in subparagraph 
                      (C), no child abuse or neglect action shall remain 
                      pending with a judge not serving on the Family 
                      Court upon the expiration of 18 months after the 
                      filing of the transition plan required under 
                      paragraph (1).
                          (ii) Rule of construction.--The chief judge of 

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