Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 2915 (is) To make improvements in the operation and administration of the Federal courts, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...

S. 2915 (is) To make improvements in the operation and administration of the Federal courts, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2915

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To make improvements in the operation and administration of the Federal 
                    courts, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Courts 
Improvement Act of 2000''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.
               TITLE I--JUDICIAL FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION

Sec. 101. Extension of Judiciary Information Technology Fund.
Sec. 102. Disposition of miscellaneous fees.
Sec. 103. Transfer of retirement funds.
Sec. 104. Increase in chapter 9 bankruptcy filing fee.
Sec. 105. Increase in fee for converting a chapter 7 or chapter 13 
                            bankruptcy case to a chapter 11 bankruptcy 
                            case.
Sec. 106. Bankruptcy fees.
                TITLE II--JUDICIAL PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS

Sec. 201. Extension of statutory authority for magistrate judge 
                            positions to be established in the district 
                            courts of Guam and the Northern Mariana 
                            Islands.
Sec. 202. Magistrate judge contempt authority.
Sec. 203. Consent to magistrate judge authority in petty offense cases 
                            and magistrate judge authority in 
                            misdemeanor cases involving juvenile 
                            defendants.
Sec. 204. Savings and loan data reporting requirements.
Sec. 205. Membership in circuit judicial councils.
Sec. 206. Sunset of civil justice expense and delay reduction plans.
Sec. 207. Repeal of Court of Federal Claims filing fee.
Sec. 208. Technical bankruptcy correction.
Sec. 209. Technical amendment relating to the treatment of certain 
                            bankruptcy fees collected.
Sec. 210. Maximum amounts of compensation for attorneys.
Sec. 211. Reimbursement of expenses in defense of certain malpractice 
                            actions.
TITLE III--JUDICIAL PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION, BENEFITS, AND PROTECTIONS

Sec. 301. Judicial administrative officials retirement matters.
Sec. 302. Applicability of leave provisions to employees of the 
                            Sentencing Commission.
Sec. 303. Payments to military survivors benefits plan.
Sec. 304. Creation of certifying officers in the judicial branch.
Sec. 305. Amendment to the jury selection process.
Sec. 306. Authorization of a circuit executive for the Federal circuit.
Sec. 307. Residence of retired judges.
Sec. 308. Recall of judges on disability status.
Sec. 309. Personnel application and insurance programs relating to 
                            judges of the Court of Federal Claims.
Sec. 310. Lump-sum payment for accumulated and accrued leave on 
                            separation.
Sec. 311. Employment of personal assistants for handicapped employees.
Sec. 312. Mandatory retirement age for Director of the Federal Judicial 
                            Center.
Sec. 313. Reauthorization of certain Supreme Court Police authority.
                   TITLE IV--FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDERS

Sec. 401. Tort Claims Act amendment relating to liability of Federal 
                            public defenders.
                   TITLE V--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Sec. 501. Extensions relating to bankruptcy administrator program.
Sec. 502. Additional place of holding court in the district of Oregon.

               TITLE I--JUDICIAL FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION

SEC. 101. EXTENSION OF JUDICIARY INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FUND.

    Section 612 of title 28, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) by striking ``equipment'' each place it appears and 
        inserting ``resources'';
            (2) by striking subsection (f) and redesignating 
        subsections (g) through (k) as subsections (f) through (j), 
        respectively;
            (3) in subsection (g), as so redesignated, by striking 
        paragraph (3); and
            (4) in subsection (i), as so redesignated--
                    (A) by striking ``Judiciary'' each place it appears 
                and inserting ``judiciary'';
                    (B) by striking ``subparagraph (c)(1)(B)'' and 
                inserting ``subsection (c)(1)(B)''; and
                    (C) by striking ``under (c)(1)(B)'' and inserting 
                ``under subsection (c)(1)(B)''.

SEC. 102. DISPOSITION OF MISCELLANEOUS FEES.

    For fiscal year 2001 and each fiscal year thereafter, any portion 
of miscellaneous fees collected as prescribed by the Judicial 
Conference of the United States under sections 1913, 1914(b), 1926(a), 
1930(b), and 1932 of title 28, United States Code, exceeding the amount 
of such fees in effect on September 30, 2000, shall be deposited into 
the special fund of the Treasury established under section 1931 of 
title 28, United States Code.

SEC. 103. TRANSFER OF RETIREMENT FUNDS.

    Section 377 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end the following:
    ``(p) Transfer of Retirement Funds.--Upon election by a bankruptcy 
judge or a magistrate judge under subsection (f) of this section, 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 under section 
8348 of title 5 shall be transferred to the fund established under 
section 1931 of this title, except that if the bankruptcy judge or 
magistrate judge elects under section 2(c) of the Retirement and 
Survivor's Annuities for Bankruptcy Judges and Magistrates Act of 1988 
(Public Law 100-659), to receive a retirement annuity under both this 
section and title 5, only the accrued employer contributions and 
accrued interest on such contributions, made on behalf of the 
bankruptcy judge or magistrate judge for service credited under this 
section, may be transferred.''.

SEC. 104. INCREASE IN CHAPTER 9 BANKRUPTCY FILING FEE.

    Section 1930(a)(2) of title 28, United States Code, is amended by 
striking ``$300'' and inserting ``equal to the fee specified in 
paragraph (3) for filing a case under chapter 11 of title 11. The 
amount by which the fee payable under this paragraph exceeds $300 shall 
be deposited in the fund established under section 1931 of this 
title''.

SEC. 105. INCREASE IN FEE FOR CONVERTING A CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13 
              BANKRUPTCY CASE TO A CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY CASE.

    The flush paragraph at the end of section 1930(a) of title 28, 
United States Code, is amended by striking ``$400'' and inserting ``the 
amount equal to the difference between the fee specified in paragraph 
(3) and the fee specified in paragraph (1)''.

SEC. 106. BANKRUPTCY FEES.

    Section 1930(a) of title 28, United States Code, is amended by 
adding at the end the following:
            ``(7) In districts that are not part of a United States 
        trustee region as defined in section 581 of this title, the 
        Judicial Conference of the United States may require the debtor 
        in a case under chapter 11 of title 11 to pay fees equal to 
        those imposed by paragraph (6) of this subsection. Such fees 
        shall be deposited as offsetting receipts to the fund 
        established under section 1931 of this title and shall remain 
        available until expended.''.

                TITLE II--JUDICIAL PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS

SEC. 201. EXTENSION OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR MAGISTRATE JUDGE 
              POSITIONS TO BE ESTABLISHED IN THE DISTRICT COURTS OF 
              GUAM AND THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS.

    Section 631 of title 28, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) by striking the first two sentences of subsection (a) 
        and inserting the following: ``The judges of each United States 
        district court and the district courts of the Virgin Islands, 
        Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands shall appoint United 
        States magistrate judges in such numbers and to serve at such 
        locations within the judicial districts as the Judicial 
        Conference may determine under this chapter. In the case of a 
        magistrate judge appointed by the district court of the Virgin 
        Islands, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands, this chapter 
        shall apply as though the court appointing such a magistrate 
        judge were a United States district court.''; and
            (2) by inserting in the first sentence of paragraph (1) of 
        subsection (b) after ``Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,'' the 
        following: ``the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the 
        Northern Mariana Islands,''.

SEC. 202. MAGISTRATE JUDGE CONTEMPT AUTHORITY.

    Section 636(e) of title 28, United States Code, is amended to read 
as follows:
    ``(e) Contempt Authority.--
            ``(1) In general.--A United States magistrate judge serving 
        under this chapter shall have within the territorial 
        jurisdiction prescribed by the appointment of such magistrate 
        judge the power to exercise contempt authority as set forth in 
        this subsection.
            ``(2) Summary criminal contempt authority.--A magistrate 
        judge shall have the power to punish summarily by fine or 
        imprisonment such contempt of the authority of such magistrate 
        judge constituting misbehavior of any person in the magistrate 
        judge's presence so as to obstruct the administration of 
        justice. The order of contempt shall be issued under the 
        Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
            ``(3) Additional criminal contempt authority in civil 
        consent and misdemeanor cases.--In any case in which a United 
        States magistrate judge presides with the consent of the 
        parties under subsection (c) of this section, and in any 
        misdemeanor case proceeding before a magistrate judge under 
        section 3401 of title 18, the magistrate judge shall have the 
        power to punish, by fine or imprisonment, criminal contempt 
        constituting disobedience or resistance to the magistrate 
        judge's lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command. 
        Disposition of such contempt shall be conducted upon notice and 
        hearing under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
            ``(4) Civil contempt authority in civil consent and 
        misdemeanor cases.--In any case in which a United States 
        magistrate judge presides with the consent of the parties under 
        subsection (c) of this section, and in any misdemeanor case 
        proceeding before a magistrate judge under section 3401 of 
        title 18, the magistrate judge may exercise the civil contempt 
        authority of the district court. This paragraph shall not be 
        construed to limit the authority of a magistrate judge to order 
        sanctions under any other statute, the Federal Rules of Civil 
        Procedure, or the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
            ``(5) Criminal contempt penalties.--The sentence imposed by 
        a magistrate judge for any criminal contempt provided for in 
        paragraphs (2) and (3) shall not exceed the penalties for a 
        Class C misdemeanor as set forth in sections 3581(b)(8) and 
        3571(b)(6) of title 18.
            ``(6) Certification of other contempts to the district 
        court.--Upon the commission of any such act--
                    ``(A) in any case in which a United States 
                magistrate judge presides with the consent of the 
                parties under subsection (c) of this section, or in any 
                misdemeanor case proceeding before a magistrate judge 
                under section 3401 of title 18, that may, in the 
                opinion of the magistrate judge, constitute a serious 
                criminal contempt punishable by penalties exceeding 
                those set forth in paragraph (5) of this subsection; or
                    ``(B) in any other case or proceeding under 
                subsection (a) or (b) of this section, or any other 
                statute, where--
                            ``(i) the act committed in the magistrate 
                        judge's presence may, in the opinion of the 
                        magistrate judge, constitute a serious criminal 
                        contempt punishable by penalties exceeding 
                        those set forth in paragraph (5) of this 
                        subsection;
                            ``(ii) the act that constitutes a criminal 
                        contempt occurs outside the presence of the 
                        magistrate judge; or
                            ``(iii) the act constitutes a civil 
                        contempt,
        the magistrate judge shall forthwith certify the facts to a 
        district judge and may serve or cause to be served, upon any 
        person whose behavior is brought into question under this 
        paragraph, an order requiring such person to appear before a 
        district judge upon a day certain to show cause why that person 
        should not be adjudged in contempt by reason of the facts so 
        certified. The district judge shall thereupon hear the evidence 
        as to the act or conduct complained of and, if it is such as to 
        warrant punishment, punish such person in the same manner and 
        to the same extent as for a contempt committed before a 
        district judge.
            ``(7) Appeals of magistrate judge contempt orders.--The 
        appeal of an order of contempt under this subsection shall be 
        made to the court of appeals in cases proceeding under 
        subsection (c) of this section. The appeal of any other order 
        of contempt issued under this section shall be made to the 
        district court.''.

SEC. 203. CONSENT TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE AUTHORITY IN PETTY OFFENSE CASES 
              AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE AUTHORITY IN MISDEMEANOR CASES 
              INVOLVING JUVENILE DEFENDANTS.

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