D.C. CIRCUIT COURT NEWSLETTER
VOLUME ONESUMMER 1987
MESSAGES FROM THE CHIEF JUDGES
by Chief Judge Patricia M. Wald
Welcome to the first edition of the D.C. Circuit Newsletter.
Although judges and staff in the D.C. Circuit are uniquely
fortunate in sharing the same courthouse, we are also busy enough
people so that we don't always see or talk to each other often
enough to know all the new or innovative things that are
happening, even those that might significantly affect our jobs.
The courthouse "grapevine" needs a more formal supplement.
Several other circuits have found a quarterly Newsletter helpful
in keeping judges, staff, and lawyers apprised of developments,
plans and problems in the circuit and, just as important, the
noteworthy achievements and notable events in our individual
lives. -We expect the same good results here. This Newsletter
belongs to all of us and should include contributions and ideas
from our judges, staff and our bar. We thank the Office of the
Circuit Executive and especially Joe Perry, Deputy Circuit
Executive, for getting it off the launching pad.
The coming "term" promises to be one of continued movement
and change in the circuit. The Court of Appeals is waiting out
two Senate confirmations--each going in a different direction. In
that regard, I want to personally thank Chief Judge Aubrey of the
District Court and his fellow judges for their monumental help in
supplying extra judge power to the Court of Appeals so that,
whatever happens, we can keep up with the full sitting schedule
we had originally planned. Happily, we enter the term with a
smaller backlog of undecided cases than last year and our motions
backlog has been substantially reduced by the extra motions
judges took into their chambers over the summer. We plan to keep
it that way. This year both our Court of Appeals and our District
Court will begin educating themselves on the new sentencing
guidelines we must soon apply in criminal cases. With luck and a
little help from the Administrative Office, we will gratefully
watch the continuing spread of automation throughout
the scheduling and processing operations of both our courts.
As we move into the concluding quarter of the Bicentennial
Year of the Constitution, we are reminded daily of the enormous
vitality and comprehensiveness of that document, not just by the
plethora of discussions and symposia · our CirCuit BiCentennial
Commission and our 1987 Judicial Conference have provided, but by
the dockets in our two courts, which contain a short list of the
most lively and controversial constitutional questions of our
time. All of us who work in the courthouse are indeed a part of
twentieth century American constitutional history. It is
responsible, challenging and exciting work, and we need each
other's best efforts to do it right. I hope and trust the
Newsletter will advance that effort.
MESSAGES FROM THE CHIEF JUDGES
by Chief Judge Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr.
It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to appear in the
inaugural issue of our Circuit newsletter. This publication will
assist us in improving communication both within and between the
Courts in this Circuit. I commend Circuit Executive Karen Knab
and Assistant Circuit Executive Joe Perry for their efforts in
initiating this project.
Although we are in the midst of the summer vacation season,
there are a number of items which you may find of interest. The
District Court is ready to welcome Judge-designate Royce Lamberth
as the newest member of our Bench as soon as Congress confirms
his nomination. As you know, Mr. Lamberth will fill the vacancy
created by Judge Barrington Parker taking senior status. We are
particularly anxious to have Judge-designate Lamberth join us as
it will bring our complement of Judges to the full authorized
strength of fifteen for the first time in several years.
The terms of Bankruptcy Judge George Francis Bason and
Magistrates Jean F. Dwyer and Arthur Burnett all expire at
various times in 1988. The Court is in the process of appointing
Merit Selection Panels to consider their reappointment. The next
several months will also likely bring enhanced security to the
U.S. Courthouse. As many of you are aware, 18 USC 3228 places the
venue for terrorists in the District of Columbia and it is a near
certainty that we will eventually be responsible for trying
a high-risk defendant. Chief Judge Wald and I are working with
the United States Marshal Service to develop operational
contingencies for handling such a trial. During this process,
please keep in mind that although security measures sometimes are
inconvenient or require extra time on our part, they are
instituted for the protection of all building occupants.
There will be a Red Cross Blood Drive in the U.S. courthouse
on September 11, 1987. As our community is facing a critical
shortage of donated blood, I encourage all persons who are able
to give blood to participate in this drive. It is an easy and
effective way of providing a service to the community. Working
in the capitol's federal trial court presents many opportunities
and difficulties not faced by other courts.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and
every member of the Court family for their hard work and
dedication to service. Working in the federal trial court
in the nation's capital presents many opportunities as well as
many difficulties not faced by other Courts. Under the leadership
of Clerk of Court James F. Davey, and Chief Probation Officer
Eugene Wesley, this Court has developed an outstanding
reputation. This reputation was not won easily or by any one
individual; it is a reputation based on years of effort,
commitment to service and loyal employees who are always willing
to take on new challenges. As Chief Judge of the Court, I want
you to know how much pride I have in this Court and how proud I
am of our employees.
Message from the Circuit Executive
Report of Bicentennial Committee
New Chief Staff Counsel
THE D.C. CIRCUIT NEWSLETTER is published quarterly by the Office of the Circuit Executive for
the D.C. Circuit.
Anyone interested in submitting an article, news item, or
information should send the copy to the Office of the Circuit
Executive, U.S. Courthouse, Washington, D.C. 20001; Attention,
Joseph Perry. We welcome all comments and suggestions.
NOTES FROM THE CIRCUIT EXECUTIVE
I want to congratulate Joe Perry and my intern, Dan Nielson,
for developing, designing and producing this newsletter and also
thank everyone for contributing to it, whether as readers or
columnists. I myself was not sure at first that we needed a
newsletter in this small Courthouse, but I have been in enough
meetings by now to see that a basic need is always information:
most of us are so busy just getting our own jobs done that it's
hard to find out what is happening a floor away.
In the eighteen months since I came here, this Circuit has
gone through great changes in personnel, has begun to see the
transforming effects of automation and has revised many
long-standing practices in office operations. I am pleased that
this office has been involved in many of these initiatives and
expect that we will go much further, especially in the areas of
automation and major training programs. We are becoming more
successful in obtaining funding from the Administrative Office,
the Federal Judiciai Center and the local Council on Court
Excellence for our projects and it is our intention to pursue
these contacts to help us launch new ideas.
In short, we look forward to an interesting year and invite
you to let us know how you think we're doing--or what could be
done better--through these papers of the D.C. Circuit Newslelter.
Submitted by Karen M. Knab
Circuit Execulive, D.C. Circuit
CIRCUIT BICENTENNIAL COMMITTEE REPORT
Over the course of the first six months of the year, our
activities have included programs for the public, mock trials for
student groups, and the devotion of the second day of our
judicial conference to constitutional issues.
1. PUBLIC PROGRAMS
This spring we held three events. Two were sponsored by our
committee and were attended by members of the bar, judges from
courts in the D.C. area, law school professors, students from
elementary to law school, law professors, courthouse personnel
and interested citizens.
In conjunction with the D.C. Bar, our third event was a
symposium to which courthouse personnel and bar members were
invited. We held an open reception following all three
The first program was a discussion entitled "Interpreting
the Constitution" featuring Judge Bork and Judge Mikva of this
circuit and moderated by Dean Richard Merrill of the University
of Virginia Law School. Originally this event was scheduled for
January 22, but "The Blizzard of '87" caused its postponement
until March 31, when last minute mechanical problems prevented
it, unfortunately, from being taped for presentation on C-SPAN.
Our April 23rd event featured Professor Walter Dellinger of
Duke University Law School. Professor Dellinger, who was
introduced by Chief Judge Aubrey Robinson, spoke on the topical
subject, "The Summer of 1787."
On May 19, in cooperation with the D.C. Bar, a symposium was
held on the Constitution and the criminal legal process, with
special emphasis on the past, present and future of Miranda. Paul
Friedman, the president of the District of Columbia Bar,
moderated a panel composed of Andrew Frey, former Deputy
Solicitor General of the United States, Professor Yale Kamisar of
the University of Michigan Law School, Stephen Markman,
Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy, and Charles
Ogletree, a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.
2. MOCK TRIALS.
We conducted a series of four mock
trial/appeals during February and April for approximately 1,000
high school students from across the country who were visiting
Washington for a one-week overview of the federal government,
including the judiciary and public policy. In May, in
conjunction with the U.S. Court of Military Appeals and the
Federal Bar Association, we conducted a fifth mock trial/appeal
for 250 students from two local high schools, a junior high
school and an elementary school.
Each event featured a not-entirely hypothetical "sleeping in
the park" case. A "trial," complete with examination of witnesses
and closing arguments, wa·s held before a district judge, and was
followed by an oral argument on appeal. The program was carried
out through the able assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office,
U.S. Park Service, and members of the private bar. Chief Judge
Robinson, Judge Joyce Green, Judge Johnson and Judge Revercomb
participated as trial judges. Chief Judge Wald and Judge Starr
were the presiding appellate judges.
3. JUDICIAL CONFERENCE.
At our recent judicial conference, we
devoted May 29 to the Bicentennial. In the morning, judge Starr
moderated a panel discussion on the Religion Clause. The panel
consisted of Solicitor General Charles Fried, Professor Cass
Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School, Professor Kent
Greenawalt of Columbia Law School and Nathan Lewin, a prominent
Washington lawyer. This was followed by a program on
constitutional adjudications and the intention of the Framers.
Judge Harold Greene moderated panelists Charles Cooper, Assistant
Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel; Professor Archibald
Cox of Harvard Law School; Professor Michael McConnell of Chicago
Law School; and Professor Jak Rakove of Stanford University.
Our committee is continuing to plan activities for the
Bicentennial Celebration. In the meantime, we are pleased to be
able to display on the ground floor of our courthouse an exhibit
of three kiosks memorializing the story of the Constitution.
Submitted by Hon. Kenneth W. Starr, Circuit Judge. USCA
CHIEF STAFF COUNSEL
The Office of the Chief Staff Counsel consists of 16 people:
the Chief Staff Counsel, two Assistants to the Chief Staff
Counsel, nine Staff Attorneys, and four secretaries. While to
the outside world, the office is a "low profile" operation, it
plays a critical part in the disposition of appeals in the D.C.
Circuit. Well over half the motions and emergencies handled by
staff attorneys result in the terminations of the appeal--in many
cases, on the merits. With the new responsibility for
recommending dispositions without oral argument under Rule 13(i),
staff counsel involvement in the resolutIon of cases on the
merits is even greater. For a significant number of litigants,
the orders disposing of their cases are generated in the context
of emergencies, motions, and Rule 13(i) dispositions in which the
Court is materially assisted by the legal research, analysis and
recommendations of staff attorneys.
Staff attorney duties fall into three broad categories: (1)
motions and emergency matters; (2) screening new appeals; and (3)
Rule 13(i) recommendations. In addition, the Assistants to the
Chief Staff Counsel assist merits panels in the management of
cases designated "Complex" under the 1986 Case Management Plan,
and they also manage smaller "CAMP" cases. Finally, the Chief
Staff Counsel assists the Court on major projects related to the
Court's overall functioning.
On June 30, 1987, after two years of service to the Court,
Mildred M. Maresich relinquished her position as Chief Staff
Counsel to her assistant, Mark J. Langer. The office currently,
with the assistance of the Circuit Executive's Office, is in the
midst of an automation project that should increase the
efficiency and productivity of the operations. Also, the Court
has begun its search for a new Assistant to the Chief Staff
Finally, the summer months will see the departure of the last
of the Court's staff attorneys appointed to one year terms. Their
replacements will serve the Court for two years.
The new Chief Staff Counsel, Mark Lunger, had been working as
Assistant Chief Staff Counsel since 1984. Mr. Lunger graduated
Magna Cum Laude from Kalamazoo College in Michigan and received
his J.D. with honors from Duke University. He also attended
University College in London.
Prior to working with this Court, Mr. Lunger served as a law
clerk to Hon. Newton C. Taylor, President Judge of the Court of
Common Pleas in Huntingdon County, PA.
CIRCUIT SUCCESSFUL IN
EFFORTS TO MAINTAIN
Karen Knab, Tony Fisher
and Jim Davey were successful in having the A.O.
Under spending guidelines imposed last year by the
Gramm-Rudman legislation, each Circuit in the Country is allowed
to staff its Clerks' Offices at only 94% of the positions it
should be allowed by its workload. This means, of course, that
the Clerks' Offices are basically understaffed. As filings
decline --which was the pattern in this Circuit during the term
just ended--the workload is also thought to decline by the
Administrative Office and the number of position allowed
drops even further.
Recently, the Administrative Office notified the Circuit
Executive that five positions would have to be cut by attrition,
three in the District Court Clerk's Office and two in the Court
of Appeals. However, arguing that the national workload formula
is not realistic in this Circuit due to the unusual number of
agency and "high profile" cases which attract national media
attention, Karen Knab, Tony Fisher and Jim Davey were successful
in having the A.O. decision reversed. Peter McCabe, head of the
A.O.'s Program Management Division, which controls staff
allocations, informed Ms. Knab and Joe Perry, Assistant Circuit
Executive, at a meeting on July 13, that the Circuit's staff
positions would be frozen at current levels until further study
can establish an appropriate formula to account for the Circuit's
high volume of "unusual" cases. Ms. Knab said that a formula for
the USDC may be developed this winter, while the USCA Clerk's
Office may be deferred until spring, based on the Court's own
current study of workload in that office.
Users of a law library expect there to be law books and, in a
large law library, LEXIS and WESTLAW. Beyond these things many
other services can and do exist. In our Judges' Library, among
other services, there is DIALOG which accesses a very large
collection of individual databases covering a wide range of
academic, business, scientific, and current affairs subjects.
Most DIALOG databases do not offer full text searching and
provide only bibliographic information. Especially useful
databases in DIALOG are digests of newspaper articles covering a
far greater span of newspapers than NEXIS. There are also
statistical databases with full text often the rule. For current
information, DIALOG is unequaled.
Because DIALOG is such a difficult system to learn and so
expensive to use, Terri Santella, Linda Baltrusch, or Nancy Lazar
will do the searching for you. When interesting articles or books
are identified, the library can easily borrow the full text copy
from the Library of Congress. Remember DIALOG especially when
you have a nonlegal research problem.
NEXIS is also a database that the librarians will search for
you. In this case the reason is financial; NEXIS costs five times
as much as LEXIS and this circuit has been allocated only two
hours a month usage by the Administrative Office of the U.S.
Working in the Judges' Library on the third floor are Nancy
Lazar, circuit librarian, Bill Stockey, assistant librarian for
technical services, and Sophanette Phlok, senior library
technician. On the fifth floor are Terri Santella, deputy circuit
librarian, Linda Baltrusch, assistant librarian for computer
assisted legal research, and Jeff Ward, library technician. Linda
Baltrusch is a very recent addition, taking the place of Mike
Gentile, who has gone to the Department of Justice.
AUTOMATION IN THE D.C. CIRCUIT
DISTRICT COURT. Our District Court was chosen to serve as a
pilot for the development and implementation of an automated case
management system. As a pilot court for the AO's program, the
District Court was one of the first courts to use this program.
As of July 1, 1987, all of the civil cases filed this year are on
a fully automated system. Testing of the program for criminal
cases will begin January, 1988. In addition, they are running
automated programs to keep track of personnel, furniture, and
COURT OF APPEALS. The Court of Appeals' Clerk's Office will
eventually receive its equivalent to the District Court's
automated case management system. In the meantime they have
upgraded an AT&T PC and a case management program has been
developed which currently tracks cases and generates reports and
attorney mailing labels. Focus is on the second phase of this
project which is automatic calendaring of oral argument dates. A
June event to surely highlight was the disposing of the spindle
which has now been fully automated on the case management
CHIEF STAFF COUNSEL. The Court-funded networking project in
the Chief Staff Counsel's Office is almost complete. The CC is
communicating with the Clerk's Office's case management program
via IBM compatible PCs with modems. NBI word processors have been
replaced with PCs and Word Perfect word processing. The next step
in this project is to connect CC PCs to a central server which
will house software as well as files and documents produced by
staff attorneys. This final phase also includes development of an
in-house database similar to WESTLAW and LEXIS to search and
retrieve motion memos.
BANKRUPTCY COURT. Several pilot programs are being considered
to fully automate the Bankruptcy Court including docketing and
BACKING UP DATA. The District Court is in the process of
contracting for off-site storage of tape and disk backups for the
District Court as well as the Court of Appeals.
AUTOMATION OF CHAMBERS. While we await the finalization of
the Administrative Office's Automation project, which will
replace dedicated word processors with IBM compatible personal
computers throughout the Court, we are installing PCs in chambers
of new judges as well as replacing outdated word processors.
SOFTWARE LIBRARY: A library of software is being developed
for use by all Court personnel. We currently have, as a part of
our library, several programs which provide a calculator and
calendar function, calendar creator, sign maker, and a database
for telephone numbers and addresses. Contributions are
welcome--anyone wishing to contribute software to the library or
suggest software to purchase should contact Joyce Roberts
WORD PROCESSING: With the exception of just a few, those
chambers with PCs are using Word Perfect. A user group is being
formed for Word Perfect Users. Anyone interested in joining
should contact Joyce Roberts at 535-3340. Membership is not
exclusive to the Court.
A user group Is being formed for Word Perfect users at the
U.S. Courthouse. Anyone interested in joining should contact
Joyce Roberts at 535-3340.
TRAINING ROOM. Room 4820 (a part of the Circuit Executive's
Office) has been designated as the official PC training room for
the Court. The room will be equipped with a Unix PC (which is
capable of performing functions similar to those on the computers
in the Clerks' offices) and an IBM compatible PC (similar to
those being installed in chambers). We are in the process of
requesting a VCR and television for which we can purchase
computer-learning programS. Other tutorials which teach users how
to use data base, spreadsheet, and word processing programs can
be used directly on the PC(s). An announcement will be made to
all Court personnel upon official opening of the training room.
USDC CLERK'S OFFICE
The following employees were honored for outstanding
performance at the Clerk's Office Annual Awards Ceremony, which
was hosted by Chief Judge Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr.:
QUALITY STEP INCREASE
SUSTAINED SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE
Mary Lynn Sprung
TRIPLE "A" Automation Achievement Award Marlene Maddalone
Red Cross Bloodmobile -- 9/11/87 Jurors' Lounge -- Room 4214 8:30
Daughter born 6/22/87 to Barbara and John Calhan - Megan Anne
Daughter Born 7/1/87 to Maureen and Christopher Lawrie - Shannon
There are several projects currently underway.in Administrative
Services. Our Property and Procurement Section is in the process
Of becoming automated. This will help us in our annual equipment
inventory and also help us keep up with the numerous maintenance
reports we receive.
During the months of May and June, we had several of our
offices and hallways painted. For the most part, the GSA
painters did a fine job and the personnel who had their offices
painted were quite pleased. We've also recently had all the
windows in the Courthouse cleaned. A contract was put out by GSA
and the window washing was started in mid-June.
On Saturday, June 13th a group from the Clerk's Office of the
Southern District of New York traveled down here for an afternoon
of softball and volleyball with our own Clerk's Office. Our
softball team made a very good showing, winning the first game
10-4 and losing the second game 10-9. We had never practiced as a
team before and were quite pleased to be able to compete with the
"city slickers from the Big Apple." We'll be traveling to New
York sometime this fall for a return match on the diamond. Make
sure you watch George Michael's "Sports Machine" during the month
of September for highlights.
BANKRUPTCY COURT NEWS
BANKRUPTCY CASE FILINGS AND CLOSINGS. Up 22% from the
previous year's filings. For the six months ended June 30, 1987,
591 cases were filed. This compares to 461 cases filed for the
six months ended June 30, 1986. Great strides have been made this
calendar Year to clear up the backlog of bankruptcy cases that
needed to be closed. For the six months ended June 30, 1987, 990
cases have been closed.
NEW FACES In the near future, the bankruptcy court will begin
using electronic recording to record all court proceedings. Mr.
Gregory Hennigan has been appointed as the Electronic Court
recorder operator for this program. Also, three interns from the
District of Columbia summer youth program have been assisting the
Bankruptcy CoUrt on an archival project. This is a great intern
program to get involved with. It you want further information
contact Martin Bloom, Bankruptcy Court at 535-3047.
MEDIATION PROGRAM The Bankruptcy Court is looking into
establishing a Mediation program modeled after the D.C. Circuit's
NEW PROJECT The remodeling projects underway in the
Bankruptcy Clerk's office and in the Chambers of Judge Bason
should be completed by September 1, 1987. A new telephone system will also be on line by this date./P>
D.C. CIRCUIT COURT NEWSLETTER, Continued
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