Current through October 23, 2012
(a) Use of social workers in advisory merit selection panel. -- The advisory selection merit panel used in the selection of magistrate judges for the Family Court of the Superior Court under section 11-1732(b) shall include certified social workers specializing in child welfare matters who are residents of the District and who are not employees of the District of Columbia Courts.
(b) Special qualifications. -- Notwithstanding section 11-1732(c), no individual shall be appointed or assigned as a magistrate judge for the Family Court of the Superior Court or as a magistrate judge for the Domestic Violence Unit handling actions or proceedings which would otherwise be under the jurisdiction of the Family Court unless that individual --
(1) is a citizen of the United States;
(2) is an active member of the unified District of Columbia Bar;
(3) for the 5 years immediately preceding the appointment has been engaged in the active practice of law in the District, has been on the faculty of a law school in the District, or has been employed as a lawyer by the United States or District government, or any combination thereof;
(4) has not fewer than 3 years of training or experience in the practice of family law as a lawyer or judicial officer; and
(5)(A) is a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia and has maintained an actual place of abode in the District for at least 90 days immediately prior to appointment, and retains such residency during service as a magistrate judge; or
(B) is a bona fide resident of the areas consisting of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland, Arlington and Fairfax Counties, and the City of Alexandria in Virginia, has maintained an actual place of abode in such area, areas, or the District of Columbia for at least 5 years prior to appointment, and certifies that the individual will become a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia not later than 90 days after appointment.
(c) Service of current hearing commissioners. -- Those individuals serving as hearing commissioners under section 11-1732 on the effective date of this section who meet the qualifications described in subsection (b)(4) may request to be appointed as magistrate judges for the Family Court of the Superior Court under such section.
(d) Functions of family court and domestic violence unit magistrates. -- A magistrate judge, when specifically designated by the chief judge in consultation with the appropriate presiding judge to serve in the Family Court or in the Domestic Violence Unit and subject to the rules of the Superior Court and the right of review under section 11-1732(k), may perform the following functions:
(1) Administer oaths and affirmations and take acknowledgements.
(2) Subject to the rules of the Superior Court and applicable Federal and District of Columbia law, conduct hearings, make findings and enter interim and final orders or judgments in uncontested or contested proceedings within the jurisdiction of the Family Court and the Domestic Violence Unit of the Superior Court (as described in section 11-1101), excluding jury trials and trials of felony cases, as assigned by the appropriate presiding judge.
(3) Subject to the rules of the Superior Court, enter an order punishing an individual for contempt, except that no individual may be detained pursuant to the authority of this paragraph for longer than 180 days.
(e) Location of proceedings. -- To the maximum extent feasible, safe, and practicable, magistrate judges of the Family Court of the Superior Court shall conduct proceedings at locations readily accessible to the parties involved.
(f) Training. -- The chief judge, in consultation with the presiding judge of the Family Court of the Superior Court, shall ensure that all magistrate judges of the Family Court receive training to enable them to fulfill their responsibilities, including specialized training in family law and related matters.
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(Jan. 8, 2002, 115 Stat. 2113, Pub. L. 107-114, § 6(a).)