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Chief Judge

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A Chief Judge or Justice (also known as a Presiding Judge or Justice) is the lead judicial administrative officer within any multijudge court. The Chief Judge works alongside the Clerk of Court in his or her respective court by overseeing the day to day operations of that court.[1][2]

Purpose of a Chief Judge

The job of Chief Judge calls for an individual to see not only that administrative tasks in the court are carried out, but also to address the needs of the public, attorneys, court staff, and fellow judges.

Duties of a Chief Judge-State Courts

At the state level, there is a chief judge in each judicial district at the state level at the lower level courts and at the intermediate appeals courts. Each chief judge is appointed by their respective State Supreme Court.[3] Each state is different on the amount of terms a Chief Judge can serve as the lead judicial administrative officer of their respective court and also on age restrictions a Chief Judge can serve.[3]

At the State Level, Chief Judges tasks includes[3]

  • Ensures that laws, regulations, and court policies are followed
  • Monitor court caseloads
  • Develop and implement court plans both short term and long term.
  • Directly supervise the clerk of court. In some states, local clerks of court are independently elected.
  • Charged by their respective State Supreme Court rules to cooperate with the Director of State Courts.
  • Oversee rule-making of local rules and adaptations of state court rules.
  • Resolve informal disputes
  • Review court budgets and court spending with the Clerk of Court.
  • Oversee space acquisition, alterations, and construction;
  • Ensure court security and emergency preparedness.
  • Directly reporting to local and state government bodies including State Judicial Conference, State Legislature, County Board of Supervisors on the state of the courts.
  • Lobbying to local and state legislatures.
  • Serving as a liaison to the local and state bar associations, schools, the media, and the general public. Also, there is co-operation involved between state and federal government agencies.[4]

Duties of a Chief Judge-Federal Courts

The following are the duties of a Chief Judge at the federal level.

  • Ensure that laws, regulations, and court policies are followed
  • Monitor court caseloads
  • Develop and implement court plans both short term and long term.
  • Directly supervise the clerk of court.
  • Oversee local rule-making (Local Court Rules are adaptations to Federal Rules)
  • Resolve informal disputes
  • Review court budgets and court spending.
  • Oversee space acquisition, alterations, and construction;
  • Ensure court security and emergency preparedness as now since September 11, 2001 a greater emphasis on security on Federal Courthouses
  • Appoint and serve on court committees;
  • File reports and plans in a timely manner with the circuit judicial council, the AO, and other entities; and
  • Serve as a liaison with outside groups such as the Judicial Conference, the public, the bar associations, state and local courts and governments, agencies, schools and the media. There’s also interaction with the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other federal government agencies.[4]

At the level of the Federal district court, a chief judge supervises chief probation and pretrial services officers, monitors magistrate judges, oversees the use of jurors, and maintains effective relations with the bankruptcy court. Also, the Chief Judge is given exclusive authority to appoint Magistrate judges.[4]

At the Appeals Court level, a Chief Judge presides over any three-judge panel to which he or she is assigned, presides over meetings of the circuit council, supervises the appointment of bankruptcy judges, and authorizes and requests intercircuit and intra–circuit assignments of judges. The Chief Judge also reviews complaints of judicial misconduct and disability, and serves on the Judicial Conference. In much of this work, the chief judge relies on the circuit executive, the clerk of court, and other appellate court staff members to make their job flow smoothly.[4]

Age restriction on Chief Judges-Federal

Chief Judges on the federal courts must be under the age of 64.[4][5]

History of Chief Judge position

These rules for Chief Judges in the federal judiciary have been in effect since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948. Until August 6, 1959, the position was filled in each federal court by the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on senior status or declined to serve as Chief Judge. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.[4][5]

Current Federal Chief Judges

See full list at Current federal chief judges.

See also

References