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.

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
Office Automation
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.


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


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.


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 presentations.

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.


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, was 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.


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


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 Counsel.

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.


Karen Knab, Tony Fisher and Jim Davey were successful in having the A.O. decision reversed.

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. Courts.

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.


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 attorney admissions.

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 program.

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 calendaring.

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 (535-3340).

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.


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.:

James Dales
Frances Elliott
Elizabeth Flynn
Joe Wood

Barbara Calhan
Patricia Hayden
Cheryl Hilton
Karen Gilger

Sylvia Brown
Maureen Lawrie
Sharon Moore
Mary Lynn Sprung
Gloria Whyte
Joe Wood

TRIPLE "A" Automation Achievement Award Marlene Maddalone


Red Cross Bloodmobile -- 9/11/87 Jurors' Lounge -- Room 4214 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


Daughter born 6/22/87 to Barbara and John Calhan - Megan Anne Calhan

Daughter Born 7/1/87 to Maureen and Christopher Lawrie - Shannon Marie Lawrie


There are several projects currently 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 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 Mediation Program.

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>


Legal Cases | Peace Park
Proposition One | Pennsylvania Avenue