Superior Court of the District of Columbia

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Superior Court of the District of Columbia
H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse.JPG
H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, Judiciary Square
Established1970
LocationH. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, Judiciary Square, Washington, D.C.
Appeals toDistrict of Columbia Court of Appeals
Number of positions62 judges (including chief judge)
Websitewww.dccourts.gov
Chief Judge
CurrentlyAnita Josey-Herring
SinceOctober 1, 2020; 5 months ago (2020-10-01)
The main court entrance on Indiana Avenue.

The Superior Court of the District of Columbia, commonly referred to as DC Superior Court, is the trial court for the District of Columbia, in the United States. It hears cases involving criminal and civil law, as well as family court, landlord and tenant, probate, tax, and driving violations (no permit and DUI). All appeals of Superior Court decisions go to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (though magistrate judge opinions are first appealed to a Superior Court Associate Judge).

History[edit]

The first judicial systems in the new District of Columbia were established by the United States Congress in 1801.[1] The Circuit Court of the District of Columbia (not to be confused with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which it later evolved into) was both a trial court of general jurisdiction and an appellate court, and it heard cases under both local and federal law. Congress also established justices of the peace and an orphans' court, which were combined in 1870 into a new local court called the Police Court. The Police Court had jurisdiction over misdemeanors (concurrently with the federal courts) as well as equity powers.[1][2] In 1909, Congress converted the Police Court into the Municipal Court, which became a court of record with jury trials in 1921.[1] In 1963, Congress again converted the Municipal Court into the Court of General Sessions. Its jurisdiction was broader, although in criminal cases the federal courts retained concurrent jurisdiction. Under the District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970, the Court of General Sessions was combined with the Juvenile Court (established in 1906) and the D.C. Tax Court (established as the local Board of Tax Appeals in 1937) to form the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, a trial court of general and mostly exclusive jurisdiction for D.C.[1]

The Court consists of a chief judge and 61 associate judges. The Court is assisted by the service of 24 magistrate judges, as well as retired judges who have been recommended and approved as senior judges. When a vacancy occurs on the court, the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission invites applications and sends three candidates' names to the President of the United States, who sends one nomination to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent. If the Senate confirms a judge, he or she serves for a 15-year term, which is renewable. The Superior Court and the D.C. Court of Appeals, known collectively as the D.C. Courts, comprise the judicial branch of D.C. local government.[3]

In criminal cases, the government is represented by the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia or the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, depending on the nature and severity of the charges.

Organizational units[edit]

  • Civil Division – Civil actions and actions in equity; handles temporary restraining orders other than those involving domestic violence.
    • Civil Actions Branch – Amount in controversy above $10,000 or cases requesting equitable relief such as declarative judgments, injunctive relief, writs of attachment
    • Landlord and Tenant Branch – processes cases filed for possession of real property or violations of lease agreements. The Landlord Tenant Resource Center can assist those who do not have an attorney. The Center is located in Room 115 of Court Building B (510 Fourth Street, NW) and is open weekdays, 9:15 to noon.
    • Small Claims and Conciliation Branch – Amount in controversy $10,000 and below. There is a Small Claims Resource Center to assist those without an attorney. It is located in Court Building B, Room 102, and is open 9:15 to noon on Thursdays.
    • Housing Conditions Calendar handles cases in which landlords are alleged to have not kept their rental property compliant with the D.C. Housing Code.
  • Criminal Division – This division handles cases including misdemeanor, felony, and serious traffic offenses. The division also has Community Courts, which take a problem-solving approach to misdemeanor crimes, a drug court and a mental health court.
  • Family Court Operations Division – Family court
    • Family Court Central Intake Center (CIC) – all cases are filed here.
    • Domestic Relations Branch – divorce, legal separation, annulment, child custody, habeas corpus, and adoption
    • Juvenile and Neglect Branch – juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect.
    • Paternity and Child Support Branch – establishment of paternity, child support, and wage withholding
    • Marriage Bureau – marriage licenses/records; applications to perform marriage ceremonies in the District of Columbia by authorized ministers and others
    • Mental Health and Habilitation Branch – "hospitalization and continued treatment of persons adjudicated as mentally retarded or in need of mental health services"
    • Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect Branch is responsible for the determination of party eligibility for court appointed counsel in child abuse and neglect proceedings and processes the appointment of attorneys for parties in these cases.
    • Family Court Self Help Center – "provides legal information and assistance to self-represented parties in Family Court Cases."
    • Family Treatment Court –"court-supervised, voluntary, comprehensive residential substance abuse treatment program for mothers/female caretakers whose children are the subject of a child neglect case."
  • Domestic Violence Division – Domestic violence – Handles cases of violence by a family member or romantic partner, person who shares living quarters, with whom one has a child in common, or between a former and current romantic partner. There are two intake centers: 1) the fourth floor of the Moultrie Courthouse, 2) the Medical Center at 1328 Southern Avenue, Suite 311. At either location those seeking a protection order can meet with police/prosecutor, advocate, file a petition for a stayaway order and/or custody, seek assistance of the Crime Victims Compensation Program and talk with an advocate to develop a safety plan.
  • Probate Division/Office of the Register of Wills – handles matters relating to estates of those who have died, guardianships and conservatorships for incapacitated adults, and other such matters.
    • Probate Resource Center – those without an attorney can consult volunteer attorneys about probate matters at the Probate Resource Center in Room 316 of Court Building A (515 Fifth Street, NW) 8:30 to 3:30 Monday through Friday.
  • Tax Division – Appeals and petitions for review of assessments made by the District of Columbia, as well as all proceedings brought by the District of Columbia for the imposition of criminal penalties pursuant to the provisions of the District of Columbia Code
  • Family Court Social Services Division – This division supervises juveniles who are awaiting trial on juvenile charges or who are on probation after pleading or being found involved in a crime.
  • Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division – Mediation and alternative dispute resolution services for those with cases in court, as well as a Community Information Referral Program for disputes that have not yet resulted in a lawsuit being filed.
  • Special Operations Division
    • Jurors Office
    • Child Care Center
    • Judge-in-Chambers
    • Office of Court Interpreting Services

Active judges[edit]

As of November 21, 2019:

Title Judge First term began Current term ends Began senior status First appointed by
Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring November 11, 1997 2027 Clinton
Associate Judge José M. López 1990 2020 G.H.W. Bush
Associate Judge William M. Jackson[4] June 1992 2022 G.H.W. Bush
Associate Judge Ronna Lee Beck[5] May 26, 1995 2025 Clinton
Associate Judge John M. Campbell November 11, 1997 2027 Clinton
Associate Judge Neal E. Kravitz October 21, 1998 2028 Clinton
Associate Judge Hiram E. Puig-Lugo June 6, 1999 2029 Clinton
Associate Judge John Ramsey Johnson November 17, 2000 2030 Clinton
Associate Judge Gerald I. Fisher January 15, 2001 2031 Clinton
Associate Judge Erik P. Christian[6] July 20, 2001 2031 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Maurice A. Ross June 6, 1999 2031 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Lynn Leibovitz September 21, 2001 2031 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Robert Rigsby October 11, 2002 2032 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Fern Flanagan Saddler September 12, 2003 2033 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Craig Iscoe January 5, 2004 2033 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge J. Michael Ryan January 16, 2004 2034 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Laura Cordero September 2, 2005 2020 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Juliet J. McKenna December 16, 2005 2020 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Jennifer M. Anderson[7] October 27, 2006 2021 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Heidi Pasichow August 25, 2008 2023 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Anthony C. Epstein September 8, 2008 2023 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. December 3, 2008 2023 G.W. Bush
Associate Judge Florence Y. Pan June 8, 2009 2024 Obama
Associate Judge Milton C. Lee Jr. 2010 2025 Obama
Associate Judge Marisa Demeo May 10, 2010 2025 Obama
Associate Judge Todd E. Edelman October 4, 2010 2025 Obama
Associate Judge Judith Smith October 17, 2010 2025 Obama
Associate Judge Maribeth Raffinan October 29, 2010 2025 Obama
Associate Judge Jennifer A. Di Toro October 14, 2011 2026 Obama
Associate Judge Yvonne M. Williams December 16, 2011 2026 Obama
Associate Judge John F. McCabe February 24, 2012 2027 Obama
Associate Judge Peter A. Krauthamer April 20, 2012 2027 Obama
Associate Judge Danya Dayson April 27, 2012 2027 Obama
Associate Judge Kimberley S. Knowles November 9, 2012 2027 Obama
Associate Judge Michael Kenny O'Keefe June 20, 2013 2028 Obama
Associate Judge Robert Okun November 8, 2013 2028 Obama
Associate Judge William W. Nooter December 22, 2015 2030 Obama
Associate Judge Steven M. Wellner February 19, 2016 2031 Obama
Associate Judge Robert A. Salerno March 11, 2016 2031 Obama
Associate Judge Darlene M. Soltys March 18, 2016 2031 Obama
Associate Judge Steven N. Berk[8] July 29, 2016 2031 Obama
Associate Judge Elizabeth Carroll Wingo August 26, 2016 2031 Obama
Associate Judge Julie H. Becker[9] September 3, 2016 2031 Obama
Associate Judge Jonathan Pittman April 4, 2018 2033 Trump
Associate Judge Kelly Higashi October 26, 2018 2033 Trump
Associate Judge Carmen Guerricagoitia McLean May 3, 2019 2034 Trump
Associate Judge James Crowell August 2019 2034 Trump
Associate Judge Shana Frost Matini August 2019 2034 Trump
Associate Judge Jason Park[10] August 2019 2034 Trump
Associate Judge Rainey R. Brandt[11] September 16, 2019 2034 Trump
Associate Judge Andrea L. Hertzfeld November 2019 2034 Trump
Associate Judge Deborah J. Israel November 2019 2034 Trump
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Associate Judge seat vacant
Senior Judge Frederick H. Weisberg 1977 Carter
Senior Judge Truman A. Morrison III 1979 1999 Carter
Senior Judge Peter H. Wolf May 16, 1979 1994 Carter
Senior Judge Henry F. Greene May 1981 2004 Reagan
Senior Judge Ronald P. Wertheim October 1981 1992 Reagan
Senior Judge Nan R. Shuker 1983 2004 Reagan
Senior Judge Geoffrey M. Alprin January 7, 1983 February 1, 2010 Reagan
Senior Judge Robert I. Richter 1984 October 2, 2014 Reagan
Senior Judge Robert S. Tignor 1984 Reagan
Senior Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. 1985 April 28, 2015 Reagan
Senior Judge Richard A. Levie 1985 2000 Reagan
Senior Judge Curtis Von Kann 1985 Reagan
Senior Judge Harold L. Cushenberry Jr. 1986 December 16, 2015 Reagan
Senior Judge Michael L. Rankin 1986 Reagan
Senior Judge Cheryl M. Long 1988 December 2009 Reagan
Senior Judge John H. Bayly Jr. 1990 April 22, 2011 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Kaye K. Christian 1990 December 2010 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Patricia A. Wynn 1990 2002 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Joan Zeldon 1990 2012 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Zinora Mitchell-Rankin January 12, 1990 February 29, 2012 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Gregory E. Mize March 7, 1990 March 12, 2002 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Linda D. Turner September 1990 December 5, 2008 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Ann O'Regan Keary 1992 August 2015 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Lee F. Satterfield 1992 February 1, 2017 G.H.W. Bush
Senior Judge Russell F. Canan August 8, 1993 Clinton
Senior Judge Zoe Bush July 18, 1994 Clinton
Senior Judge Rhonda Reid Winston July 18, 1994 September 30, 2016 Clinton
Senior Judge Judith Bartnoff[12] August 1, 1994 2019 Clinton
Senior Judge Robert E. Morin July 30, 1996 September 30, 2020 Clinton
Senior Judge Melvin R. Wright April 6, 1998 Clinton
Senior Judge Natalia Combs Greene October 21, 1998 September 30, 2013 Clinton
Senior Judge Patricia A. Broderick[13] November 3, 1998 June 5, 2020 Clinton
Senior Judge Thomas J. Motley July 6, 2000 March 2018 Clinton
Senior Judge John McAdam Mott July 6, 2000 2018 Clinton
Senior Judge Jeanette Clark 2002 2017 G.W. Bush
Senior Judge Judith Nan Macaluso 2003 2016 G.W. Bush
Senior Judge Gregory E. Jackson 2005 2017 G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations[edit]

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee[14] Date of nomination
Lee F. Satterfield Term expired February 1, 2017
John Ramsey Johnson May 17, 2019
Michael Rankin August 31, 2019
Judith Bartnoff September 13, 2019
Carol Dalton January 30, 2020
Wendell P. Gardner March 27, 2020
Patricia A. Broderick June 5, 2020
Robert E. Morin September 30, 2020
Ronna Lee Beck January 8, 2021

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Goodbread, Ronald A. (September 1, 2009). "A Brief Topical History of Local and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts in the District of Columbia". Daily Washington Law Reporter. p. 1847.
  2. ^ Cave v. Rudolph, 53 App.D.C. 12, 16 (C.A.D.C. 1923).
  3. ^ "Judicial Selection in the States: District of Columbia". American Judicature Society. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  4. ^ "Bio". www.dccourts.gov. 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  5. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  6. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  7. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  8. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  9. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  10. ^ "Chief Judge Robert E. Morin | District of Columbia Courts". Dccourts.gov. 2016-10-01. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  11. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  12. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  13. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.dccourts.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  14. ^ Then-president Donald Trump nominated candidates to fill these seats, most recently on January 3, 2021. President Joe Biden withdrew the nominations on February 4, 2021.

External links[edit]