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Under the current bankruptcy appellate system, appeals from dispositive orders of bankruptcy judges are taken to the district court or to the bankruptcy appellate panel, if one has been established and the district has chosen to participate, with further appeal as of right to the court of appeals. In response to legislative proposals to change this system, the Judicial Conference of the United States asked Congress to defer action until the judiciary had an opportunity to "study further the existing process and possible alternative structures and to submit a subsequent report to Congress." To facilitate the Conference's deliberations, its Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System asked the Federal Judicial Center to study the existing bankruptcy appellate structure and possible alternatives. This report sets out the results of that study. It describes the bankruptcy appellate system now operating in the United States and how it evolved, sets out the recent efforts to change this system, and analyzes the evidence regarding the need for change and the desirability of proposed changes.

Reprinted from 76 American Bankruptcy Law Journal 625 (Fall 2002).

Note: This is a slightly updated version of the Center's publication Alternative Structures for Bankruptcy Appeals (2000, 123 pp.). This report is identical to the Federal Judicial Center's report that was considered by the Judicial Conference Bankruptcy Committee in making its recommendations in 1999, except that Part 2 has been updated to reflect more recent legislative and Judicial Conference activity. In addition, Appendices A, B, and D to the initial report are omitted and minor editorial changes have been made.

 

In Print: Available for Distribution

Under the current bankruptcy appellate system, appeals from dispositive orders of bankruptcy judges are taken to the district court or to the bankruptcy appellate panel, if one has been established and the district has chosen to participate, with further appeal as of right to the court of appeals. In response to legislative proposals to change this system, the Judicial Conference of the United States asked Congress to defer action until the judiciary had an opportunity to "study further the existing process and possible alternative structures and to submit a subsequent report to Congress." To facilitate the Conference's deliberations, its Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System asked the Federal Judicial Center to study the existing bankruptcy appellate structure and possible alternatives. This report sets out the results of that study. It describes the bankruptcy appellate system now operating in the United States and how it evolved, sets out the recent efforts to change this system, and analyzes the evidence regarding the need for change and the desirability of proposed changes.

Note: A slightly updated version of this study Alternative Structures for Bankruptcy Appeals (2002) was published at 76 American Bankruptcy Law Journal 625 (Fall 2002).

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The mix of cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit differs markedly from the case mix of other U.S. courts of appeals. The implications of this difference for judicial workload and judgeship needs, however, have been unclear. At the request of the Subcommittee on Judicial Statistics of the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources, we conducted this study to assist the subcommittee in assessing judgeship needs in the D.C. Circuit.

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A newsletter with brief summaries of trends in federal appellate treatment of practical procedural problems that trial judges may face. Each Bench Comment was reviewed by federal judges with special expertise in the specific area.

1981

  • No. 1: Making Explicit Findings When Balancing Probative Value Against Prejudicial Effect Before Admitting Proof of Prior Conviction of Witness Under Fed. R. Evid. 609(a) (March 23, 1981)
  • No. 2: Need for trial court to identify contempt proceeding as being civil contempt or criminal contempt (May 15, 1981)
  • No. 3: Excluding the Defendant, his counsel, the public or the press from any portion of the voir dire examination of prospective jurors (July 8, 1981)
  • No. 4: Procedures for Dealing with Communications from the Jury (August 24, 1981)
  • No. 5: Factors to be Considered in Balancing Probative Value Against Prejudicial Effect Before Admitting Proof of Prior Conviction of a Defendant-Witness under Fed. R. Evid. 609(a)(1) (September 28, 1981)
  • No. 6: Verbatim adoption of proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law (December 31, 1981)

1982

  • No. 1: Declaring Mistrial Over Objection of Defendant in Criminal Prosecution (January 27, 1982)
  • No. 2: Procedure to be Followed when Potentially Prejudicial Publicity Has Occurred During a Criminal Trial (April 23, 1982)
  • No. 3: The Jury is not to be Instructed on the Admissibility of Co-conspirator Statements (June 10, 1982)
  • No. 4: Instructing Defendant Prior to an Effective Waiver of Right to Counsel (September 24, 1982)

1983

  • No. 1: The Right to Jury Trial in Criminal Contempt Proceedings (May 3, 1983)
  • No. 2: The Quantum of Proof Required for the Admission of Coconspirator Statements (June 30, 1983)
  • No. 3: [There wasn't an issue number 3 in 1983]
  • No. 4: The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 and Pleas of Guilty or Nolo Contendere: Duty of the Court to Advise that the Defendant May Be Ordered to Make Restitution (November 8, 1983)

1984

  • No. 1: Defendants May Not Waive Requirement of Unanimous Verdicts in Federal Criminal Trial (January 25, 1984)
  • No. 2: Recent Developments Regarding Standards and Procedures for Barring the Public from the Courtroom During a Criminal Trial (August 15, 1984)
  • No. 3: Disclosure of Presentence Reports to Third Parties (September 15, 1984)

1985

  • No. 1: Procedures for Dealing with Stipulations of Fact in Criminal Trials (April 15, 1985)
  • No. 2: The Bail-pending Appeal Provisions of the Crime Control Act of 1984 (July 15, 1985)
  • No. 3: What Does Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(c)(3)(D) Require a Sentencing Judge to Do when a Defendant Challenges the Accuracy of the Presentence Report? (December 4, 1985)

1986

  • No. 1: The Timing of Pretrial Detention Motions and Hearings on Such Motions under the Bail Reform Act of 1984 (January 15, 1986)
  • No. 2: When Does Rule 12(e) Require a Judge to Rule on an Evidentiary Motion Before the Trial Begins? (January 30, 1986)
  • No. 3: Application and Effect of Rebuttable Presumptions Created by the Bail Reform Act of 1984 (April 1, 1986)
  • No. 4: Limitations on a Defendant's Right under Rule 43 to be Present at Every Stage of Trial (May 30, 1986)

1987

  • No. 1: Blanket Assertions of the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination (January 23, 1987)
  • No. 2: Considering a Motion by a Recalcitrant Grand Jury Witness Who Claims His or Her Civil Contempt Incarceration Should Be Terminated Because It Has Lost Its Coercive Effect (February 23, 1987)
  • No. 3: Instructing Deadlocked Juries--The Allen Charge in Federal Courts (August 12, 1987)
  • No. 4: Bourjaily v. United States: Admission of Co-Conspirator Statements under Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(E) (October 23, 1987)
  • No. 5: Postindictment Restraining Orders under the Comprehensive Forfeiture Act (December 1, 1987)

1988

  • No. 1: Use of Oral Testimony in an Evidentiary Hearing on a Motion for Summary Judgment-- Fed. R. Civ. P. 43(e) (January 4, 1988)
  • No. 2 Expert Testimony on Insanity and Mental State under Revised Federal Rule of Evidence 704(b) (April 13, 1988)
  • No. 3: Determining a Prima Facie Case under Batson v. Kentucky (June 16, 1988)
  • No. 4: Procedure under Batson v. Kentucky when Prima Facie Case of discrimination demonstrated (July 15, 1988)
  • No. 5: The Fifth Amendment and Production of Corporate Documents by Custodians and Compelled Consent to Release of Records by Third Parties (October 25, 1988)

1989

  • No. 1: Bifurcation of Criminal Forfeiture Proceedings: Is a Separate Evidentiary Hearing on Forfeiture Required? (March 6, 1989)
  • No. 2: Applicability of Batson to Civil Cases (July 12, 1989)
  • No. 3: Curbing Abuse by In Forma Pauperis Litigants (November 9, 1989)

1990

  • [No issues of Bench Comment were published in 1990]

1991

  • No. 1: Jury Requests to Have Transcripts of Testimony Read Back or Furnished (August 1991)
  • No. 2: What Constitutes "Just Cause" to Dismiss a Juror in a Criminal Trial after Deliberations Have Begun (October 1991)
  • No. 3: What District Courts Should Do When Defendants, at Guilty Plea Hearings, Acknowledge Having Recently Taken Narcotics or Medication (December 1991)

1992

  • No. 1: May a Court Summarily Find an Attorney in Criminal Contempt under Fed. R. Crim. P. 42(a) for Tardiness or Failure to Appear? (January 1992)
  • No. 2: What District Courts Should Do When Parties or Potential Jurors Refuse to Take an Oath or Affirmation Because of Religious Objections (February 1992)
  • No. 3: A District Court May Not Order a New Trial on the Basis of Jurors' Testimony About Factors That Influenced the Verdict (April 1992)
  • No. 4: A District Court Must Consider Less Severe Sanctions Before Dismissing a Case (June 1992)
  • No. 5: When Ruling on a Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, May a District Court Exclude from Consideration Evidence that Was Erroneously Admitted? (August 1992)
  • No. 6: Defendants' Rights under the Speedy Trial Act are Not Waivable (October 1992)
  • No. 7: May a Magistrate Judge Conduct Voir Dire in a Civil Case over the Objection of a Party? (December 1992)

1993

  • No. 1: District Judges May Not Participate in Plea Bargain Discussions (March 1993)
  • No. 2: The "Deliberate Ignorance" Instruction Should be Given in Rare Situations Only (April 1993)
  • No. 3: What District Courts Should Do When the Government Breaches a Pretrial Agreement (May 1993)
  • No. 4: District Courts Should Hold an Evidentiary Hearing Before Enforcing a Disputed Settlement Agreement (June 1993)
  • No. 5: What District Courts Should Do When Counsel Make Improper Comments in Closing Argument (December 1993)

1994

  • No. 1: Hypothetical Questions That Assume Guilt are Generally Impermissible (January 1994)
  • No. 2: Proper Application of the Roviaro test may require district courts to conduct in camera hearings (May 1994)

1995

  • No. 1: Failure to Give a Defendant Adequate Advice Concerning the Direct Consequences of a Guilty Plea Violates Rule 11 (September 1995)

1996

  • [No issues of Bench Comment were published in 1996]

1997

  • No. 1: A Growing number of circuits find anonymous juries do not infringe defendants' constitutional rights when genuinely needed and properly used (January 1997)
  • No. 2: Exparte communications between judge and jury often violate defendants' Rule 43 right to be present at every stage of trial, but rarely constitute reversible error (February 1997)

1998

  • No. 1: Three circuits hold that, with defendant's consent, a magistrate judge has authority to conduct guilty plea proceedings in felony cases (February 1998)
In Print: Available for Distribution

This sourcebook is a reference guide on mediation and conference programs in the federal courts of appeals, programs that may offer a way for courts to deal with increasing filings. The sourcebook responds to requests from the appellate courts for a detailed description of all appellate courts' mediation and conference programs as well as more general information about what happens in the courts of appeals. In addition, it provides a means for attorneys to learn more about these programs.

Superseded by Mediation & Conference Programs in the Federal Courts of Appeals: A Sourcebook for Judges and Lawyers, Second Edition (2006).

Available Online Only
Letter to the Chair of the Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure regarding current research plans in the area of the committee's rulemaking authority under 28 USC § 1292(e).
 
In Print: Available for Distribution

This report concludes that the increase in civil appeals has resulted mainly from the increased volume of litigation in the district courts. The growth in appellate caseloads has been principally attributable to increasing rates of appeal in prisoner actions and, to a lesser extent, civil rights cases. No evidence of an across-the-board increase in the likelihood of appeal was detected. This report is reprinted at 18 Justice System Journal 233.

In Print: Available for Distribution

A study conducted at the court's request to determine if its program met its goals of saving judges' time, lessening case-management burdens, and simplifying issues on appeal. Using a control group method, the study determined that the program was a success--it met its goals and received strong support from the bar.

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